Friday, February 27, 2009

Lenten Foods & Book Give Away

With the beginning the lenten season upon us I thought perhaps I'd write this week a few recipes down that I enjoy preparing for our family . I love lent for this reason ,as well as I said lent is so much better then new years resolutions for us because we are given the time and opportunity to make healthy choices at a reasonable rate of time ;-) . I think lent is so good for us because it promotes us to perhaps take with us and carry on in healthy lifestyle habits and choices. For when we make these choices we are in turn more able to be in tune with Him and be open to the Holy Spirit in our lives .
We have quite a few good old stand bys for cookbooks along with family recipes etc. When we joined the church 9 yrs ago we began practicing lenten activities and practices while in RCIA/C formation . We were very blessed to be within a large phippino community and of course within this great culture comes great food ! I realized as well how our ways of eating the best we could organically and naturally helped us ease into the lenten season with not to much struggle ;-)
The tile at the top ,The New York Times Natural Foods Cookbook is one of my favs as my dear friend Sunshine gave it to me so many yrs ago . I have used the pizza dough recipe and the lentil stew is our fav .Of course date nut bread is wonderful as well . It was perfect for me being a new homemaker I hadn't clue of how to cook much aside from eggs and toast ;-) . I have been fortunate to have found not one but two copies of this at the local secondhand ! So I am hoping to have a draw for the end of lent to give the second copy to a wonderful home where it may also be enjoyed . So if you like e-mail me or write a comment if you like and I will enter your name in a pot ( appropriate for cookbook draw I do believe ) . Be low I will add a few lenetn recipes I hope you may enjoy . Much Love

Lentil & Barley Stew ~ Natural Foods Cookbook

1/4c butter ( I like to use olive oil )
1/3c chopped onion
1/2c chopped celery
2 1/2c choped fresh tomatoes or canned
2c water
1/2c dried lentils picked over & washed ( I prefer green lentils )
1/3c barley ( I also have used brown rice )
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/8 rosemary
1/3c shredded carrot ( I prefer more carrot then this )
you may also add sliced peppers at the end and more spices to your taste I love garlic so add lots in with the onion while saute

1. In large saucepan melt butter or heat oil saute onion until tender then add celery and saute 5min more
2. add remaining ingredients except the carrots, bring to boil cover and simmer gently for 25min stirring occasionally . I have had to cook it longer depending on the barley or rice being tender .
3. add the carrots and cook 5 min longer .

This stew is excellent like any soup the next day as the flavours settle . Serve with a good yummy whole grain bread with butter

Lentil Loaf ~ The No Fad Good Food $5 a Week Cookbook

heat to boiling
4c water
add 1c dry split lentils
simmer 30 min until tender. Drain. Mash.
Grease loaf pan.
Heat in heavy pan
2T oil
add and saute until tender
1 sliced onion
1 diced tomatoe
1diced apple
1 clove minced garlic
add to lentils
stir in
1tsp salt
1/8 tsp thyme
1/2 c milk
1 beaten egg
1c bread crumbs
spoon mixture into loaf pan.
1/2c bread crumbs
1T parmesan cheese
sprinkle over loaf . Bake 1 hr in moderate oven. Serve hot with cheese sause or yogurt

Pizza Dough from NYTNFCB
1 1/2 tsp dry yeast
1/2c lukewarm water
1 1/2c unbleached flour or combo whole wheat, rye, barley etc.
1 T oil ( I prefer olive )
optional 1tsp molasses or brown sugar disolved in the lukewarm water ( I do this but it is not part of the recipe )

Disolve yeast in warm water . Stir in flour and oil ( for something really yummy you can add a few T of peanut butter , this is a trick an old friend taught us yrs ago ) Knead the dough on a lightly floured board until smooth and satiny ( if you want tips on kneading bread doughs just e-mail me ) , about 3 min. Place dough in clean greased bowl , turn over to greased side up. Cover and let rise in a warm place ( I use an oven with light on or top of our old radiators ) until double in bulk , about 40 min. preheat oven to 400degrees . spread dough over well oiled 12in-14in pizza pan or cookie sheet. 9 a tip to spreading dough is turn it over once after you begin spreading not sure why but this works well . this recipe calls for you to bake crust 8-10 min before placing sauce or toppings on . I don't do this but rather just cook the pizza 20min at 400. However if following recipe . Cook crust 8-10min then remove and add toppings . Cook another 5-10 min .

