4/29/13

Sweet Success: Goat Milk

Got Milk? We do!
 
In the scriptures, there is a group of people who wandered in the wilderness for a long period of time. They lived on raw meat that the lord made sweet to them. I figure if the good Lord can make raw meat taste sweet to that ancient family, he can do it for our raw goat milk today. I have offered many prayers to this end. "Please, please, please, make this milk sweet to my kids." We tried out the milking again today. It was a family event that we hope will become less eventful as the goats get more used to it.

We have learned in our research that in order to have truly sweet goat milk, there are a few rules to follow.
  1. Never milk in the barn, unless you want the milk to taste like a goat barn. I don't. So we do it in the open air.
2. Don't keep the does near a buck. No problem there. Poor lonely buck is sequestered until his services are needed again. Way in the corner where I don't have to look at the ugly beast.

3.  Get the milk on ice ASAP.


    Once it was ice cold, it was time for the taste test:
    • Child number one: "Tastes kinda watery."
    • Child number two: "Tastes pretty good," which is about as much of a compliment as I can get from that one.
    • Child number three: I like this goat's milk. But I don't want to drink milk from any old goat. I don't know what other goat's milk tastes like."
    • Child number four: First he said, "I am not drinking that goat milk!" Then he conceded and said, as thoughtfully as a three year old can, "Hey, that tastes like my milk!" He now asks specifically for the goat milk.
    • Husband number uh... husband: "It tastes great!"
    As for me, I am no lover of milk. I only eat it on cereal and since I don't eat cereal anymore, that is tough. My reaction more closely resembled that of this adorable visitor who watched the whole process and wanted no part in trying the milk. I don't blame her, afterall, I didn't actually think of adding her to prayer.


    I did take a tentative taste and it tasted like....milk!

    It may be too soon to tell for sure if my weeks and weeks of prayer have been answered, but chances are that if we were forced to wander in the wilderness (which if you have seen the roads in our town, you might think we already do that) as long as we have our goat, we would be OK! Four out of four boys agree. Bottoms up!


    The most important lesson from our goat milking experience: God does answer prayers. Even ones that may seem silly. I absolutely know that if it matters to me, it matters to Him, and I am ever so thankful for that.

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    4/26/13

    Food Rules for the Creationist


    My husband calls me a creationist. I do not know if he heard this term somewhere or if he made it up to describe me. But I must say, as far as titles go, my favorites are daughter, wife, and mother, but this one has a nicer ring to it! However, if I am being completely honest, I would rather be a princess because then someone else would be cleaning my bathroom right about now. My school of thought is that we need to eat and medicate and lubricate with things as close to nature as they can be. Milk straight from a cow, fruit right off the vine, and eggs fresh from the cloaca (my neighbor taught me that word) of a chicken are the ideal foods. They are unprocessed and perfect just the way God made them. In my opinion, He doesn’t need our help in “making” health food. He is the ultimate nutritionist and made everything he gave us to be the perfect balance of nutrients.  So, taking the yolk out of an egg or the fat out of the milk or the fruit out of the juice seem right out blasphemous to me. I long ago came to the conclusion that if God intended us to drink low fat milk, it would come out of the cow that way. But it doesn’t! It comes out in its full fat glory and who is man to mess with perfection?

    I live in the real world, full of real world convenience. We go through the drive-thru occasionally and order food-like substances. We sometimes grab a bag of chips or bottle of soda. Because it is true that artificial flavors and high fructose corn syrup and genetically modified corn chips just taste delicious!! But these are called treats and I do not expect or believe that they will nourish me in any way, shape or form. As long as I realize this, I do not fear them.

    In my research, I have identified the food saboteurs that are the farthest removed from natural food and the most likely cause of the poor health in America. I will explain my reasoning in future posts. It is almost impossible to avoid them 100 percent of the time, but we do our best.

    High Fructose Corn Syrup

               MSG

                      Artificial Colors/flavors..they make kids crazy! Really Crazy!

