Saturday, January 3, 2015

Beginning a New Year


Welcome 2015. 


I Gladly welcome in a New Year.
I have never wanted a year to be done, and gone, and put to rest, as much as I did the year 2014.
The hardest part for me, personally, in keeping up with the blog was writing during the hardest times. I naturally go silent during troubles or changes. And this year was filled with some whoppers- like hospital visits, near death experiences, 4 separate surgeries, and cancer scares. We lost a lot. We learned a lot.
When I read other people's blogs they present perfect worlds, perfect solutions, and pretty places. I cannot keep up with that. I have to say with sincerity, the world is not a perfect place  and being a blog writer during hardships is difficult at best. I am sorry for long absences and I am grateful for every reader I have. Thank you so much.

That being said, I have to admit- I learned a lot in 2014.

We gardened a serious yard garden for the first time ever. I loved every minute of it.

We canned everything from that garden that we didn't eat right away. I dehydrated herbs like basil and made my own seasoning mixes. I made my own infused oils for both cooking and health (like garlic oil and Calendula oil.)  Fresh salsa was on the menu often. It was wonderful experience for all of us.

As for homesteading, the experience of canning and prepping my own was amazing. I became more of a Prepper than I ever had imagined. And I am so glad I did! I have always thought it wise to stash something for an emergency. My naive mindset was to set to prepare for something big -like a disaster: an earthquake, or a storm.  But I never realized that that list should include personal disasters- like sudden illness, unemployment, and loss.  The list of what could go wrong goes much further than that; but my point is more to make it known that events can occur at a blink of an eye. And preparing ahead of time is smart. I am so glad we did. That stash of items not only got us through- I am making it again as soon and as fast as I can. And I urge others to do the same. Don't wait for the disaster to occur. Give yourself at least a small reprieve from the stress by knowing you are able to provide for your family-for at least a day, or a week. Longer if possible.  The traumatic events causing the need- are enough to go through!  Ease the burden by being able to at least provide for your family for a small window of time. It helps so much, the benefits are immeasurable.
 (I plan to write more on this in the future.*)

During the year, I had some family who visited. We were sitting on my back porch- surrounded by my homemade wind-chimes, my plants and flowers, boxes of herbs growing healthy.  I'd just walked up with my little 6 year old niece from giving her a tour of our garden- her mouth was full of my wild lettuce I'd just let her pick on her own and taste. Her mother reprimanded her- "don't eat that! It's not safe!" to which,  I laughed- "It's as safe as it gets- fresh from the garden, organic, all natural and ready for salad." At this point, my mother in law looked around and bluntly observed, "You are such a hippy."  And that one personal remark struck home. I was flat out called a hippy. At the time I laughed. Never thought of myself as such. But it struck home.

I have thought of it a lot this week. I am. Only they do not call it hippy so much anymore- crunchy, yes. Ha! But I got to thinking of the all natural things I reach for- and the list is amazing. They say if you try something new for 3 months, it becomes habit. I have done that and more- in the two years. A fact that was proven to me this last October when we suddenly found ourselves packed to move to a place that wasn't ready. With everything in boxes, unprepared and unpacked- we spent 1 night at a hotel with nothing. We purchased dinner on the fly and I grabbed 1 box of baking soda. Yes, baking soda. With that box we all had instant toothpaste, deodorant, and bodywash,  and I could wash my hair..... I figured for emergency get through- I'd covered my bases pretty well! LOL  But just looking back on it now- I have to laugh- who does that?!! LOL - me- my hippy self, and I. (grin) guess she called it right. :)
So...
What else do I do?
Ha!

When faced with bug bites, I grab Lavender essential oil. lavender-for-buggy-bites
When I have a stuffy nose I use peppermint essential oil.
- If it persists, I make ginger tea.
For shampoo, body wash, and bath soap I mix coconut milk with castille soap. diy-homemade-body-wash
I make my own toothpaste from coconut oil, Bentonite clay and baking soda.
I make my own deodorant. 3-diy-all-natural-deodorants
I make my own lotions, and face cream. simple-natural body care
I use witchhazel for acne.
I make my own house cleaners. diy-cleaning
I make my own laundry soap.my-mix-laundry-soap
I make my own body sprays.
I make my own lip balms diy-homemade-lipbalm
I cut my own hair.
I use aloe as a detangler, and to stop frizzy curls.100% natural detangler
I eat Real food.
I make my own fruit roll ups.real-food-snacks-fruit-leathers
I make homemade yogurt.
I use raw local honey for allergies.
I mix raw honey with lemon juice and cinnamon for a homemade cough syrup.
If I'm in pain, I take turmeric.
If I need energy I grab a spoonful of coconut oil.
I take ACV for heartburn.
I use vinegar and baking soda to unclog drains.
When I run out of garlic powder or onion flakes, I dehydrate more.seasonings-dehydrated-vegies