Pizza Sauce our own recipe .
Olive oil to cover bottom of heavy skillet
1 can tomatoe paste
1 small onion chopped
2-3 cloves chopped garlic
1 tsp dried onion flakes
mixture of your fav sesaoning herbs I use fresh parsley & basil about a Tablespoon of each or more ;-)
black pepper to taste
1 T brown sugar
1c diced tomatoes in juice or 1/2c water
heat olive oil in skillet , add onion and garlic . saute till onion is tender . then add onion flakes , herbs and pepper . saute just till these are coated nicely with oil so flavours will have infused in oil . now add tomatoe paste . stir into oil mixture as much as possible . cook a few minutes. then add either tomatoes or water . If you like sauce really tomatoy then add tomatoes ;-) stir and let simmer about 10 min until water evaporates a bit and you have a nice thick sauce left. Stir in brown sugar at last minute . put on pizza crust as much as you like . top with fav toppings and bake ;-)

Yummy Veggie Dip
1c sour cream
1/4 c mayo
1/3 c yogurt optional
1/2tsp garlic granules ( not garlic salt )
2tsp dried onion flakes
1 tsp dry dill or 1T chopped fresh ( fresh is best )
pinch salt
mixed vegies for dipping

stir sour cream , mayo & yogurt so well blended . Chop dill if needed , crush onion flakes add with garlic granules to sour cream mixture . add salt . dip is best if allowed to sit in fridge for at least an hr if not leave over night for best results but I'll warn you kids love it it is hard to tuck it away wihtout them doing a finger dip first ;-)

Done eggs ( this is named after my dear friend Patrice Done who invented the recipe )

eggs for frying
left over rice from last nights supper
seasonsings like soy sauce , mrs. dash, spike etc.
heat fry pan , melt butter , place a layer of rice on melted butter serving size you could eat . let rice cook in butter about 3 min so bottom will get crispy . Then sprinkle any seasonings you like onto the rice . crack one , two or even three egs on top of rice . salt and pepper to taste . Cover egs and rice . cook until eggs are done to your liking . We prefer runny centers ;-) if you like you can add a little bit of water under the lid . This is my secret to making sunny side eggs without flipping ;-) this steams the eggs a bit . when ready serve on plate .It is so so good ! It is nice with fresh parsley or cilantro on top too . enjoy

Momma's Mango shrimp

1-2lbs raw shrimp
1 small onion chopped
fresh cilantro
2-3 mangos cut in bite sized pieces
1 lime
cook shrimp and let cool . place in bowl , add chopped onion fresh cilantro , and mango , squeeze lime juice on top . Mix . let sit for 1 hr room temp or place in fridge if you prefer cold . Place on bed of freshly cooked rice . This is so good

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Fasting a Spiritual Cleansing