                               Hydrogenated anything

                                         Any type of vegetable oil, corn oil, safflower oil  (expellar pressed or
                                         otherwise) especially soybean oil.

                                                     Crisco or margarine

    Ingredients that I can not pronounce or that I can’t lend to my neighbor. (Have you ever asked your neighbor if you could borrow a cup of sorbital?)

    Anything that is fortified. I like to get my vitamins from their original source, not as synthetic vitamins added back into a vitamin depleted food (like cereal or calcium enriched orange juice.)

    Pasteurized and homogenized dairy. This is a hard one. I do not always have access to raw dairy. In fact it is criminal that most Americans do not. So we just have to do the best we can with this one.

    Powdered milk or dehydrated dairy. What nutrients could possibly be left after all that processing?

    Then there are the foods that I avoid at all costs. I will not purchase them for any reason. They are dead to me.

    Diet anything. If it says sugar free, I avoid it. I would rather drink high fructose corn syrup than aspartame or suclarose. They were invented in a lab someplace and have no resemblance whatsoever to real sugar. I will not be a part of the human study or the effects of artificial sweeteners. And guess what. Diet Pepsi is not a health food. It will make you fat!

    Fat free/low fat anything. I have read a few places that fat free= chemical crapfest. I like this description and agree wholeheartedly. Plus it goes back to my theory that we are taking a perfect creation from God and destroying it.

    Cool Whip. Really. If there is anything in the freezer section that is less of an actual food product, I challenge you to find it!

    This list reminds me of what my dad always says about the Atkins diet. People lose weight because they aren't allowed to eat anything! It may appear that way, but I am far from starving. In fact, I feel better than ever. But to live this way takes work. It is more time consuming to pop popcorn for the family on the stove in coconut oil, covered with butter than to take off the plastic and throw it in the microwave. (Please don't do that...do you know what is in that stuff?) But overall, I just find that we eat less. We do not do any mindless snacking because we don't stock the pantry with mindless snacks. And if my kids are truly hungry, they will eat anything. Mostly. Sometimes.

    Rome was not built in a day, and neither is my pantry. And there are plenty of other so called "villainous foods" out there like GMOs and non-organics, but I don't go there quite yet. I do my best as far as those things are concerned. And I do not stress over soaking nuts and grains before preparing. But, maybe someday. I take things a little at a time.

    So where is an easy place to start? I always tell interested folks, go to your cupboard and get that can of spray oil and drop it in the trash. Use butter on those pans instead. In fact, replacing the oils in your home can be the best thing you ever do for your health. But just start there for now. More challenges from this daughter/wife/mother/creationist to come.

    Read more of my creationist series!

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    4/24/13

    Buttery Key Lime Pie

    I love looking at recipes. And when I find one that looks good, I usually change it up to fit my style. As I searched for a good key lime pie recipe, I found all kinds. Low carb, low fat, healthy. I clicked on one labeled:
    Healthy Key Lime Pie.

    What does that look like? Let me tell you!

    Key ingredients: fat free yogurt, vegetable oil, sweetened condensed milk, low fat graham cracker crumbs and sugar. Don't forget to top with frozen fat free whipped topping. Hmm? Did you pick out the healthy ingredient in that recipe? I was kind enough to italicize the items that are completely banned in my home as they are so changed from their natural state that my body doesn't recognize what the are. 

    My idea of healthy food begins with butter and ends with cream. Oh yea. That is what I call healthy. Food, the way nature intended it to be. Throw in some coconut and lime and you have a concoction of goodness that my taste buds go nuts over! Oh, I think I will add nuts too!

    I will not attempt to try and convince you that this pie is good for you. It is a treat. Treats do not have to be good for you. But it does not contain anything that our bodies do not recognize as food, so go ahead, have a slice. For a treat.

    Here is what I came up with:

    Crust:
    1/2 stick of Butter (because all good recipes start with that)
    1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut or flaked coconut.
    3/4 to 1 cup crushed nuts (I used almonds,but I can just hear macadamia nuts yelling, oh, pick me, pick me!)
    1 tsp sea salt
    1 T Coconut Sugar (or any sugar you like)



    Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the almonds, coconut, sugar, and salt and toast over medium heat until it turns light brown and smells "toasty."


