Rose Petal & Cocoa Infused Red Wine

Because another Chocolate Workshop is coming up and I am making this right now so it can be ready for sampling in class. ;)

Bella Vista Farm

Did that title intrigue you? Wine and roses and cocoa…..all in one drink? Delicious!

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It was incredibly easy to do and I did not have a specific recipe but I will show you what I did. Also read more about the medicinal benefits of each ingredient besides the sweet deliciousness.

Rose Petals(Rosa Rugosa)

The rose was one of the most valued medicinal plants in the monastery gardens of medieval Europe. Rose petals suitable for medicinal purposes must yield a deep rose-colored, astringent, and fragrant infusion when boiling water is poured upon them.(Annie’s Remedies)

Roses are known for their beauty, their perfumey scent and their ability to calm. They are also :

  • cooling
  • astringent
  • uplifting
  • anti-inflammatory
  • helpful for pms and menopausal symptom

Cocoa Nibs (Theobroma cacao)

Cacao beans and nibs have a long and colorful history, beginning in Central and South America before 1500 BC. The entire cacao fruit was…

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The Month I wished I Lived in an Apartment!

I LOVE living on a farm but seriously somethings happened last month that made wish I lived in an apartment. You know those type of days, weeks or even months that make you question yourself in “why the heck am I doing this???!”

January, shuddering….stay far, far behind and don’t come back!!!

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We had company that stayed too long over Christmas through January 2nd with part of them to return only a couple short weeks later. Try training a new puppy, while having a big dog(good old Luke, so patient) AND an extra dog for a few weeks as a visitor. OK people I know some of you have three or more dogs but sheeshhh, two is plenty for this gal!!!!

On top of that, I had a very sick goat – remember I have only had goats for three months! Poor Cookies was so sick, he was weak and had a neurological disease so he had issues walking straight. Cookies DID recover though after twice a day injections, 4x/day pills(holding his mouth closed when he would try and spit them out), daily wormers, numerous supplements – yada, yada, yada. I tending to this goat every couple hours to make sure he was ok and take care of the other goat as well. I knew he was getting better when I could no longer hold him to give him injections. He was tired of becoming a pin cushion, I was definitely tired of wrestling an animal by myself while trying not to accidentally inject myself- the thought of that nasty antibiotic…yuck, at least the other injection was vitamins, that would not have killed me. My hubby and I argued most days when we had to move the goat pen, weekly – 7 panels that were 16 feet each. What was I thinking?! We were over it.

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With the goat episode, I realized I am not ready to be a goat mama and was lucky enough to find a good, loving home for the boys – of course after Cookies was better.

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Thunder Pookie, the puppy, has become obsessed with the chickens and the chicken yard. She now is too big but a few weeks ago she could crawl under the chicken wire and get into the chicken yard to eat various things, mainly poop! Yuck! I had to watch when I put feed in there because she would go get a bite of that too, sigh. I feel like I said NO eighty- million times to the puppy, to the cats, to the horses, to the guest doggie.

One day I found Tina, my horse, in the goat pen!

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She is a good girl!

Yep she walked right through the tiny opening, which I left open accidentally. Thank goodness she is easy to get out of places like that although she wouldn’t just come when I called her….because I realized she was caught in the briars. She stood patiently for me to cut the briars away from her legs and walk her on out of the pen. Easy, peasy? NO!!!! As I am walking out of the pen, with her at my side, I step and hear a yelp…from Thunder Pookie because I stepped on her foot. Automatically I step the opposite direction right into the path of Tina’s hoof on top of my foot. Ow!!!!

Yeah, I think I broke my toe. Thank goodness there was a lot of mud so my foot did sink down in my rubber boots. As I limp inside, I think of the commercial – “Oh My, Calgon, Take Me Away!!!” I assessed the situation and could not move the three smaller toes, nor could I walk very well, so I put comfrey salve all over it and took 4 arnica pills and continued this all day with ice. Hubby comes home and asks if I need to go to the hospital – “Heck NO – I will fix it!” Heeheehee – :D AND the next day I woke up after being woke up by hubby at 5:00am because guest doggie had an accident all over my carpet(was just cleaned by Citrus Solution) and he needed help cleaning it up. Poor guy – not what you want to find when you first wake up. I realized as I am moving around whoa…my foot is much better! Good old comfrey – the best stuff on the planet!

So now that you heard my drama for January, you know why I was wishing I lived in a teeny, tiny apartment or tiny house with nothing but myself, hubby and a couple pets to take care of.