I'm sorry I haven't been on in a few days I've been battling a flue bug which is still hanging around I must say . I enjoy fasting very much .More so in summer months then winter though .I find summer the kids are out and about more so I tend to have more liesure time to not exert myself to much as well . I never gave much to fasting while raising or nursing children .As well I always linked fasting to giving up food and this is something I don't have trouble doing with any way .I think my childhood name of little sparrow may have been fitting as I tend to eat like a sparrow anyway ;-) However as I grew as an adult on my spiritual walk I see fasting in the cleansing & spiritual sence .Physically when we fast and cleanse our bodies we are going to be more open in our communication with Him .We will i n turn be willing to cleanse ourselves of our unneeded sin , wants etc. Fasting is a great way to the sacrament of reconcilliation .
I don't tend to fast during lent as I have my specific times already I am called to fasting . We keep from treats and limit computer time but I like to focus more on the working on and owning of stuff .Teaching about sin , reconcilliation and forgiveness to be reborn to have that ultimate conversion . I don't like new yrs resolutions I prefer lent ;-)
I was frist thinking of fasting truely going without food, water etc. when I came to the DJM . I knew I was being led to this however the only fast I knew of was the one my spiritual director attends each yr. it is 3 days in the bush and very isoltaed . I was still nursing and it still is not an option for me . Then I felt the call again for a spiritual fast two yrs ago. I started with bread and water fasting as I am still not in the position to fast on nothing . For me fasting is now a big part of my prayer life & work in intercession . A dear friend loaned me a book on fasting titled Fasting for Spiritual Break Through . It is a wonderful book to get a good idea of what type of fasting and where you feel He is leading you regarding your fast. I began with the Disciples fast as I was finsihing up my formation in discipleship .It seemed appropriate .
As with anything I want to remind people always, always if you feel led to something or have an ailment etc. begin with prayer please . Also regarding fasting I feel very strongly this is an intimate time for us in our own specific relationship with Him . We are not to mimic anyone elses fast .We are all unique individuals made in His own image ;-) so every single person's fast will be thier own . Also for this very intimate purpose we are not to go on and on telling others we are fasting or going to fast . I almost always only speak of my fast afterwards not before . However we are also not called to be neglectful of our own health & welfare ;-) I always inform my family when I will be entering into and preparing to fast . This is just being responsible for as I say our own helath but also if we are living with others how can they be expected to have any type of reverance around us if they are unaware . My example is last yr while fasting at the cottage I could not go off running down the beach in the hot sun with the kids .They were aware of my fasting so we would save any beaching for the cool of the evening when I could walk . During the day they swam while I lay in the shade and read etc.
The other thing with fasting is , purpose ? Is it just to be showy and pitiful; to appear holier then others ? we are all capable of that ;-) however this is not the true purpose His purpose for leading us to fasting .. I feel very called for physical cleansing myself . I have a weak immune system from addictions in my youth and from being covered in malathion by a spray truck . Also on a spiritual level in work laying of hands etc. It is good to cleanse ourselves physically as well as spiritually. So for my body personally this is a purpose .I think most of us can identify with this having a good cleansing . The other purpose is that relationship I mentioned .To be able to be open to and recieve the grace of union ( many more graces will follow once we receive union ) . To be one with our Creator will then open us up to recieve more in order go on being , just being who we are called to be ;-) in our everyday relationships and work .
So how do I fast ? I can only speak of my own fasting . I also personally want to mention I don't really look at surrender and giving up as fasting because to give up that which was not good for us in the first place .well we should really be trying never to retrun to that which was harmful in the beginning . So giving up smoking is not fasting in my own personal opinion ;-)
Well how do I fast . As I said I began with bread and water . As I grow and keep praying more is led to me .That is how we work is it not ;-) Forever open , changing , learning = growth .
Thru prayer I felt led to a fast I call the Trinity Fast . Simple as always . a 3 day fast I can handle being a wife , mother & granny . I because of my specific prayer time choose this usually 3 days before the fullmoon . I'm up anyway praying the rosary so why not make this my fasting time as well . So I'm sure you've guessed it I make and dedicate each day to each person of the Holy Trinity . 3 days = Father , Son & Holy Spirit . I tend to try and make this time a focus not on what I want but where , what and how are each Person of the Trinity guiding me in my own personal relationship . I also offer up prayers for those whom I feel He has been asking me to intercede for . That is it . I will tell you on the 3rd day I am always cleansed and often a very special gift is given be it a special walk on the beach or a night under the moon , an eagle feather given etc.
Now as I mentioned I started off on bread and water .However , I personally am not a bread eater .I tend to not get along with levened yeasty breads . So for me this is not a good option for fasting . This is what I mean by our own personal fast and growth . I began my fasts with junky white french bread and bottled water . So what are my options . For me I began to look at teas I could drink to help in my cleansing . So like I said I prayed .I prayed for each day of my fast not just the whole thing . So for the 1st day I was led to parsley & corriander . I also may add thistle to this but not always as it is used only if one is really toxic. For my 2nd day with Him the Son I almost always go with water clear and pure . I try to just boil my own tap water as I truely do not wish to purchase bottles. On the 3rd day I go with white tea as I am with the Holy Spirit .
As far as bread goes I personally now like to stay away from the wheat flower thing as best I can .If I do I go with a pita or pratha type bread using whole wheat . I also like a very dark rye bread at times but my favorite choice and seems best on my body are rice cakes & crakers . Now no this does not mean you can choose dill pickle rice crackers lol . However the purpose of my fast is to be good to my body to treat it like the temple it is ;-) so rice is the ingrediant best for my body who He created me to be ;-) As I said He will guide you to your own personal way .
The next thing is I think it good to mention as well is our body the temple . I also bath much using herbs , trees, flowers etc. Now during my everyday prayers I will do this as well as oil baths for my skin conditions . However for my fasting I will bath specifically in plants etc. I am led to use . I almost always am called to use juniper in the beginning as it is a detox treeshrub . I often use birch and willow as well as these are specific to female issues as well willow is great for my arthritus . Lately I feel called to try comfrey thanks to Anne ;-) I also like to on the days of my fast to use the 3 sacramentals Holy Salt , Holy Water , Holy Oil . Salt for Purification , Water for Blessing , Oil to Protect .
When breaking a fast remember to offer your body that which is good for it ;-) Do not go right back into eating pie , coffee & icecream . My personal fav is mango , shrimp & chopped onion with lots of lime juice and cilantro ;-)
That is about it once again remember begin with Him , share with your partner , spiritual director and most of all be open to where and how He leads you ;-) I'm hoping to post some recipes for the lenten season . We do not go totally without meat and we also have a vegaterion here in the house so I should be able to come up with a bit of a mix to share . Most of all I hope you all have a great lenten season full of much work & change ~ Amen