    Press into pie pan.


    Filling:
    4 eggs
    1 cup of evaporated cane sugar
    Juice of 3 limes
    Zest of 2 limes
    More butter (1 stick)
    3 drops certified pure lime essential oil
    1 tsp of organic grass fed beef gelatin (softened)
    Whipped cream (perfect ending)

    Zest two of the limes. Pop all three into the microwave for 30 seconds to release the juices. Then juice them.

    Cut the butter into 8 slices.
    Sprinkle the gelatin into 2 T warm water to soften.

    Place the eggs, sugar and lime juice in a cold bowl and whisk.If you do it when the bowl is hot, you may end up with scrambled eggs. (gross)

    Once it is whipped up good, place the bowl inside a bigger pot to act as a double boiler. Cook it over medium heat, whisking continuously until it begins to thicken. Then add the butter one pat at a time until all melted.

    Take off the heat and stir in soft gelatin, lime zest and lime essential oil. (This really makes the pie pop!)


    Pour into the crust and place in refrigerator to set up for at least 3 hours.


    Top with fresh whipped cream. I whipped mine (not so easy when it is raw!) and added a bit of maple syrup for sweetener and 2 more drops of lime oil. Tastes like ice cream.


    The protein packed gelatin helps this set up nice. It is not too sweet, not too tart and is the perfect mix of all my favorite ingredients. Give it a try, your taste buds will thank you.

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    A Lamp Full: Gratitude


    Our family experiences our share of trials. The sun does not shine on us everyday. Sometimes the much needed rain does not fall. Sometimes the hills we climb seem higher than usual. It is truly a part of life that we stretch and grow when times are tough. And it is also true that nothing worth having comes without hard work and sacrifice. It is uncomfortable to build muscle or endurance. It takes discipline and hard work to see a garden through from seed to harvest. Dinner does not cook itself each night. Laundry doesn’t fold itself. None of us are immune from hard work and sacrifice and suffering and sorrow.

    I have been asked on many occasions, “how do you bear your trials with such cheerfulness?"
    My answer is always the same and it is so simple. I am grateful! When the sun is not shining, I am thankful for the rain. When the rain is not falling, I am grateful for the sun. When we are sick, I am thankful that we are alive to feel that pain. When we are hungry, I am thankful that we have food in the pantry. When winds blow and lightening strikes (literally and figuratively) I am thankful that we are safe within our walls. There is always so much more to be thankful for than to be bitter about. Sometimes it takes great effort to find it. But good is always there. I do not believe it will ever be swallowed up by evil. I will not allow it to be overshadowed by bitterness. The only time that will happen is when gratitude is forgotten. We must be thankful. There is so much to be thankful for.

    I read once that if all of us gathered around and pulled all of our problems out of our pockets and threw them in a pile, when we saw what everyone else was dealing with, we would grab our own problems right back! I do not doubt that for even a second.

    When I fill up my body with real food like fruits and vegetables and meat and cheese, I find that I have less room for junk. The same is true when we fill our minds and hearts with gratitude. If I fill my mind with thoughts of my many blessings, I have much less room for bitterness and anger.

    Where can you start?  A gratitude journal. Each day write down a blessing in your life. It could be as simple as I ate today, or I prayed today, or my baby made me smile today.
    We can not borrow gratitude from another. We must have our own lamps full so that when the trials come, and they will, we have a reservoir to draw from. What are you thankful for?

    If you are new to this blog, you may enjoy this post.