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Sometimes we just have meltdowns, no one is perfect! AS long as the meltdowns don’t occur too often. ;) Am I right?

The ending to all that drama? A friend taught an amazing soap class here and now I can create a few herbal soaps to match my herbal salves – so excited!!! We made a vegetable based soap, at my request, that included canola, vegetable shortening, coconut oil, castor oil, palm kernel oil flakes and beeswax. I added oats, goats milk powder and frankincense essential oil to my first batch and the next day I made it with raw cacao powder and roses with rose geranium oil. I will be posting all the pics and step by step of what we did tomorrow.

I am fine now…thinking of Spring and all the wonderful growing things that will come our way – Spiritually, Physically and Mentally.

Goodbye January, see you next year. Hello February and Hello almost Spring!

Have a beautiful day friends –

Anne-Marie

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Make Your Own Coconut Milk

I was talking to a class yesterday about coconut milk shampoo and thought I would make some again. Coconut Milk Shampoo is the ONLY homemade shampoo that I have found to work decently with a bit of lather.

When I first tried it, I used a can of coconut milk but have heard on Wellness Mama that making your own coconut milk makes it work better plus you have some to drink too!!

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So not wasting anytime whatsoever, I just read the blog post, saw that I had unsweetened coconut in the cupboard and made it. Yep that simple, easy peasy!!! And seriously you can buy a bag of organic coconut for about $2-3 and make a couple batches, that is some cheap coconut milk. If I buy a container of coconut milk in the store it costs $3.50-$4.00 and usually has carrageenan and other stuff. :(

There is a bonus to this milk recipe that was found in the comment section of Wellness Mama’s post – you can make coconut flour with what’s left after squeezing the shredded coconut out – woohoo!

Recipe for Homemade Coconut Milk

1.5-2 cups of organic unsweetened shredded coconut

4 cups of hot water

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Heat your water up but do not boil it, just hot to the touch. No you can’t just use hot water from the tap. This will take two minutes to do. Put water in a blender or if you are lucky, a vitamix and add the coconut. You do not want this to be super full otherwise it will make a gigantic mess when you turn it on!!! If you have to, do it in two batches.

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Place a towel over the top (just in case) and turn on low then high for a few minutes until blended.

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Pour through a very fine mesh strainer and press the pulp as you do it.

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At the very end I added the pulp back into the blender with a bit of the milk and blended again and poured back through the strainer into a quart jar. If it seems to still have pieces of coconut, you can pour through cheesecloth or butter muslin.

Look how creamy it looks! Oooooohhhh yum.

 

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Now I love this stuff plain as is but you can add some vanilla or stevia or honey or maple syrup…whatever your little heart desires. <3

OK so now refrigerate it and it will keep 3-4 days. The next day you will see a thick layer on the top, that is the cream – the fat – the good stuff!!! So if you are going to make the shampoo, mix the milk well first so you get some of that fat in your shampoo.

Recipe for Homemade Coconut Milk Shampoo

adapted from Katie at Wellness Mama

  • ¼ cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup Liquid Castille Soap like Dr. Bronners
  • 20 drops of essential oils – your choice (try peppermint, lavender, rosemary and orange or combinations of those)
  • For dry hair: add ½- 1 tsp olive or almond oil (optional)

How to Make Homemade Shampoo

  1. Combine all ingredients in an old shampoo bottle or jar of some kind (pump soap dispensers and even foaming dispensers work well for this. If you use a foaming dispenser, add 1/4 cup of distilled water)
  2. Shake well to mix.
  3. Keep in shower for up to a month.
  4. Shake before each use.
  5. Use about a teaspoon every time you shampoo.
  6. If you use a foaming dispenser, it also makes a great shaving cream- just dilute with 1/4 cup distilled water!

I hope you enjoy this post! Please share with friends :)

Anne-Marie

 

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Eating Local Takes On New Meaning

January, the time for reeling in the spending, figuring new ways to save money and cleaning out the house AND freezer!