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Yummy Crunchy Granola

This is something my dh just loves is granola , that and hot pork sandwiches lol . I first had granola as a child .My mother took us to a restaraunt in the big city one yr to buy a glass of goat milk something she missed from her childhood . This restaraunt was run by a wonderful woman and mother of 5 Caroline ackerman . My Mother then purchased Caroline's new book as well The No Fad Good Food $5 a Week Cookbook . Yes this is the book my mother made granola from ! I later in life would have Caroline dd Sunshine become one of my dearest friends and my mother and Caroline also would become close friends .How our world is small . I also later on when joining the food co-op Caroline started would become the prime granola maker and herb bagger . When I make granola you start with your basic dry ingredients and then really you may add any dried fruits and flavourings you like . If you do not like crunchy bits in your granola then do not add any whole wheat flour for it is this mixed with the honey and butter that make the crunch happen ;-) Also the biggest tip I can offer is do not add any fruit or nuts in until your last two stirrings or they will end up possibly burnt and rock hard .

I have to say I am not a follow a recipe person unless starting off new to a certain food .Alwas always follow directions then after yrs of making you will have your very own versions . I personally love orange and cranberry in my granola while my dh loves the tdeaitional almond and raisens added . Also dates and cashews make it real yummy as well .

preheat oven to 300 or 250 if you have an extra hot oven granola burns very easily so slow cooking and patience are the key

I basically start off with a huge bowl of old fashioned oats then add any dry ingredients you like . for my big bowl I use two cups of whole wheat flour . I then add unsweetened coconut , sesame seeds , any brans or wheat germ etc. you may add in any spices you like at this point .If you add dried apples cinnamon is nice . I like nutmeg for almond and aprciot .Mix them all very well together.

