Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Kale Chips

Kale has been a new discovery for me.  I never used to like it, but then I'd never really given it a chance.  It's like the Green Eggs and Ham story.  I would not eat it with a fox or in a box or with a mouse or in a house.  I would not eat it anywhere.  And then I tried it.

A few weeks ago a group of friends and I started up a girls craft night that we hold every two weeks at one of our homes.  We all get to leave our kids at home and bring over whatever crafty thing we're working on.  We sit and chat and enjoy everyone's company and talk about the fun crafts that are happening or the crappy things that are going on at work or the awesome things our kids are doing.  It's so much fun.

Last week we went to the home of our dining hall manager's wife.  Her husband is an amazing chef and he offered to make a little snack for our group.  He made a fruit, cheese and cracker platter, but it was simply elegant.  The fruit was sliced into perfect little 1/8" slices arranged about a wooden board.  There were three different kinds of cheeses, none of which you could find in a regular grocery store.  Small cups were placed around the serving board and were full of dried fruits spilling gracefully out over the edges.  The crackers were definitely not made by Nabisco.

The most surprising thing for me was the kale chips.  What???  Kale chips?  I had to ask which of the crackers was the one with the kale.  None of them.  It was the bowl of perfectly crisped, lightly salted bits of kale sitting in a bowl to the side.  They were positively addicting.  I couldn't stop eating them.  I thought about them for days afterward.  I asked for the recipe and will share it with you now because you have got to try this.  If you don't try another recipe from this blog, you must try this one.

These things are like potato chips.  You know, you just can't stop at one chip?  I ate the entire cookie-sheet-pan full of kale by myself.  It was so good that I felt guilty after doing so.  But then I reminded myself that this was kale that I just devoured.  And then I didn't feel so bad.  But, I didn't share them.  I am a bad person.  Be naughty with me.  Make these.  Eat the whole bowl all by yourself.  You will thank me.

Kale Chips
1 head kale, washed and thoroughly dried
2 tablespoons olive oil
Sea salt, for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F.

Remove the ribs from the kale and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces. Toss with olive oil and salt.  Lay on a baking sheet  and bake until crisp, turning the leaves halfway through, about 20 minutes. Serve as finger food.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Herbs and Spice and Everything Nice!

Guess who the proud owner of this herb and spice rack is to your left? . . . . ME! I am so happy to have it. I love it! Mom actually set me up with all these containers and labels. She is so awesome! I got the shelving at a garage sale for a couple dollars and now walla! I love it and use it everyday! I used to wonder how people could use so many different herbs and spices. How did they know how and when to use them? Well, I am still learning, but, a lot of it comes from just trying them out over time. I'd follow a recipe and try a new one out. You get used to a flavor and then you can match it with other flavors. It can be really fun for me and more over when the herbs or spices you are using in a culinary fashion have medicinal action as well, it's delightful to learn! We have the power with in us and around us to create, heal, and enjoy life. This week I challenge us all to try out some herbs and/or spices. Learn about their characteristics and how to use them. This is a great time to plant some too! I look forward to what we all have to share! Have a great week! P.S. Sorry for the funky placement of the pictures. They were not cooperating, so I gave up trying.  You get the idea.

Clove Oil & Vinegar

I'm afraid my research is only personal on this, but perhaps it's worthy of sharing. Without health insurance and not much confidence in the medical profession anyway, I tend to reach for inspiration for health remedies. A few years ago I was having some skin cancer spots on my face and knew I had to do something. I had been to a dermatologist years before, but $500. was currently out of my range.
I can't even remember what prompted me to use these items, but use them I did and I continue to do so.
Apple Cider Vinegar & Clove Oil
Initially, I used a cotton ball and rubbed the affected area with apple cider vinegar. Then with a q-tip I dabbed on some clove oil, rubbing it in a bit, also. I did this two or three times a day for about two weeks. Then I got a little frightened because the spots were getting more red and scabby, so I stopped with the clove oil and continued with the vinegar. (What's interesting is that the healthy skin around the lesions did not get red and scabby, just the original sores.) My face didn't get worse, in fact it started healing quite quickly. In about a week my face was totally healed with no trace of the original lesions and no scarring. As I reflected on my experience, I realized that the process I went through was similar to what the dermatologist had done a few years earlier. That cream they give you to put on your face that turns the skin cancers into red scabby spots all over your face--same experience, only not as intense, and I felt in control.
I use apple cider vinegar as an astringent several times a week now--it makes a PH level that cancer doesn't like. And when I feel I need it, I do the clove oil treatment with more aggression.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Castor Oil Cures with a little Lavender