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    4/22/13

    Doomsday Prepper Volume 2

    Each spring we get our fair share of mother nature's wrath. This spring alone we have had hail storms, flooding rains, earthquakes (25 in one day!) and an ice storm. Crazy, crazy Oklahoma Springs! We never know when we will get more than we bargained for. We hope we will always be safe and snug in our home. But we are trying to be prepared for anything the earth has to give us. When we were hit by a tornado two years ago, we had wonderful people in the community come to our home offering food and bottled water and any other supplies we might need. It was so kind of them, but we were thankful to be able to tell them to share it with others because we had all that we needed. We had worked hard to be self sufficient and had plenty to share with others. Had our house blown away, that would have been a different story, but at least we would be prepared for 72 hours.

    Each person in our family has an emergency pack. It contains the food kits we put together here and a change of clothes, underwear, socks, and shoes. Each member of the family also has a personal hygiene kit and a "fun kit." Every 6 months, we change out the clothes to make sure they are appropriate for the season and that they fit.



    The personal hygiene kits contain:
    • Washcloth
    • Soap
    • Toothpaste and toothbrush
    • Comb
    • Lotion

    Be sure to save those hotel soaps for this! It is about all they are good for! :)

    The fun packs contain:
    • Playing cards
    • Paper and crayons
    • A book


    I found various backpacks at goodwill that are just for the purpose of containing our 72 hour kits. We fill each child's bag with their essentials so they can carry it if we have to trek away from home in an emergency.
    Food and supplies: Check.
    What else do you find essential to add to your 72 hour kits?

    Doomsday Preppers Vol 1

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    4/19/13

    Doomsday Prepper, Vol 1

    It is tornado season in Oklahoma. Time to get the spiders out of the storm cellar and make sure we have adequate supplies down there should we ever have the unfortunate experience of spending an extended period of time there. Two years ago, we were so glad we had that shelter as a tornado ripped through our community and specifically my neighborhood.

    See how our chicken coop weathered the storm? We didn't lose a single one..
     the babies were in the cellar with us.
    We were all safe and snug down in our little cellar and the house fared well with nothing that couldn't be fixed or replaced. We had real fears of being stuck under debris and unable to come up for air, but we were prepared with game boys and iphones for entertainment and 72 hours worth of emergency supplies. I have been taught since I was a youngster about the importance of having these kits so that we are self-sufficient in an emergency and not dependent on help that may not be coming. And also, if our house had blown away completely, at least we all had a change of clothes, some food to eat and even a porta-potty. (Sooo glad we didn't have to experiment with that!)  Every spring and fall, we go through our kits to make sure clothes fit and food is fresh. Last week we opened up the packs and gorged ourselves on otherwise forbidden junk food. Clif bars, peanut butter crackers, pop tarts and any other shelf stable food I could find to throw down the cellar six months ago. This week it is time to replace it all and send it down for the next six months.
    I pondered the question, "Is it possible to pack something a little closer to real food in 72 hour kit? Something besides Ramen and Pop Tarts?"
    I like a challenge, so I did a little grocery shopping.  I read a ton of labels and I came up with something I feel a little better about eating in an emergency.

    It is time for:
    Extreme Makeover: 72 Hour Kit Edition
    I began my shopping trip at the local Target because it is a lot closer for me than a whole foods place and organic junk food is as abundant there as anywhere. But at least it is organic and does not have artificial flavors or colors added  and most of these boxed items were on sale, so that is awesome! I like the Annie's brand and love the Archer Farm fruit snacks.  For protein we add all natural Jif to go and spoons. Because who doesn't love a peanut butter spoon?  I also looked for applesauce and diced fruit that does not have Splenda or high fructose corn syrup. I found Kind Bars at Sam's which are just fruit and nuts and I love them. I got tuna pouches for the hubs and Nature Valley Organic canned chicken for myself as well. (The kids won't eat either one)
    

     