I then chop up any fruit or nuts I may be adding to the mix so items will be ready to add . I then on the stove melt my butter or margerine with honey or brown sugar . At the co-op they used canola oil but I truely do not like the oil version myself . I once again use about 1 cup butter for my big bowl of oats . once melted stir in any flavouring of vanillia or almond extract .I have even added 1/4 cup orange juice to the mix along with grated orange rind .

Add your melted mixture to your dry mixture . Stir very well . if you have added whole wheat flour you will notice nice clumps form . I keep these in clumps and as they bake they harden to form yummy crunchy clusters .

Once mixed , place on cookies sheets not to thck or it will take forever to cook . spread evely . Place in oven . Now the cooking & turning are the secret . So place in oven .The first cook you can usually get away with a 7-10 minute cooking time . remove and stir . place in oven again . Cook again 5 min. remove and turn .If it is looking golden then add your fruit and nuts . Place in oven again and cook 5min .remove & turn place in oven another 5 min . remove and place in large bowl or big roater or pail . Do this with all your granola until all is done . Absolutely do not bag this or place in containers until it has fully cooled or moister will form and it will go bad . Seve on top of yogurts or eat as a snack or with milk . Enjoy !

Yes I make my own vanilla .Vodka has proven the best alcohol to use thus far . I purchase the most soft fresh vanilla beans from my dear friend Sarah's Lantino grocery store

Thursday, February 12, 2009

kitchen makings , inspiration

This is my kitchen where I do most of my prep work , drying etc. I also do use my back porch and clothsline at times ;-) Our kitchen had a major plumbing situation last yr so we had to haul all the cuboards out , rip all the ceiling and slowly I have been ripping the rest of the drywall off bit by bit . I am really looking for ideas on my sink area .This is my biggest uggly area right now . I'd love to just rip it out and make it smaller and have wooden shelves along one side right up the wall . It is my only countertop at all but so small I cannot cut on it anyway . These old kitchens really were like walk thrus .I have no idea how the women worked in them ! I'd love a wodden island somehow but once again space . Of course the biggest dilema is always money . Our ds works at the lumber store so I can get free scrap wood for shlves etc. For now I make due . I also posted the little pot and can I mentioned in my last post . Just place 1-3 tealight candles in the bottom and place your oil and herbs in the bowl heat it up to infuse and use for hair oil bath etc. I know the broom totally makes the kitchen look witchy dosen't it lol .My dh said to me one day " you have to bring straw brooms in they go rotten outside" Later in the day I walked in my kitchen and saw it standing there upside down lol .It fits perfect and adds to the space quite well I think ;-) If you have any kitchen reno tips on the budget please feel free to add your inspiration .

Monday, February 9, 2009

The Herbal Way ( for the lay ) ;-)