And the list goes on...
In trying times, the list expanded and was confirmed and reaffirmed and necessary. My point is, I proved to myself to be true to what I have written. I proved to myself to be true, and do practice what I preach (so to speak). That acceptance for myself, of myself ,was more valuable than any resolution I could make this New Years.
 I am what I am. Crunchy, and Hippy and still learning -all rolled into one. With this admission, I am happy to roll onto a New Year with freedom to move forward, Happy to be who I am. :)
Thank you so much.
Happy New Years! - Janey





Sunday, December 21, 2014

Happy Winter!

 
picture by my friend, Pete Glastonbury.


Happy Winter Solstice to all my friends!


Happy Winter Solstice!

Merry Yule!

Happy Holidays!

And all my thanks going out to those who read my blog for sticking with me this year. It's been a rough one, but I am in high hopes that 2015 will be an improvement!

A few thoughts:

Today marked the Winter Solstice for the Northern Hemisphere; the Summer Solstice for our friends in the Southern Hemisphere!
A great explanation for the event is found here at earthsky.org

For Homeschoolers, a great resource for free ebooks was shared today by iheartintelligence.com .
It includes 100 legal sites to download literature. An invaluable resource. I hope you enjoy using it!


Lastly, I know that for many 2014 has been a hard year. Keep your thoughts positive. Accept only the best for yourself. Have hope- for it is the key to finding happiness. Surround yourself with love and love will find you.




Happy  Days, Peeps.  Thank you for sharing it with me. - Janey

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!!!!!!!!!!!!


Happy Thanksgiving to you all. 
Be safe in your travels. 
Be happy with your families. 

Brightest Blessings! - Janey

For the Pinterest Fans, Here's a favorite recipes roundup:

Follow Janey Mckeever's board Favorite Recipes on Pinterest.






Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Easy Clam Chowder

Easy Clam Chowder


1/2 c diced onion
1/2 c diced celery
dash salt and pepper
1 tsp original Mrs. Dash
1 tbsp butter
2 cups vegetable broth
2 cups diced potatoes
1/2 c shredded carrots (I grated mine.)
2 cans diced clams (drain juice and use with vegetable broth)
1 cup mashed potatoes*
1 cup milk (or cream, or half and half)

 Over med heat. lightly saute the onions and celery until soft. Add vegetable broth and clam juice and bring to boil adding potatoes and carrots. Cook about 10 min. Add mashed potatoes, seasonings, and milk. Bring to boil and cook on med-low heat for about 10 minutes. Add clams in the last 5 minutes. Remove from heat, Thickens as it cools. Serve warm w/ crackers. Serves 4-6 easily.

* Many people I know use flour to thicken, I learned that other mashed fresh vegetables that are starchy will thicken just as well and you get the added vegetable nutrients and flavor. I had leftover homemade mashed potatoes from last night's roast and just used that. If you do not, you can fry 2 tbsp flour with the onions and butter in the beginning right before adding the broth. This will create a thick gravy to add to.  By using the mashed potatoes, however, you can serve this without problems of wheat flour (for those with sensitivity.)












Monday, November 17, 2014

DIY Cookie Butter

Simple to make, and soooo very good. It's sinful, and delicious!!

DIY Cookie Butter


1 c crushed cookies
1/2 c powdered sugar
1/4 c water
1/4 c olive oil

To make, crumble cookies into food processor and pulse until fine powder. Then add oil and water and process for a minute. Slowly add powdered sugar  and let process until thick and creamy.  Scoop into jar or bowl with a good lid. Use on toast, crackers, waffles, pancakes, or as frosting /glaze on cake, or whatever! Warm in the microwave for 30 seconds and drizzle as topping over ice cream.

Refrigerate. Lasts a week.

My advice is to use hard cookies, like chocolate chip or snicker doodles. Cream filled cookies tend to separate. The absolute best is to use homemade cookies, that way you are certain of no extra ingredients you don't want. The oil you use can also vary- I suggest coconut oil or olive oil.
However you put this together, it is definitely cheaper to make at home, (Total price for what I made was about $0.80) and quick to make too! 
Your kids will love the alternate, and you will love both the price and ease.



Monday, November 10, 2014

DIY Homemade Ensure

        Recently, I asked what might be needed to be researched. “Homemade DIY ______??????”

The answer I got back was: Homemade DIY Ensure. 