    I also fulfilled some requests by my kids who have great nostalgia for Pop Tarts and Spaghetti O's and Ritz crackers. I figure if their world is caving in, might as well have something of comfort! :) Too bad I can't throw in some chocolate for me. Gets too hot!
    Now for the fun part. We each got a gallon sized zip lock bag and filled it until all the contents were distributed evenly. Note: Do not do this right after school when all the kids come home hungry. It makes for grouchy kids who do not relish putting all this junk food down a hole when they only want to put it down their own pie holes!
    Here is the finished product! 70 percent organic junk food and 30 percent non-organic. Not an ideal diet, but will keep us alive if we are stuck in a storm shelter for days on end!
    Don't forget to add spoons for the fruit and peanut butter. Also, be sure to have plenty of bottled water on hand. I put one in each backpack just in case we were to ever get separated. The rest goes down the hole.
    My Final cost for 6 kits was 101.25 or 16.87 per person, plus we have a few snacks left for our road trip tomorrow. Overall, I am pleased with our Doomsday Prepper's makeover. We replaced crackers filled with soybean oil and artificial colors with natural crackers. We replaced fruit snacks that were nothing more than high fructose corn syrup and harmful dyes with fruit strips that are 100 percent fruit. And when we clean out the cellar again this fall, I won't cringe as I watch the kids devour their sacks of goodies...at least not quite as much.
    Stay tuned for our next installment of Doomsday Preppers! Available here.
    Do you have a 72 hour kit for each member of your family? What healthy foods have you found that store well?

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    4/17/13

    Un-Colgate your Colgate


    This weekend I decided to Crest the hill of good health and chemical free living and experiment with home made toothpaste.  I have tried this before and was woefully disappointed and decided that I just didn’t give a Gum any longer and went back to my Colgate Total which is less than Aqua Fresh. I have sensitive teeth you see and any other toothpaste leaves me in pain after a few weeks.

    Oil pulling, the activity whereby you rid your body of some of it’s most annoying toxins by swishing coconut oil and a drop of your favorite essential oils for upwards of 20 min a few days a week, seems to help with my sensitivity, so I am hopeful that is a thing of the past. Does anyone else have a hard time with the 20 min rule? Unless I am asleep, 20 min of no talking is the cruelest form of torture for me…although maybe a great blessing for the family.

    Anyhoo, as I said, I have tried the coconut oil and baking soda toothpaste and just was not impressed. So, I tried 2 new recipes that I have found online and one was great, and the other…well, I am still picking eggshells out of my teeth.


    The first recipe involved me boiling the egg shells from our happy hens. Then I let them dry for several days. Next was the laborious job of grinding them to powder to make my bread toothpaste. The whole time I was doing it, I just couldn’t get FE FI FO FUM out of my head. I will probably have nightmares. Why would anyone do this, you might ask? Because egg shells are high in calcium which is good for your teeth. But not mine, because, oops, there’s an egg shell. Maybe I need a more powerful grinder. But I just can't see the shells ever turning to complete powder. I will experiment more with that one. Here is the recipe:

    Dash of Sea Salt
    3-4 T Water
    1/2 t Xylitol
    1 T coconut oil (optional)
    1 drops clove, cinnamon, or a protective blend of essential oil
    Add the warm water to a small bowl. Add the clay one teaspoon at a time until combined. Add the salt and Xylitol.  Keep stirring and it turns smooth as silk. Add the essential oil. (I used orange and peppermint for the kids)

    I tried it out. My teeth are still smiling. It is not too bad tasting either. And no crunchy stuff. I missed the coconut oil, however, so I did add some back to the paste and that worked well.You could do it or not. I just like the properties of coconut oil and want that one in there. It looks all pasty, just like toothpaste!

    You could certainly stop here, cut that tip off and use it for your toothpaste dispenser, but I had a better idea...maybe not better, and definitely more work!  I did something I have always wanted to do, but never dared.

    Nope, that wasn’t the elf on the shelf. It was me. And it was fun. What was not fun, however was getting my perfect paste in that tiny tube. I persevered however and won't the hubs get a shock when he squeezes that out tonight. It is not even April Fools day!

    In the end both hubs and I like it. The kids say it tastes like, and I quote here, "Blood and Spit" mixed together. But are willing to try it again if I will flavor it with say, orange essential oils. Just keeping it real here folks. Not everyone is always thrilled with our home made lifestyle. Being the mom is hard sometimes, but someone has to do it. And I will do it with a smile, preferably eggshell free!



