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This is easy folks, and I know you all do it. Yeah, it takes some time, but how much more time do you need on facebook when you could be doing something really important. Seriously, it’s just like brushing your teeth–recycling materials, redirecting resources, re-purposing your undervalued stuff! Of course, up until this age of abundance, average people were always in this frame of reality.

Having a surplus of water will make you feel like a king AND save your local water supply

My Mom was recycling newspapers once a month in the 70’s. They stacked up along the garage walls along with magazines (not the Nat Geo however) Then were loaded into the station wagon & taken to a local department store parking lot waiting with a tractor trailer & crew. It’s no wonder it made sense to her–she lived through WWII; She took all old clothes to charities, had old furniture picked up by goodwill, composted, and probably more things like that than I know. But it made sense to me too because I can’t really comprehend how a landfill works. Can you? There must be a way to recycle something or perhaps we shouldn’t be using it.  Therein lies the reduce–don’t buy it or acquire it unless you really need it. And let’s get creative on how we reuse…here are a few more of mine:
-Get familiar with the local thrift shops and what they can use or resell.
-Give old crayons and art supplies to day care centers
-Give wearable clothes to any of the many charity stores
-Give old clothes only worthy of rags to AmVets
-Install rain barrels–not easy for car washing, but great for gardening & washing stuff outside
-See if you have a local bicycle recycle program for the kids bikes
-How about old sneakers–http://www.nikereuseashoe.com/ They have recycled over 25 million Pairs of sneakers of all brands!!
-Donate construction and household building equipment & tools to your local Habitat for Humanity store.
-Give unused office supplies to your favorite non-profit agency
-See if your local Animal shelter will take unused medical supplies–ours took saline solution and heparin shots left over from home care.

— What are your best ideas?

Here’s part of our daily simple set-up:

Many resources to reuse! And I didn't even mention the wine and beer bottles that get second and third lives!

This is a blog post in response to the Castle Ink Paperless Scholarship 2012. http://www.castleink.com

Elderberry Berries

Purple-black berries of the Elderberry, Sambucus nigra

When the kids were young I discovered that the Elderberry was one of the best immune boosts for their discerning taste buds.  Many products can be found on the natural foods store shelves under variations of the name Sambucus–which is the latin name for the bush, Elderberry. We tried a few and I could see that the costs would begin to make this habit a bit prohibitive.

I ordered some bulk dried Elderberry berries (flowers are available too for teas) which goes by the latin name of Sambucus nigra, and began making one of the two recipes that I will share with you.

As winter let us know it was on the way, with more time indoors and energy used up to stay warm, and of course, more kids showing up at school with sniffles, I would begin the boys on a round of Elderberry syrup that would last two weeks or so, til the bottle was used up, or we just plain forgot because we had had enough! Keep reading, get to the recipes…..

Gallons of golden and fruity Kombucha

I got a chuckle out of myself, being so trusting….”Mom, do you want a kombucha baby from one of my teachers?”…..”Yea, sure…find out how to make it too….”  Since when do you just make weird drinks from strange- looking gelatinous patties with no written instructions, let it sit out for a week or two or six and then just drink it?  And give it to your kids?

Well it’s not the first time… Keep reading about my kitchen adventures

Ships coming to the new world would take on barrels, I mean barrels, of freshly put up fermenting cabbage that would last them far into the voyage and provide sailors and passengers with vital Vitamin C, which is produced by the resident bacteria living in anaerobic conditions.  The Chinese were practicing fermentation of vegetables thousands of years ago, the Romans were taking it on board to the Middle East, and of course, Europeans caught on to sauerkraut likely from the far east and it became a staple in their diet.

Why? This alchemical food improves digestion by introducing probiotics into your gut, increases bioavailability of nutrients from the cabbage, creates Vitamin C and other B vitamins, and the list goes on. Did I mention fiber? How about simply being a bit acidic and stimulating to the digestion.  Many people know of KimChi, which is the Korean version of this kraut, made with a variety of vegetables flavors.  Koreans have it on their table for most meals. Do you see why?

Green Cabbage is elegant & simple

The bacteria that create the fermentation of sauerkraut are also remarkable for not allowing pathogenic bacteria to survive in the anaerobic environment of the jars, vats and barrels. Reread that sentence, because this bully type of behavior is exactly why you want these probiotics in your gut! keep reading…..

I don't think I could live well without wine

Hasn’t shopping for wine become a lot more interesting, dare I say, personal?  And what a great showplace for expression on the labels of wine. It’s a moment of reflection in the wine aisle at the supermarket…

“what artistic label expresses me best….. what animal reference on the label do I want to be associated with (loons, frogs, trees, creeks, dogs….are you kidding, have I been swooned by this?!)… is that in my price range….do I trust this is a decent year (what do I know? are you kidding?)…top shelf, middle shelf….I think I saw that at my friend’s house….I just want a delich table wine for myself….party wine for the masses….special guests….the sale prices are just great for wine these days!”

I do have a few favorites that I go back to over and over again–one is Bogle’s Cabernet Sauvingon, and 2001 was amazing. We had drought for several years and it was reflected in the grapes….wherever they were grown. And I kept looking for 2001 and drinking it until it couldn’t be found.  Never did put my hands on a whole case.  Keep reading about differences between vinters & producers

Once you get in the habit of this kitchen ritual, you will not turn back.  Homemade yogurt is very inexpensive compared to store bought and you will have the satisfaction of providing your family with the awesome benefits of

  • homemade food–with high love vibration
  • freshness  and ingredient control
  • a great supply of probiotics in the diet
  • valuable lesson in cultured food for the whole family

    Pouring Milk

    Pouring milk, cooled to 111 degrees F, into reusable containers

Keep reading……..

Hijacked Marinara–what do I mean?

This is our version of a polenta dinner–served as a creamy gruel, with a red sauce, dark green vegetable, and some type of pork sausage. Hits all the food groups and the tastebuds.

One of my quick meal concessions is using one of the delicious and inexpensive Red/Spaghetti/Marinara sauces that comes in a jar. Buy em on sale. Stock up. Add a little extra this or that depending on the meal.  But not today. The vegetable crisper was overflowing with almost-giving-up produce and I could just taste the chunky tomato sauce before it was made So I went searching, i.e. cleaning out the vege bin, namely: keep reading….

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