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Posts Tagged ‘live frugal’

Lovely Coconut Oil. I love it. And you should too!

It’s thick and creamy. It offers substantial health benefits. It works wonders on detoxifying the body. And even helps curb appetite.

For your health –
  • Is antibacterial therefore, helps fight infection
  • Take a spoonful 20 minutes before eating to curb appetite
  • Assists with weight control
  • Use to strengthen immunity
  • Helps treat arthritis
  • Improves thyroid function
  • Increases energy
  • Improves digestion
  • Treats and prevents acid reflux, heart burn and indigestion
  • Treats sore throats and ear infections
  • Even been known to help ADHD and Autism

Coconut Oil is for more than cooking with!

Coconut oil is also great for your hair and skin! For real.

For the hair –

  • It is great for all hair types
  • It works especially well on dandruff
  • It offers incredible shine and softness
  • Great for color treated hair
  • Used to treat lice
  • Removes gum from hair

For the skin –

  • Heals burns fabulously
  • Is antibacterial so works wonderfully for cuts and scrapes 
  • Is nourishing and moisturizing
  • Offers sun protection
  • Is a fantastic eye make up remover
  • Treats rashes, fungal and yeast infections like ringworm and athletes foot
  • Soothes stings and bites
  • Softens cracked rough feet
  • Strengthens nails
  • Treats eczema and psoriasis
You love coconut oil now, too, don’t you? I told you you would!

Over the next few weeks I will offer a tremendous amount of tips on using coconut oil throughout your life. Stay tuned! 

Live Well!
~S 

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Many of you already know how to make your own vanilla extract, but those of you who don’t, you will be pleasantly surprised at just how simple it is.

I say that quite a bit don’t I? “It’s so easy.” It’s really simple.”

But so much in life has been done by big machines and bigger business that many have never had the chance to realize just how easy or how much healthier, and even cheaper, they are to do yourself.

And Vanilla Extract is no different.

You need:

Vanilla beans
Hard alcohol (vodka, rum, brandy, whiskey, ect.)

I used 2 vanilla beans,  8 ounces of vodka and a recycled bottle.

Cut the vanilla beans in about 1 inch pieces. Place them in the bottle.

Fill the jar with alcohol. Cover and wait.

It takes about 3 months to get a good vanilla extract, but it’s usable within days. It really depends on the beans.

But get this…
You can keep topping off the bottle with more alcohol and continue to have plenty of vanilla extract! This will work for at least 3-4 more full bottles. As the beans soften they continue to release vanilla-ey goodness.

What you brewing in your kitchen?

Live Well!
~S 

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Did you like Regrow Celery?

Well, you are going to love this!

You can also regrow leeks and scallions or green onions. Really.

Look at these guys.

This is day seven… maybe eight… in water. It’s been cold and windy and well, rather busy here in The Shire. I haven’t had any time to plant these guys. But look how much they’ve grown.

Look at those roots.

I also planted a few more lettuce plants. I eat a lot of lettuce. So far I have planted 4 romaine and 2 green leaf lettuce in the gardens this year. At the market today I bought red leaf. I bought more scallions and leeks too.

Start regrowing today! 

Live Well!
~S 

We’re Moving!
Come visit our new home….

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I have had made just about everything you can imagine at one point or another. But there are two things I have yet to add to that long list…

Beer and Kombucha

Seriously! You’d think I would have done this by now.

Well, let’s change that shall we?

Starting Kombucha Mother is really quite simple. You can purchase SCOBY (Symbiotic Colony of  Bacteria and Yeast) at a number of health food suppliers, but why bother? Besides being more expensive – the average mother is around $20, this way will cost you about $3.50 – it’s easy and you get to say you made it yourself!

Here’s what you need – 

  • A bottle of Organic Raw Kombucha (right from the grocery store)
  • 1 cup of sweetened tea
  • A large glass jar ( a wide mouth mason jar is perfect)
  • A kitchen towel or cheesecloth
  • A rubber band

First, steep your tea – one tea bag in one cup of water. You can use any kind you like. For this batch I am using a black and orange pekoe blend. I will experiment with others next.

Sweeten your tea while it’s warm. For this you want to use regular sugar. One tablespoon. From all of my research, all other forms of natural sweeteners will cause the kombucha to be bitter. The sugar is only food for the bacteria.

Add the bottle of kombucha to the  room temperature tea and cover. You want the cover to be thin enough so it can breath, yet keep out any bugs and what ever might be floating around the kitchen. Place it on the counter or in a cupboard.

Now you wait.

That’s it! I told you it was easy. My kombucha mother has been brewing for a few days now. The temperature of your house will determine just how long it takes for the mother to be ready. A thin layer will begin to form on the surface. This is the SCOBY. You are looking  for a layer about 1/4 inch thick. When you have achieved this, you’re mother is ready and you are ready to make kombucha! It could take a week. It could take 3.

I will give you an update when mine is ready.

Happy Brewing!

Live Well!
~S 

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You heard me! REGROW celery.

This is the best.  Don’t throw out the end of that celery. Grow a new one!!!

Just cut the end off – about 3-4 inches.