    ***Note: This recipe will leave your teeth feeling very clean, but if your mouth still feels like morning breath, use a little mouthwash. One drop of peppermint or clove oil on your tongue, then a bit of water and swish. That will take care of it!

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    4/15/13

    Chocolate Milk You Can Live On!


    My kids love Chocolate Milk. So, when we started boycotting processed foods, this was one of the first things I had to learn to make from scratch. I have tried a lot of recipes, but this one is my favorite. I have learned a few more things as I go, however and one of those new treasures of knowledge is the goodness of gelatin. Not the green kind with shredded carrots. Or the Orange kind with pineapple...and yet more carrots. But the grass fed, bovine stuff that is packed with vitamins and protein. It can be used to make Jell-O salad, key lime pie, and gummy snacks. But you can do it without the sugar, artificial colors or flavors and add protein and vitamins that can only be found naturally in grass fed beef. I found mine at Azure Standard. Regular gelatin must be dissolved in hot liquids like hot chocolate, and can fortify your soups. There is a variation that is found at Great Lakes Gelatin that dissolves in cold liquids, making it perfect for:

    Power Packed Protein Chocolate Milk
    4 cups raw milk
    3 T cocoa powder
    4 T Pure Maple Syrup
    3 pastured egg yolks
     And for the adventurous: 2-3 drops orange essential oil
     Blend all ingredients until smooth and creamy.  
    Did you know that of  the eight essential amino acids that our bodies use, raw milk contains all of them, making it completely balanced.  It also contains loads of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, good bacteria and healthy fat. You could live on it exclusively. Egg yolks from pastured chickens contain beta carotene, Vitamins A,  D and E, and Omega Fatty Acids. They are a rich dark yellow and make your chocolate creamy dreamy. The gelatin contains amino acids for skin, bone and joint health. Can your chocolate milk do that?

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    4/12/13

    Make Your Own Cloth "Clorox" Wipes

    I love the convenience of wipes for the toilet. I do not love the idea of the chemical wipes you find on supermarket shelves. . So this week I gave them another try. I once saw a pin on Pinterest that I wish I could find again. It made me laugh out loud. Not the idea itself, per se, but the idea of me actually doing it. It involved sewing matching sets of some sort of cute cleaning fabric in perfectly matching squares, then adding snaps to them so you can roll them up, place them gently in a container, add your detergent and you are ready to clean the world: Green Style. I hope it worked for this gal. And for all those who pinned it. I mean no disrespect, but come on! Who has the time to make them let alone snap and re-snap after laundering. Sorry, not for me. The concept of reusable wipes all ready to go is a great concept to me, so I did it according to my level of cutesy craftsy which on a scale of one to 10 is a negative 3.

    I haphazardly (without even measuring) cut up some old T-shirts into shapes that resemble squares.


    Then I laid them on top of one another so they were just overlapping.

    Then I rolled them up, leaving a little corner of the first one out so it would be easy to pull out.


    Next, I placed them in an old Clorox tube. I couldn't resist, so I pulled them all out one by one to see if it would work. It did, kinda. Then I shook my head at myself because was all that work really necessary?

    I  think not!  I just stuffed them in the tube, added my solution, gave it a shake and called it good.



    It could not be easier. No cutting paper towel rolls in half. No struggling to get the tube in the middle out. Just a few rags and the simplest ingredients make this my kind of project.

    Clorox Free Clorox Wipes
    1 Cup of water
    8 drops of lemon essential oil
    2 T white vinegar
    Several old rags that can be cut in to any shape you want. I like squares myself.
    Stuff the rags in any old container with a lid. A Mason Jar would be best as lemon tends to corrode plastic. Add your solution, give it a shake.
    

    I used them right away to clean my table. Since it didn't have anything too nasty or sticky today, I simply rinsed the rag off and stuffed it back into the tube. Try that with those fancy schmancy snappy wipes.