When you hear “Eat Local”, what do you think? Local beef, local produce from farms near you or the farmer’s market? This month eating local to me means eating out of the freezer and foraging for good greens and dandelions.

yummy salad with chickweed, dandelion leaves and flowers, purple dead nettle

yummy salad with chickweed, dandelion leaves and flowers, purple dead nettle

I cook a lot and now with only two people in the house, I have more leftovers that go in the freezer because I cannot yet just cook for two! The secret to having good leftovers and not wasting them is to freeze leftover food within 24 hours. If I make a big pot of soup or spaghetti sauce, I pack all but what we will eat over the next couple days in smallish containers so I can just grab a bowl of soup or quart of sauce and defrost. I had just enough Tom Kha soup in the freezer for one portion, hubby doesn’t care for it so he had leftover chicken pot pie with his burger. :)

salad with homemade ranch, turkey burger and tom kha soup

salad with homemade ranch, turkey burger and tom kha soup

There are three freezers in my house! I know that is nuts but one pretty much has breads, juices made from fresh fruits for jellies – gotta stop doing this – must… make… jelly. :D The kitchen freezer has all the immediate foods we use all the time, veggies, ice cream, small containers of leftovers, meats for the week and rice,flour and homemade bread crumbs. The basement freezer is where things go into long term storage which sometimes turns into really long term storage, more than two years!!! Yikes – although I have been keeping on top of this one now more than I have in the past.

Here are some ideas for using up leftover food:

Make soup – of course this is the #1 response to leftovers but sometimes people aren’t sure how to do it. First, check if there are any containers of chicken, beef or seafood broth anywhere in the freezer. Then figure what meats or seafood you have leftover in the fridge and veggies OR all veggies if making a vegetarian soup.

  • Examples:
  • Some kale that has started to wilt,
  • the stalks of the broccoli that someone(my hubby) won’t eat,
  • a half cup leftover peas, corn, mushrooms etc…
  • the couple of carrots that may be lingering in the bottom of the refrigerator
  • container of tomatoes, frozen or fresh – you know those last 8-10 grape tomatoes hanging around, not bad just not firm enough for salads
  • 1/2 onion from earlier in the week used in a stir fry
  • chicken breast from last nights meal
  • 1 cup of ground beef left from taco night
  • pasta from spaghetti two nights ago
  • mashed potatoes can become fried potato patties RECIPE in THIS post.
  • sweet potatoes, butternut squash, white beans, cooked cauliflower can all be blended separately and used in recipes of similar color. Check out the Sneaky Chef puree recipes HERE and more of these will be in my posts too – love her!

The secret to making a good soup is to pick a theme or flavor and add the ingredients that fit. AND season well!!!!

Chicken noodle soup – you would use broth, chicken, pasta, most veggies – except tomatoes, peppers. I personally love kale in any soup but add it towards the last 15 minutes of cooking. Anything goes for spices here!!! Homestyle – salt, pepper, parsley, garlic, dill, onion or Thai – salt, crushed red pepper, green chili paste, lemongrass, lime juice or add some tumeric and cumin and ginger for a warming Indian flare.

Seafood chowder – seafood broth(made from shrimp shells, clam juice), potatoes, tomatoes, veggies OR a cream based chowder with milk or half and half, onions, garlic, potatoes, clams or shrimp or any fish(only use cooked fish that is leftover for 1 day or fresh/frozen), lots of black pepper and a pinch of red pepper, go easy on the salt since the seafood broth may have just enough.

Taco Soup – chicken or beef or pork, veggies – just about any can go in this one! Definitely tomatoes, leftover sauce or chili, onions, peppers. Chili powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper and dash of cayenne.

Sweet Potato and Kale Soup with zucchini

Tonight I am eating my whole wheat penne pasta alfredo with peas, chicken and mushrooms from last night – mmmmmm good!

Food-ul, Tue Aug 24, 2010, 12:04:48 PM,  8C, 6000x8000,  (0+0), 100%, bent 6 stops,  1/60 s, R111.4, G84.2, B101.0

Interesting post from the USDA – worth the read in this case, click HERE

Hope you all have a beautiful Day!

Anne-Marie

 

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Frugal January Ideas

January, the month of making promises, goals, thinking of new ideas, planning for the future…whatever you call it. January is THE biggest month of the year to change what you have been doing all along and do something ELSE that is productive for you and your family.

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About a year and a half ago I ran a 23 day Frugal Living Challenge that was inspired by Andrea at Frugally Sustainable. Now I did not pay off a ridiculous size debt, although that would have been a nice bonus but I did save money and spent a whole lot less than normal! THIS year I would love to pay off some debt especially now that the kid is in college and we have an extra $500/month expense for it – yikes! THANK GOODNESS we have no car payments!