Castor Oil
Castor oil comes from a castor bean plant that is grown mostly in the Mediterranean, Africa, and India. The oil comes from the seed of the plant, which is called the bean, but is actually the seed. If the seed is eaten it is very poisonous. However, if the seed is cold pressed, it is not toxic to the body. It is very versatile in its uses. You may see it in the ingredients in your soaps, shampoos, mechanical products, foods. It has been used for a variety of ailments as well. I first heard about it when I was pregnant with my first child. Someone told me if I wanted to go into labor, to drink castor oil. Ok, well, I tried. But, it was so thick I had a hard time swallowing. When taken internally, it stimulates the bowels to contract and thus irritates the uterus as well. It gets things movin'.  A few years ago,  I thought I had breast cancer. I had a lump and I went to a doctor to have an exam. They didn't help me much. They didn't even feel it to see what I was talking about. They said unless it is oozing, I am probably ok. Well, that didn't help me feel at peace. Especially for a $70 bill to hear that counsel! So, I called David Christopher, a Master Herbalist in my area and overseer of the School of Natural Healing where I attend. He said to put castor oil on the affected area with a damp cloth over that, and then a piece of plastic over that. Then he said to get a hot pack and a cold pack. Put the hot pack on for 12 min. and then the cold for 4 min. Back and forth I did that for 2 hours while I watched a movie to entertain myself. I did that for only 2 nights and I could tell that the lump was going away. It did completely. I do not believe I had cancer. I believe I had some congestion built up there that needed help moving along. Castor oil does just that. It goes into the blood stream and helps to remove mucous and toxins from the inner body. I have used castor oil with gall stones and stomach cramps as well. I had gall stones that felt horrible. It's like getting speared in the back to the front. Terrible. When I realized why I felt so bad, I took a drink of watered down apple cider vinegar and did another application of castor oil as I mentioned earlier. I did that for a while. I put it in the tub water while I bathed also. It helped to move things greatly, along with the vinegar and apple juice I drank. After 2 days, I was noticeably better. I have also used castor oil while I was doing a cleanse. I applied the oil externally over my liver and placed the damp cloth and plastic over the area and then did the hot and cold packs. I did that for 30 minutes and it helped. The liver is your detoxifier and when you are cleansing it gets over worked. So, this helps it along greatly.  I have heard of using castor oil as a  face cleanser to clogged pores. Rub the oil on the face and then follow with a hot, wet cloth. Hold it on for as long as you can, then re wet and repeat for 10 min.  Wash off the oil with soap when finished. I also found this on the internet about helping to prevent hair loss. I really believe in the ability castor oil has to create movement and cleansing to areas.

How Do You Use Castor Oil to Prevent Hair Loss?