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    4/10/13

    Avocado Pesto

    Well, I thought it was Spring! I wanted it to be Spring, I really, really hoped it was Spring. Yesterday I made a delicious Springtime lunch in honor of Spring. But when I woke up this morning, I saw this. Not very Springlike! I don't think we had ice like that all winter, let alone in April! But at least there is rain. And we need plenty of that to help grow the ingredients for my yummy....




    Avocado Pesto!

    It's fresh, fast, raw! A great way to get in your veggies today. It is Avocado Pesto! And here is the recipe:

    1 ripe avocado
    1 small ripe tomato
    2-3 T Heavy Cream
    1 small garlic clove, crushed
    1 drop certified pure cilantro Oil
    1 drop certified pure lime oil
    Shredded Monterrey Jack Cheese to taste
    1 pinch each of salt and pepper.


    Open the avocado by cutting around the fruit holding it lengthwise. Then pull it apart. Jab the seed with the blade of the knife and give it a turn and it will come right out. Then using a spoon, scoop out all the flesh. You can mash it with a fork at this point, or use a little bullet blender like I did. Add a drop each of lime and cilantro.


    Next, Add 2-3 T of heavy cream. I found a farmer a few towns over who just started selling some raw milk. I use a turkey baster to pull the fresh raw cream off of the top. By using this raw cream from a grazing jersey cow, I just added Vitamin A,  D and K to my mix and my body is going to love me for it! I grew up believing that cream was an empty calorie. Perhaps the dead stuff in the stores, but not this living spring time goodness from the farm!

    Whip it or stir until it is creamy and add in your seasonings. Toss with cooked pasta or spaghetti squash. Top with diced tomato and shredded cheese (I found some raw milk Monterrey Jack cheese at sprouts. Delish!)  Garnish with Cilantro if desired. Lunch never tasted so fresh, and Spring-like on an April day that feels like December.

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    4/8/13

    Body Butter and Lotion Bars

     I love lotion. I really, really do. I put it on many times a day. I can't pronounce many of the ingredients found in any brand I have, so I tried to give it up. I bought almond oil which is very nourishing to my skin, but it lacks that luscious, creamy texture which I have leaned is what I love most about lotion. So, I decided to try it on my own. I have read about lotion bars which also sounded intriguing, so I set out to make both. And oh my goodness. Easy Peasy! I took 4 oz of beeswax and mixed it with 4 oz of  Shea butter.


    You now need to melt them slowly. You can do this over a double broiler or in a pot on the stove. I used the microwave (don't judge) because I was in a bit of a hurry. I heated for 1 min, and stirred, then did that every 30 seconds. The beeswax takes longer to melt, be patient with it.


    It smelled so honey-like, that I decided to add a scoop of honey too. Um, don't do that. It may work with soap, but with lotion, not so much. Trust me on this. 



    See what it looks like after you have been patient?

    Once it was melted, I added the oils. 1/4 cup coconut oil and 1/4 cup sweet almond. Then I divided it into 4 equal parts and added citrus bliss to one, peppermint to another, lavender to one and lime to the last. Then I just poured them into molds and in 1/2 hour, I had beautiful lotion bars. I had to scrape the honey off the top, which had settled to the bottom. I will resist the temptation to add that next time. :)

    Now on to the creamy stuff! Measure 8 oz of Shea butter and melt it with 1/2 cup of coconut oil.



    Once it is melted, let it cool. I put it in the refrigerator for 20 min. Then I added 1/2 cup of almond oil. You should have about 2 cups of liquid at this point. I decided to leave this unscented. It takes a lot of oil to overpower the scent of Shea butter. I would prefer to add a drop of any oil I am in the mood for when I use the lotion. Then it serves two purposes. A luxurious lotion and a carrier oil for therapeutic essential oils. It is a win win! Now that all the ingredients are in place, put in the freezer for 20-30 min. Pull it out and scrape down the sides. Then it is time to whip it. I used an immersion blender, but any old kitchen beaters will do. It doesn't take long to look like this.


