Megan Ryan’s Voice – I freakin’ hate eggplant. So does everyone else in our family. Today we celebrated the last eggplant we ever have to eat because I finally used the last bag from the freezer left over from our organic rabbit farm CSA membership. Woohooooooo! Par-tay! Here is the only recipe any of us could stand eating eggplant. Click Here for the original recipe I used and adapted. It’s actually pretty darn good, but if you’ll excuse me, I have to go tear it out of my recipe binder now.
Crock Pot Sausage, Eggplant, And Tomato Casserole
1 tablespoon coconut oil
one pound of sausage
1 Large White Onion, chopped
2 Garlic Cloves, crushed
2 Eggplant, peeled and chopped
3/4 teaspoon Chili Flakes
1 (14.5 ounces) can Diced Tomatoes
1 cup Chicken Stock
1/4 cup Flat-Leaf Parsley Leaves, chopped
1 tbsp. salt
1. Heat oil in large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Sautee eggplant until very tender.
2. Add sausage, onion, and garlic and sauté 2 to 3 minutes, turning occasionally until sausage is browned.
3. Dump it and everything else into the crockpot and cook on low 6-8 hours, or high power for 4 hours.
Megan Ryan’s Voice – Okay, I need a little encouragement right now. If you recall from this post, I have so much trouble growing plants that I can’t even cultivate weeds. Well, I took the plunge recently and planted some catnip (a weed), sage, italian lavender, and oregano (also a weed). Two months later and what is growing? Only the oregano. That’s a 25% success rate, folks. ~sigh~ Plus, it’s not much of a success when the ONE plant that is growing is a weed, and the other weed did not survive…didn’t even sprout! This past year I have planted FOUR weeds and only one of them grew. Can you guess what the fourth weed was? Dandelions! I. can’t. grow. dandelions.
Oh well, at least we can enjoy homegrown, organic oregano in our favorite dishes (Marcus’ famous pizza sauce!) as well as use it to relieve headaches, fever, earache, and even toothache! Click Here to read even more medicinal uses for the only weed I can grow.
Liam Marcus’ Voice – I. Think. It. Is. The. Sand. Yep, the sand. We live in a sandy area of the continental united States of America. Not just any sand, but construction sand. Something else is that it’s been raining like I can’t remember ever raining around here this summer. It’s been a bliss, but too much water can kill anyone, so I’ve heard.
Megan Ryan’s Voice – Wow it has been a busy two weeks! Not only was it our first and second week of homeschool being back in session, but then we upgraded Preschooler 4.12 to Kindergartener 5.0 on Saturday with a little party. He had a blast with his friends being silly, munching snacks, and blowing out candles. The candles on my first homemade, 100% organic birthday cake. It’s a feat I’m proud of and never thought I would (or could) accomplish if you asked me two years ago. I digress. It was so cool to watch him have so much fun. Thank you, Jesus for all of our children. Thank You for parties, and little friends, and big fun.
Liam Marcus’ Voice – Kindergartener 5.0 was in love. It is a remedy to being alone with a pair of old peeps like us, right Megan? The little rascal was distributing, “I love you” to everyone he met this weekend. Hey, at least it wasn’t, “Mami, Papi is that lady naked?” – this one is for another post. For now, let’s reminisce on the fact that this little rascal is incredibly outgoing, something I lack from time to time. Hey, I was, but I ain’t no more ‘cause peeps kept drilling my social-ness into the ground.
Last Monday was a great example of this little rascal’s outgoingness. We went to a nearby theme park and it so happened that the park was nearly ours to enjoy, but wait, no not really. We experienced a British invasion of sorts. We didn’t mind. It was like being over there, in England, without having to pay for an airfare to visit them. Well, the little guy went on the River Rapids Ride for the first time and it blasted him, but he enjoyed it so much he proclaimed it to every single Brit that came onboard the (five trips) rafts we occupied. He had a blast, and the people around him had a blast and appeared to enjoy the little guys’ comments, “We are going to get wet… again!” Sure enough. People got wet, and he told them, “See, I told you!” and they laughed.