      Without question, I understood. (Instantly I had a childhood flashback of my Grandfather, who had cancer, and the bottles of Ensure stacked up in his kitchen.) 
     For many, it is necessary.  Ensure is the most recommended meal substitute on the market; but, sadly, also remains one of the most expensive. 
     The reasons for needing it are wide and varied. As I began to research the best recipes, I understood quickly the variations involved in needs for people. Some need complete meal replacement, others need added calories for weight gain, and some are trying to lose weight. I have decided to share several recipes; and ask that you -as the reader- to decide which might be best for your circumstance. 
      My focus remained on how to make it at home, with the minimal cost and most nutritional value.  Here are the top 5 recipes I found. The  #4. Protein Shake is my personal favorite. I will be making more of this one for us in the future! 
___

1. Homemade DIY Ensure

In empty gallon container pour in:
3 cans sweetened condensed milk*,
2 cups Ovaltine,
1 tbsp coconut oil or olive oil.
Shake/mix vigorously until completely incorporated.
To this, add whole milk until gallon container is filled.
Shake/mix vigorously again.
Serve 8 oz. Glass, three times a day and be sure to take 1 quality multivitamin a day. lasts 3 days in refrigerator.

*You can also DIY Homemade Sweetened condensed milk. See Homemade Sweetened Condensed Milk

____

    2. Homemade DIY Ensure

    Combine:
    3 cups whole milk
    1 package Vanilla instant pudding powder (4 serving size)
    ½ c instant dried powdered non-fat milk
    2 packages or 2/3 c Nestle Carnation Instant Breakfast (any flavor)
Blend on low speed in blender for a minute. Serve 8oz glass. 
Cover remainder and refrigerate for up to 3 days. 
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    3. DIY Homemade Ensure

    ½ c Yogurt
    ½ c Milk
    1 c frozen or fresh fruit
    1 tbsp Bee Pollen
    1 tsp flax seed
    1 tbsp whey protein
    Blend. May add carob chips

__

    4. DIY Homemade Protein Shake.

8oz. Whole milk (or 4 oz yogurt+4 oz milk) 8-10g protein
½ c cottage cheese (or 2 raw eggs; or 2 tbsp peanut butter) 8-14g protein
1 c chopped/diced fruit (apple, banana, berries, etc.- you can also use 1 c pumpkin puree) 2g protein
3 tbsp oatmeal (or 1 tbsp bran powder) 15 g protein
1 tbsp coconut oil or olive oil

In blender pulse oatmeal first until powdery, then add remaining ingredients. Blend on low for 1 minute. Drink this one right away when nutritional content is best. This can provide 30-50g of protein.
I suggest 1 quality multivitamin a day in addition to this.
 (It is recommended that the average active adult gets between 50- 175g of protein /day. Ratios are dependent upon body weight and activity levels)

*Additional note: When I made this for my sons- they asked for additional honey- 1 tbsp. Final taste test: A+ Kid approved.
__

    5. DIY Homemade Ensure w/ Protein powder 

    (I avoided this one until last because I was trying to find options that do not include expensive protein and vitamin powders- I suggest if you do buy them save money and buy in bulk.)
    ¼ can sweetened condensed milk
    1 tsp vanilla
    ½ c strawberries
    ½ c milk
    3 Tbsp protein powder
    3 tbsp wheat germ
    ½ tsp. Omega 3 oil
    Vitamin powder (optional)
    Mix well in blender & drink.
__


These are the basic recipes I have found. You can substitute a variety of things to improve or change flavors- do not be afraid to try different fruits. Use ice cream or yogurt to thicken. If you are allergic to milk- I suggest coconut milk, or rice milk. (I would have said soy a few years ago- but the fear of GMO's bugs me here.) If regular sugar bothers you, I have included a link to making homemade sweetened condensed milk with several different sugar options.



All in all, I hope this helps; and gives those of you who might need this supplemental drink a few more options that are easier on the budget!







Disclaimer: This in no way is intended to endorse, slander, or harm the name Ensure. I intend only to provide alternate suggestions for people who may need it. ***This does not replace the advice of your doctor. Do your research, ask a dietitian or nutritionist, and make your choices carefully.





the following Affilate links in no way raise your final cost, but they do help to support the efforts and endeavors of this blog and my family. :)Thank you

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Easy Carrot Salad

Easy Carrot Salad

2 cups shredded carrots,
1 cup raisins,
2 tbsp lemon juice,
1 diced apple,
2 tbsp. honey,
1 heaping tbsp. mayonnaise (Homemade preferred).

Grate, dice, and mix! Stir together and chill for 1 hour before serving.


Excellent for picnics, kid approved, great way to teach kids how to make recipes. 
Bring a smile- enjoy. 

Proof we can have fun with fruits and vegies! 

Recipe also noted in Carrots!