    I divided it up into a few containers. It is beautiful. It melts when it touches your skin. It seems a bit greasy at first, but absorbs rather quickly. I look forward to testing these out. Maybe they will help me overcome my lotion addiction. And, I learned a new skill!


    Do you find this "Pinteresting"? Is it likeable?  Please consider following My Lamp is Full on Pinterest or Facebook.

    4/2/13

    How to Milk a Goat


    I have a few neighbors who raise cattle for beef. When I was looking for raw milk, I had this brilliant idea that I should ask one of them to get me some. I assumed even beef cattle gave milk to their babies. So, I asked my friend if he would milk one of the new moms for me. He gave me the strangest look. Actually he looked at me as if I were looney tunes and shook his head at me. “What?” I asked.  “Just put on your cowboy hat, rope that lady, lead her to the barn, give her some hay and milk her.” (Didn’t this guy ever read Little House on the Prairie? That is what cows are made for!)

    Well, I never quite understood that whole interaction until yesterday. I looked at myself in the mirror as if I were looney tunes and shook my head at me. Because not everything you read in a book or see in a movie is true, that’s why!  Our experience yesterday more closely resembled roping a deer than Little House.

    Here is the lesson I learned. Animals are ornery critters. Especially when they have been separated from their babies all night and their udders are the size of a congressman’s head! We raise little milkers. April probably weighs 60 pounds max. And it took 3 of us to hold her still while we tried to extract her liquid gold. She kicked and bucked and cried and knocked over the milk several times. It then hit me with full force why Mr. Rancher refused to milk one of his cows. Add 3000 pounds (okay maybe 800) to the deal and it all started to sink in. We hog tied her feet and my mom (thank goodness she was here) held one leg while I held the other and spoke kind words... that went unheeded. But three against one 60 lb goat seems to be just about the right number and we did it! Nearly a full quart of milk! Multiply by two and we had some for us and some for the babies.



    The babies were no more accommodating than than the moms. Who knew they had to be taught to drink from a bottle. Goats eat everything right? No, actually they only eat things they are not supposed to like my clothes. They had nipple confusion galore! But a few were just hungry enough.

     
    My three year old will be happy to know they drank from a bottle. He watched them nurse from their mommies the first day and wisely declared, "you should never put a goat in your mouth!" Shh, don't tell that to the babies. This experience was traumatic enough that we need to rest up before we try it again. We also wont be roping 3000 lb Angus any time soon. Our goats provide enough danger and adventure to suit us just fine..no cowboy hat required.

    4/1/13

    Orange Comet...For a Tropical Toilet


     I love to soak my orange rinds in Vinegar for a powerful orange cleaner. I also remember reading once about grinding dried out citrus peels to use for cleaning. I thought I would give it a try and I gotta tell you, it was worth the work.
    To me, nothing says a clean toilet like comet cleanser. (Except maybe this). First, I cut
    my peels up into small chunks and let them dry for 2-3 days.

                                                    
                                    

    Next, I tried to grind them to powder in the food processor, but it didn't work so great. I then switched to the Magic Bullet. That was okay, but I noticed, the peels were still a bit wet. 
     I let them dry for another 2 days. Finally I ground them again in the mighty bullet and got a great powder. A spice grinder works well too. I was looking on Craigslist for something for the farm and do you know what I found? Someone was selling powdered orange peels for $20 a box. Didn't say how big a box is, but still. Talk about a mark up, maybe I am onto something here.

    Now for the Comet!
    1/2 Cup Baking Soda
    2 T Borax
    1 T Washing Soda
    2 T Orange Powder
    5 Drops Orange Oil
    Give all the ingredients a whirl in the food processor or blender.



    I just so happened to have some extra pieces to my bullet blender in the attic and one of the lids even had these convenient holes for shaking the stuff out. Score! Sprinkle liberally in the toilet bowl and swish. Cleaning a toilet has never been so tropical! I may do it again tomorrow!

    Need something a bit softer for the counter and tub? Check out my recipe for soft scrub.
    Interested in buying the most heavenly orange oil on the planet? Email me for prices. 


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