Lately I've been in a winter funk kerplunked is more like it lol . I started this blog awhile back but just did not have the flame to post anything . Then I visited Anne's blog , she has a great call and love of herbs . She also had posted the cutest little spice/herb drawers . You can locate these on ebay .They are just adorable ! I then recieved an e-mail this morning from someone who had visited our blog and I thiers Most of all I felt very much at peace today after reading His word today .In regards to creation , life , the many splendid gifts He has created and given .
My husband and I have always been open to natural remedies , eating living and have in our adults lives a good 25 yrs experience be it using white flower oil for congestion to sniffing garlic water for a sinus infection . I believe it was lobelia that help me not miscarry our second child . Cramp bark really does work for terrible cramps and goldenseal healed my uterus of a nasty infection .
I love herbs and thier many different uses and meanings . I also love that as we age we realize how little we know and how an intimate relationship with just a few herbs our Creator wishes us to be and use . My favorite herb right now is rosemary . This herb as a culinary is my fav on lamb or mixed with parlsey and garlic on roasted potatoes . I use this herb alos in an olive oil hair rub for my hair . I suffer much from dry skin as well as ecsema during the winter months . Oilive oil was one of the only oils I can use on my ecsema . Normally during prenancy or for just a regular oil bath I always use coconut oil .However coconut oil will make my ecsema flare up something awful . I try at least once per month to do my hair . I have a nice little copper bottom bowl I use to heat up my oil .I could have bought the matching stand from the east indian store but it is terribly expensive .So I just took an old canned tomatoe can and punched holes all round the bottom of the can so candles can get air . I then place 1-3 tealights in the bottom .I place my little bowl on top and simmer my oil and which ever herbs , flowers I like . Once left to infuse I then let it cool and strain . I coat my hair while in the tub this way my whole body will also benefit from the oil . Scent is also very spiritually uplifting so one can make a whole event out of the experience ;-) I like to light candles around the tub and I even now have my own special towels I found at the MCC thrift ;-)
Lately my lastest fav book to read is by Jeanne Rose Herbal Body Book . I also really have enjoyed her Herbs and Things . I truely believe it is important to include our children in regards to our herbal lore . Really my knowledge of herbs or rather just the use of all natural plant life in our own daily life began as an infant . It just comes naturally to pick off wild roses and eat them or boil up some pigweed for dinner because this is what was offered to me as a child . I found this nice book last year to use along with the children . I really liked the ginger candy although it was kind of gooey ;-) .
I am also one who believes very strongly that if we are working well with Him and truely intune with our bodies spiritually , physically etc. He lets us know what to do be it to use an herb , seek out the proper person to help us or find the right book ;-) Even the right saint for a certain ailment ;-) So if a person has a question regarding health etc. and wishes to perhaps go the herbal route I always suggest prayer first . Go to Him and ask .Sometimes we just forget .
I 'm hoping to get some book lists up and will try and post our yummy easy granola recipe as well .

Sunday, February 8, 2009

prayers big time !

Well it is happening 1 We are hoping to put in an offer on rocky forest . Please please pray for us on this .ST.Joseph , Blessed Kateri & ST.Therese pray for us ~ Amen
ps. I'm hoping to do a bit of a write up on herbs this week and list some fav books of ours .
Bob , Rox & a bunch of wacky kids ;-)

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Lay Way ~ The Natural Way

Yes this is our new natural lay catholic blog ! Welcome . I've no idea how far we'll go with this blog .Certainly Many a fine photo will be shared ;-) We are great lovers of nature , homebirth , trying the first source for our many ailments as humans . We very much believe in preservation & conservation . In our family we have lovers of His nature from desert to animals to those of us who love to eat flowers and grow herbs . We strongly believe He gave us this planet and created the trees , plants animals before us for a reason His reason to keep us alive
;-) the gift of life . We as humans , what else is new are quite capable of destroying our gifts be it disrespecting other humans or His gift of all things natural . We also do not believe in guilt tripping others into being green . We have all been weak at times , try our best to get by and what is important is if we've made mistakes we acknowldge them and move on to do better ;-)
I always used cloth diapers and then well baby # 6 came along while I was in my late 30's . Lack of energy and a house full of teenagers I turned to disposable diapers . So like I said we try our best . I hope to post remedies that have helped us along the way be it chopped garlic for sinuses or red raspberry for a fever . Books & websites we find helpful and usful . I will say right now many will not be catholic we ask you have an open mind but if something bothers you you can e-mail us or choose to not visit us .We are just here to share the knowledge we have and hopefully others will begin to share in return ;-) I personally use alot of my tre , herbs , flowers in my intercession and love books on native american healing and mexican curanderas who are the MX version of intercessor . I will share knwoldge of trees herbs etc. on a spiritual basis as well . There is nothing like fresh juniper to clear your mind and connect us with the Holy Spirit ;-) or rose petals and lavender to lead us to Our Lady . I am also trying on a local level to sell our natural products when I have time to work on them ;-) bath salts, teas ,facial masks, insence , meditation pouches , necklaces , prayer sticks , and just plain dried items for your own personal use . We've always done this but turns out there is a professional title ( I'm not crazy on titles or labels myeslf ) wildcrafting . For now I'll try and get some book lists up and post more beautiful pictures . Enjoy ~ Shine On