Yes, a few times he said, “Papi, it was all right, but there were some ladies naked.” i.e. wearing skimpy clothing. Nevertheless, I think he will rise to the occasion again and again.
Liam Marcus’ Voice – Time sure has flown this year. I got it. I finally got it, the more children you have the faster time goes by. I’m glad I don’t feel like that in spirit or physically. I feel good because we eat organically safe foods, but more importantly, we try to keep the extra fat off our thighs and waists. Eating well is good, eating moderately is even better.
Imagine the amount of energy a food processors uses to process the food you put in it. In a way, your body is a food processor, but it is also an energy generator. Why then feed it stuff that would affect its efficiency? Well, I’ve found out that rice affects the efficiency of my body. It affects my energy level, and how much I can get done without yawning 10 times an hour – ugh! – so I’ve decided to skip the rice. Another thing I’ve found affects my body is non-organic apples and kiwi (organic or not), and a few other fruits, so I skip them.
Something to realize is that not all foods will affect me in the same manner, so don’t take my list of foods and make them your own. In short, you may be allergic to foods I’m not allergic to. You have to determine which and try to skip them. I think your body will be delighted with your choice.
Megan Ryan’s Voice – (sigh…) I’m sorry you suffer like that, my love. I have to look into the GAPS (Gut and Psychology Syndrome) diet for you. If one eats a certain food or foods and the body has a reaction like sluggishness, etc. that is supposed to mean you’re digestive system needs some healing. Healing like giving it a rest from troublesome foods, and repopulating with good bacteria. I remember when we ate the standard American (crap) food and you got heartburn constantly. So much so that we thought you might have to go on one of those prescription acid reflux drugs. Yikes…We’ve come so far since then! Now you only get heartburn occasionally, and your constant eating-then-crashing syndrome is nearly gone. Thanks be to God. By His grace we have learned so much and improved our family’s health considerably.
Megan Ryan’s Voice - We recently got back on the organic produce co-op bandwagon after a nine month hiatus. Meaning we haven’t been getting weekly bags of produce from a local farm or otherwise. Why? We let our rabbit farm CSA membership expire after the year was up because our two freezers were LOADED with food and we couldn’t keep up with the weekly bags of produce. Why did we stop getting anything for a whole nine months? Because that’s how long it took us to EAT all of it! I’m not freakin’ kidding. I thought it would take our family of six a few months at the most to empty the freezers, but no. And no, we didn’t get food from anywhere else except for the occasional foray to the organic grocery store for a good deal on one or two things like broccoli or sweet potatoes.
ANYWAY, I digress. This bi-weekly pickup of produce contained collard greens and potatoes among other things so I thought I would post our favorite recipe with these two ingredients. Both teenagers would be heartbroken if I ever stopped making this recipe. As a matter of fact, I always triple this recipe and use my four quart dutch oven just so we can enjoy the leftovers the next day. Kiss your box of Betty Crocker (aka Betty Crapper) potatoes goodbye forever because you’ll never want to go back.
Potato and Greens Gratin
3 medium unpeeled potatoes, cut into 1/8 inch slices (use the 4mm blade of a food processor)
2 handfuls of a leafy green like kale, etc., cut into shreds
2 tbsp. salt or more if desired
1 tbsp pepper
¼ cup butter (1/2 of a stick)
3 tbsp. fresh sage, or 1 tbsp. dried
4 cloves garlic, crushed or minced
1 1/3 cups milk
3 eggs (from pastured hens)
1 cup mild cheddar cheese, shredded or crumbled
1/3 cup sprouted flour (Click Here to learn how to sprout your own)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bring water to a boil, add potatoes and cook until ALMOST tender. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add the greens to the water and boil until tender. Drain and discard the water, Click Here to learn why you should discard the water. Set greens aside. Melt the butter in your pot, add the sage and garlic, then cook a few minutes until fragrant. Put the potatoes and greens back in the pot. Whisk together the milk, eggs, flour, and cheese then pour the mixture into the pot over the potato mixture. Stir gently until combined. Put the lid on your pot, and pop it into the oven for 50 minutes or more. It is done when the center is firm and will no longer jiggle. As always, all of the above ingredients should be organic for best taste and optimum health.