My friend Michele is running a Frugal Finances in 201 on Facebook if you would like to check it out here. While I am not running an “official challenge” this month I will be posting all throughout the month money saving ideas as well as goals that I set and accomplish. If you want to check out my 23 Day Challenge, you will find lots of cool ideas.

Here are some great ideas from Growing Slower Blog

Of course buying your seasoning and spices in bulk really will save money instead of buying those tiny jars at the grocery store for $3-6 a piece!!! You can get waaaayyy more and organic for a better price at Mountain Rose Herbs.

While on topic of spices, wouldn’t you love to make your own seasoning and dressing blends instead of buying those little $1.50 packets that are full of preservatives and other junk? My ranch recipe is delish and originally it came from the Tightwad Gazette – YEARS ago!!!! I love this book so much, it is dogeared, written in, paperclipped, highlighted – serious love! Here is a video that is encouraging from Amy Dacyczyn herself.

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Ancient – fabulous book!

What is your favorite tightwad recipe or tip? Please share in the comments.

Happy New Year my friends!

Anne-Marie

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Recipe for Green Tea Sunflower Scrub

Do you use sugar scrubs? Have you ever read the label ingredients for those scrubs? Can you EAT your scrub?

This Green Tea Sunflower Scrub  is wonderful for your skin and YES, you can take a taste too! ;)

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I love sunflower oil and seem to use it in so many herbal skin care recipes! I will start to purchase it from a local source too – there are a couple farms I need to check out for it.

This recipe can be made in minutes and will keep for 4-6 months, not that it should sit on your shelf for that long!!! The whole purpose is to use it and make your skin beautiful!!!!!!

But first, some good stuff about what is in this scrub:

Sunflower oil – high in vitamin E – regenerates cells, omega 6, good for skin health, lots of fatty acids, sunflowers can grow everywhere, no saturated fat – won’t clog arteries, energy booster, high in antioxidants.

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Honey – I use sunflower honey when I can find it, amazing if you haven’t tried it yet. Honey is moisturizing, soothing, slows the aging process, antibacterial(great for acne).

Sugar – need this for it to be a scrub – :D I use organic cane sugar, especially after hearing that some conventional sugars are processed with bone char – d-i-s-g-u-s-t-i-n-g. Sugar is a natural humectant, meaning it draws moisture from the environment into the skin. natural source of glycolic acid, an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) that penetrates the skin and breaks down the “glue” that bonds skin cells, encouraging cell turnover and generating fresher, younger-looking skin.

Green Tea – Full of antioxidants, Green tea is loaded with polyphenols, which fight free radicals, reduce inflammation, provide protection against skin cancer and bust any nasty toxins or bacteria that may be lingering in your pores. Helps with aging, saggy skin. So you don’t have to just drink it to reap the benefits!

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Green Tea Sunflower Scrub Recipe

This batch makes about 7 – 2 ounce by volume square jars

4 cups organic sugar

3/4 cup sunflower oil

2 Tablespoons sunflower honey or your favorite honey

7 teaspoons green tea powder or open up a few tea bags. I now use Genmaicha green tea which contains rice and grind it in my spice grinder – love this tea!

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Mix well. If you like it wetter, add a bit more oil. I don’t like a big greasy scrub so feel free to add/change any of the ingredients to your liking.

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To use: take a teaspoon for a face or a couple tablespoons for the body and apply to wet skin, massaging gently and rinse well.

Enjoy and Merry Christmas Eve!

Anne-Marie

 

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Recipe For Winter Immune Tea

It’s that time of year folks! Hustling, bustling running on fumes and trying NOT to get sick!!! By drinking this tea blend, you will add a shield of immunity all around you and hopefully keep you from getting a full blown cold.

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I cannot take credit for this amazing tea, it originally came from the Herbalista. :) When you get a minute check out her wonderful site here and all that she does for the community!

Winter Immune Tea adapted from the Herbalista

This tea is measured in parts by weight but if you cannot weigh each part, add alot less of the heavier herbs like cinnamon chips, ginger root and licorice root. And more of the very light herbs – mullein, nettle

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You can find all of the herbs at Mountain Rose Herbs, just click the herbs in the recipe.

Blend all together in a jar. I use 1/2 cup measuring cup as my “1 part”

To make, use 1 tablespoons of blend to 1 cup boiled water. Cover and steep for 15 minutes. Taste before sweetening because the licorice root is a natural sweetener.

Here are some more amazing things you can do to stay healthy this season along with recipes from an older post – HERE

Enjoy!

Anne-Marie

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