Place them in a bowl of water.
Yes! That is lettuce you see there. It works for lettuce too!

This is day 5. Look how much the lettuce has grown.
You only need 3-4 days but they will stay longer if you don’t have time to plant.
I also am trying this with leeks and scallions for the first time.
We’ll see how it goes.
In this photo they have been in water a day.

Then plant!
Don’t worry about the yucky looking edges. They will decompose.

Regrow your celery and lettuce!

Live Well!
~S

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In the world of sustainability we use what we have available to us. And lucky for me, not only do I live in an area where seaweed is readily available, but seaweed is also an amazing addition to any garden.

The Benefits of Seaweed –

  • Enriches the soil – Seaweed is full of beneficial trace minerals and hormones that stimulate plant growth. It’s a natural fertilizer.
  • Natural pest repellent – Slugs hate salt. They also hate sharp edged material because it cuts their soft bodies. Seaweed, being from the salty sea, contains a high salt content. When it dries, the edges get very sharp. It’s perfect for the strawberry patch! It also helps to repel other pests as well.
  • Acts as mulch –  A thick layer of seaweed can help keep soil moist by reducing evaporation and block the formation of weeds. It also does NOT contain weed seeds like many other mulch sources such as bark mulch.
  • Aerates and loosens the soil – When seaweed breaks down it helps to lighten soil, providing a better growing environment for plants.

Using Seaweed in Your Garden – 

  • When using as mulch be sure to apply it 5-6 inches deep. As it dries out, it will shrink, leaving gaps in coverage.
  • Because it dries and shrinks as it does, and breaks down well, it often needs to be reapplied one more time before the season is over.
  • Seaweed doesn’t have to be used as mulch. It can be added to compost or applied under your favorite mulch choice. You will still reap the benefits of fertilizing.
  • Don’t use kelp for mulch, except for between rows. They are hard to form around plants and leave things looking messy. They can be applied first, however, in between rows of things like beans and peas. Just lie them flat. You might need a knife or large scissors to cut them to meet the ends of the row.
  • As with all mulch, keep the area around the plant stem free.

Gathering Seaweed –

  • Be sure to gather with as little negative impact as possible. Only take about 1/3 or less from an area. Then move on to another.
  • Use buckets, small grocery bags and sacks when gathering. It’s wet stuff, so it gets heavy. And slippery. Place a large tub or bin in your car, if you aren’t using a truck bed, to keep from making a mess.
  • Be sure to have permission first. Although most have crews they pay to remove seaweed, it may be against the rules for you to gather it in some locations. Check with the local parks recreation first.
Disclaimer – Seaweed is not for the faint of heart. Things live in seaweed. Like bugs. I’ve found that when gathering, it’s best to pick it up from the very top with a small grip and shake it out. Be ready for critters!

What Makes Seaweed So Great –

  • It regrows rapidly, making it one of the best, most sustainable fertilizers available.
  • It can also be used as chicken feed. Just put it in a burlap sack, place it in the farmyard and for the next few days you can turn it over to find lots of little bugs and critters for the chickens to feast on!
  • Best of all… it’s FREE!

Then there is Kelp Tea

You can make a fabulous fertilizing “tea” from kelp. This works great if you can’t gather large amounts and just want the benefit of the fertilizing qualities of seaweed. Just place it in a large glass container with a lid. You could use a solid bucket, but glass is better. Leave it to sit for just a couple days in the sun. Use the liquid to spray directly on plants or apply to the soil. Again, it’s a great fertilizer and pest repellent.

There is a high salt content in seaweed, of course, so when using as fertilizer or using large quantities you may want to rinse some of the salt off prior to use. Just lay it flat in a driveway and spray it with a hose.

Disclaimer II – Seaweed is not always the prettiest form of mulch. Personally, I like it for some of my gardens but not all. I especially like it in the strawberry patch. Otherwise, I prefer to add it to the compost piles and using it as a tea. For gardens where you will be kneeling often to work, consider another form. It gets very sharp which can make working in the garden a bit uncomfortable. You can see in the photo above how I limit it’s use. I will use something else, like buckwheat hulls, in the rest of the herb garden. I do need to go back for more though.


Have you used seaweed in your garden? Will you now?

Live Well!
~S

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I am fairly well versed in wild New England Edibles. I love to spend time, basket slung over my arm wandering the woods, fields and riverbanks of New Hampshire foraging for greens and berries and the like.

There is something inspiring, comforting and even exciting about making a meal from things found. Last year, while the Mister and Macala were fishing, I gathered berries. I made a lovely black raspberry crostada. Many Summer nights we enjoyed salads of wild greens found in my travels.

My thirty six years, though, have not been sufficient to leave me anywhere near an expert in such things.  Perhaps under other circumstances. Perhaps were we in a time when survival meant being so. Perhaps, no, certainly, then I would be schooled by a ten year old in the matter of wild edibles.

But I press on! I am determined to learn more.

So what will be next? 

I’m spending some time with my favorite guide this lovely, warm Spring afternoon in the Shire to pick.

My feeling, pick something and learn as much as you can about it before moving on to anything else.

I wonder what it will be this Spring? 

I’ll let you know as soon as I choose.

Live Well!
~S

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