Megan Ryan’s Voice - I’ve been
binging indulging lately on these cookies. I swear I’ve made them at least four times in the past two weeks, and this recipe yields around 40 or more cookies! My only excuse is that our Teenagers and Preschooler have been helping Marcus and I eat them. Click Here for the original recipe, but I tweaked it into two versions: cookies and dough for eating. I use sprouted wheat flour (Click Here to learn how to make your own like we do) and when I want to skip the cooking and just eat the dough I substitute the two eggs for four egg yolks. I use only the yolks because eating raw egg whites is very hard on your digestive tract, Click Here to learn why. I am unsure about eating uncooked wheat flour, even if it is sprouted so we may be shooting ourselves in the foot anyway If any of ya’ll know better, please give us a shout in the comments section of this post. Also, I usually skip the chocolate chips for three reasons, 1) organic chips are stupidly expensive, 2) non-organic chocolate gives Marcus an asthma attack (strange but true!), and 3) call me crazy, but I have always considered chocolate chip cookies to be tastiest in between the chips!
Sprouted Chocolate Chip-less Cookies
2 sticks butter, softened (raw and organic is best)
2 1/4 c. sprouted wheat flour
1 3/4 c. organic sugar
2 eggs (from organic pastured hens)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 c. chocolate morsels (optional)
1 c. chopped nuts (optional)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a cookie sheet. In a large mixing bowl, Mix butter, sugars and vanilla together with an electric blender until well blended and creamy. Add eggs and mix.
Mix dry ingredients together in a medium bowl. Mix dry ingredients with creamy batter until well blended and thicker. Fold in morsels and nuts. Spoon batter onto pan an inch apart. Bake 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.
Megan Ryan’s Voice – Well I finally got the last of the herbs on my To Do List planted. I threw a few lavender seeds in my last pot of organic dirt, said a prayer, and washed my hands of it. Literally and figuratively, ha! I’m very excited about growing lavender, almost as excited as the sage I planted. I found a few great websites Here, and Here about what to do with it. Did you know it is a natural bug repellant?! I didn’t! Woohoo! When the bushes mature a little I’ll plant them permanently next to the trampoline so the children will be bug free when they jump at dusk. Then I’ll research how to make my own organic lavender essential oil and use it for things like laundry spray (which would double as mosquito repellant), natural ant repellant inside the house, scent for our homemade soaps and shampoos, and more. I had no idea it was so versatile until now.
Liam Marcus’ Voice – You didn’t know it was a bug repellent. Surprise, surprise, surprise – a la Gomer Pile, remember him? In any case, who knows about these things unless you stumbled upon the plant, tried it on, or got it on you by accident, noticed one evening the mosquitoes aren’t bothering you, and then reason that it was the plant you accidentally rubbed against or you purposely rubbed on – because it smelled good – that repelled the pesky things? Does this really happen? Can it happen? Accidental happenings. Yep, maybe. Like Pavlov reasoning that showing a piece of food to a dog would elicit excitation of a particular brain hemisphere thus triggering the salivary gland to start expelling the gooey bodily fluid. Little did he know that it was the dog’s drooling over the piece of food that elicited Pavlov’s behavior of showing the food to the animal in the first place. So, who would have known? Hmm, oh yeah, God, and insects too.
Megan Ryan’s Voice – I’ve been in a lot of pain lately. Namely my right shoulder and and neck has been acting up from carrying a 25 pound baby around. It’s an old injury from a car accident which yielded a couple of bulging discs in my upper neck. My lifesaving remedy has been organic ginger root. Yep, that common root you can find in about any grocery store. It is great for lots of medicinal uses including inflammation of any kind, but don’t forget that organic will be MUCH more effective than conventional ginger. My grand father-in-law used to drink a cup of ginger tea every night to keep his arthritis in check. I forgo the tea in favor of a decoction which is stronger. I hate spicy stuff and drinking hot beverages in the summer so I’ll let a big batch cool, add loads of honey, then refrigerate it. Then when I need some I’ll pour a bit in a cup, add an equal amount of cold, raw milk which eliminates the spiciness. If the pain is as bad as it has been lately I’ll go a step further and put an ice pack on my neck at bed time. In my opinion it is just as effective as over the counter drugs like ibuprofin, naproxen, etc. I’ve been trying to grow some, but it grew a little and then died on me ( surprise :-[ ) How hard can it be, right? It’s a root…ya stick it in the ground and it grows, right?! Not for me.