Here are the common step-by-step techniques for using castor oil in hair loss:
  1. Using your fingertips, apply high quality castor oil to your roots and scalp.
  2. Make sure that you distribute the oil evenly on the scalp.
  3. Do your best to avoid the oil fro getting into your hair as its thick consistency may be hard to wash out.
  4. After applying it to your scalp, cover your hair with a plastic cap and wrap it in a towel.
  5. Let the oil stay in your hair for at least 15 to 20 minutes or allow it to set overnight.
  6. Wash it out with shampoo after to remove the castor oil.
  7. Do this once a week for 6-8 weeks to see the results.
Depending on your preference, you can also mix the oil with other oils (i.e. grape seed) to eliminate the super-thick consistency and unpleasant scent of castor oil.
Lavender Oil
Last I wanted to share my new favorite! Lavender oil! I got this bottle from a race I ran last year for Lavender Days in Nephi, Utah. Young Living has a lavender farm just 10 minutes from my house and I finally remembered to sign up for their run! As a gift to the runners, we received oil and a shirt, etc. It was awesome! Now I use it everyday as my perfume and mood enhancer. I place it on my shoulders and wrists. I have received so many compliments for how soothing and lovely it smells. It has really been a good switch for me and my mood. Lavender oil is also a great healer. It is great put topically on bruises! I also put it in my bath water or in my oils to  moisturize my body. I looooove my lavender! In fact, you could add lavender to all the uses I just explained with the castor oil. A few drops with your castor oil and you have a lovely smelling medicine! I use fresh lavender as a tea as well. With a little lemon and honey, now that is really lovely! Mmmmmm!

Coconut Oil

One of my friends gave me this for a birthday present and a list of 52 uses for coconut oil, and an article on "oil pulling" (which I thought was going to be something like taffy pulling....boy was I wrong!).  Anyway, first thing I did was rub some on my hands, which felt really good.  Then I sat down and read all about coconut oil.  (just google "oil pulling coconut oil", because there is just too much information for me to write about) It all made good sense to me, I was not about to try it, but it still made sense. I wanted to see John's reaction, which surprised me!  He said he was gonna try it!!  The next day I saw my friend and told her how much I loved the stuff and that John said he was going to try oil pulling.  She told me that she has been doing it and that it made her hemorrhoids go away (then she apologized for sharing too much information! ha ha, ya gotta love her)  Not that I have hemorrhoids, but she was so excited about it that I felt like I wanted to try it.  So last night I gathered up my courage and decided to try it.  And I have to's not bad!  In fact I'm doing it again tonight (right now in fact).  I'm gonna give it a week and see if anything is miraculously cured!  I'll let you all know how it goes.
Now, I want you all to know I purposefully left out all the details so that those of you who do not know what oil pulling is will have to look it up, otherwise I would be here typing all night.  The article I read was "Oil Pulling for a Brighter Smile and Better Health" by Bruce Fife.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

All Natural Essental Oil Bug Spray and All Natural Mold Killer/Prevention

We have so many bugs in Kansas that I needed something to keep the bugs away from my kids that was not packed full of chemicals. Essential oils were the key for me. This may initially cost a bit but over time this makes a ton of bug spray. If you are concerned about cost you can always start with just Witch Hazel and Citronella just keep the ratios about 10-25 drops essential oil to 2 tablespoons of witch hazel. Be creative with this its your own bug spray so you want to enjoy the smell. Other oils that deter bugs are: Lavender, Eucalyptus (can be hard on the skin though), Lemon, Thyme, Pennyroyal, Geranium, and Catnip (great for mosquitoes).

1 brown glass sprayer-essential oils keep better in a brown glass. $1.50

1/2 cup Witch Hazel-is soothing to the skin especially insect bites. $1.44

35 drops Citronella-is know for keeping bugs away. $4.00
15 drops Lemon Grass- deters mosquitoes. $11.55
15 drops Cinnamon Leaf- deters mosquitoes. $7.55
15 drops Cedarwood-deters most bugs. $9.00
15 drops Rose- deters ticks. $15.00

Mold Killer/Prevention
Before you use this mix make sure to clean all mold, personally I use bleach (make sure to wait 24 hours to spray after bleaching). The thing about bleach is after a day or so it will not do anything to keep away mold that's where the essential oils come in they will actually continue to work over time. My experience with this mix is about 1 year of prevention. This is a base recipe you can adjust the amounts to smell good to you. Just keep in mind the 2 important oils are Cinnamon and Cloves be sure to keep these in fairly high amounts.

1 brown glass sprayer
1/2 cup white vinegar or witch hazel
35 drops Cinnamon Leaf-Stops mold in its tracks.
30 drops Clove oil-Highly anti fungal.
20 drops Rosemary
10 drops Lemon
10 drops Eucalyptus