Liam Marcus’ Voice – The concoction is not half bad, it’s great! And the other half isn’t half bad either, so that leaves a quarter that’s not as bad as the other three quarters So, in conclusion, the whole thing is SOOooo bad it’s GREAT! If you haven’t guess it, ’cause I am deep like that, the quarter of the concoction is a bit gingerly. You know, like a ginger, “Hey ginger!” Bass drum, snare drum, cymbal crash please.
I might have to start using the concoction too very soon. The little girl won’t leave me alone. As soon as I enter the room she wants her daddy… yeah. She’s a ton after several minutes, of which she only lets me get a 10 second break and it’s “carry me, I’m just a baby, standing on the carpet; play with me, I’m just a baby, please play with me” – song a la Jars of Clay’s chorus part for “Carry me (Dead man)” LISTEN TO IT! LOL!
What natural remedies do you use for pain? We’d love for you to tell us about them in the comments section of this post.
Megan Ryan’s Voice – Our organic guava bushes are fruiting which also happens to be the first ever from our yard. Marcus planted them a year or two ago and they are finally bearing fruit. Cute, little, red guavas the size of large grapes. They do very well in our climate and are shockingly nutritious, not to mention tasty. Also nice because you don’t have to peel or seed them, but you can if you wish. So then it hit me. Whoa, we have to of those good sized bushes out there and they are both covered in unripe fruit. What the heck am I gonna do with all those little suckers when they become ripe at approximately the same time? So what did I do? You guessed it! Research. Thank you Jesus for the internet, and thank you for Marcus and all his hard work planting them. Here is a nice and simple recipe for guava jam and they are also surprisingly yummy eaten raw with a dash of salt and pepper. Like lots of fruits they do well in salads (savory or sweet), and my current favorite, smoothies! Click Here for my personal recipe that can be used with just about any fruit. I also read that several cultures use them to flavor savory/salty dishes. When I find the time (Ha. Ha. Ha.) I’ll search the internet for a few.
Liam Marcus’ Voice – LOL… a.k.a. hahahaha – Yep. Guavas for everyone. Nope. Not really. Just about thirty or so little rascals. In Puerto Rico we used to have a guava tree that gave us quite a load of fruit. The problem later was that it got so sick that worms started damaging the fruit from the inside. A total waste. Inedible, unless you didn’t mind munching on the little squiggling things. Since then a certain desire to avoid eating the delicious fruit grew in me until recently. I still take a peek inside the fruit whenever in doubt. Eek!
Megan Ryan’s Voice – We’ve been on a smoothie marathon at our house lately so I thought I’d share my ridiculously simple recipe with you. The teenagers crave these smoothies, and the little ones ask for a “smoovy for dessert”.
Hint: I do this all by using the measuring lines on my blender to avoid washing any extra dishes.
Raw Yogurt Smoothie
one handful of the fruit of your choice
approx. 3 cups raw yogurt, unstrained (Click Here to learn how to make your own and save money)
½ cup raw honey
In your blender add the banana and other fruit. I use any seasonal fruit that I have in the freezer, or four frozen cubes of fruit puree leftover from making our own baby food.* (See TIP below) Then I pour the yogurt until it reaches the 3 cup mark on my blender. If you don’t have unstrained yogurt, you can always use two cups of thick yogurt and one cup of whey or raw milk. Then add honey until the mix reaches the 3.5 mark on your blender. Pop on the lid and blend like crazy. Taste, add more honey if desired. The end result will be the consistency of a milkshake, only slightly thinner.
*TIP: If you are using a seedy fruit like guava, you may blend/puree the fruits at this point to reduce the amount of whole seeds in your drink.