A New Twist on an Old Way

This paradigm shift we’re experiencing right now is forcing our family to think in new or rather old ways.  A few years back I purchased Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois for myself, my daughter-in-law and my best friend for Christmas.

Frugal person that I am, I purchased it from https://www.thriftbooks.com/share/?code=NeichQeK9l6gc0ie11qkdw%253d%253d  Ok, this is a shameless plug that will give you a 15% discount off their wonderful selection of books and give me a discount off my future orders.  Most of their books are under $4.00 and there is free shipping for orders $10 or more.  These are used books and you can pick the condition.  Most are in good condition.

When I purchased the book, I was very excited about having home baked bread that was not labor intensive and didn’t require an expensive bread machine.  Recipes include The Master Recipe, which is for enjoying an artisan loaf  every day and  so simple to make.  If you want to step it up a notch, there are recipes for pizza, flatbreads and pastries.

My daughter-in-law decided now was the time to dust off the book and start making daily fresh bread.  Yeah!  The less trips to the grocery store, the better. We had our first slice yesterday for lunch.  It’s slightly heavier than  store bought bread,  but still light enough that your family who only eats white Wonder Bread will love.  It’s also a healthy addition to your meal that is actually quite filling.

Our prayers are constantly with our country, our leaders and for those families who are  experiencing loss and sickness.  We’re trying to redeem the time.

redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Ephesians 5:16




Life Has Changed On The Prairie

Like everyone right now, we are faced with uncertainty mixed in with fear.  Taking action has added excitement and has helped to get our minds off dread of the virus and the future.

Our household now includes myself, my husband, my son and his wife and their 4 children, ages 12, 10, 7 and 5.  We have 3 bedrooms, 1 bath and a large room additionSacred Spaces that was a back porch that we enclosed.  My son and his family were renting a two story, 4 bedroom, 2 bath home on 10 acres that was perfect for their large family.  Their family included 2 cats and a growing rabbit family.  Then one day all that changed in an instant.  During a repair of a plumbing leak under the kitchen sink, the repairman thought he saw black mold which extended into the upstairs bathroom.  Before long, they had to move out.  School had started and because we live in a very rural area, there is a shortage of rental homes, especially for large families.  So we adjusted.  Our back porch is now their living area and we have 4 small children in one bedroom, ala “The Waltons”.  Its been exciting, challenging and a blessing to be a part of their lives every day.

Our life has always included a bit of “prepping”.  That’s part of country life.  In Oklahoma we need to be prepared for tornadoes and for winter ice storms.  A few years back our electric was out for 14 days due to an ice storm.  Fortunately our generator saw us through.  When the news begin to cover the Covid-19 and it’s possible spread to us, I began to inventory what we may need.

  1.  Prescriptions- I ordered a 90 day supply for John and I.
  2.  Over the Counter meds-Everything from headache, stomach, first aid to allergy relief.
  3.  Canned goods.
  4.  Meats- this year we are fortunate to have more than usual.  We have a deer that was harvested last November, part of a beef from the year before and a pig that was purchased from a lady who attends our church.
  5.  Gardening seeds and supplies.  In recent years our vegetable garden has got smaller each year.  This year my son and daughter-in-law has suggested we have a real garden, one that will support us.
  6.   Baking supplies – Flour, oats, baking soda, baking powder, salt
  7.  Cleaning supplies – Lysol spray, disinfectant wipes, bleach, hydrogen peroxide
  8.   Paper goods – We don’t hoard toilet paper but with a family of 8 we keep a pretty good supply on hand.  My D-I-L purchased flannel to make “family cloth” if needed when the tp supply runs out.
  9.  Fuel and oil for cars, tractor and generator.
  10.  Get the cellar cleaned and stocked for tornado season.

I have a small flock of egg laying chickens that we keep in a movable pen.  They are aging and egg production has slowed down.  Yesterday, my Daughter-in-law and I went to Atwoods, our local farm goods store,  to purchase chicks, starter feed, and feeding equipment.  My plan was to only buy about 12 but my son suggested we get about 20.  They are straight run so we probably will have extra roosters that can be used for chicken and dumplings.

School has let out until April 6th here.  My grandchildren’s school year ends the first week of May so we expect school will not start back until the fall.  D-I-L is planning to homeschool the remainder of the year and possibly next year.

I’m sure there are holes in our planning.  We just do what we can and trust God for everything.  This is uncharted times for our generation but I feel as a family and a nation we’ll be much stronger having gone through this together.  How has your family prepared and what are you doing to keep up your spirits?




Preventing Strep Naturally – I Hope!

Recently John started feeling quite ill, which is very unusual for him. He seems to have a natural immunity to colds, flu, etc. There’s been a nasty respiratory virus making the rounds and we thought he might even have the flu as he had aching muscles to go along with sinus pressure, headache, sore throat and just really feeling bad.

A trip to the Doctor and a flu test proved negative and was told to call if he wasn’t doing better in a few days. It didn’t get better so back we went and this time his throat symptoms were worse so he was tested for strep. That was it. A prescription for amoxicillin was given. I was a little concerned about my prospects since doing some research indicated it was highly contagious. It is usually contagious a couple of days before you have any symptoms so that little bug may be circulating as I type. My nose is starting to run. Ok, I think my imagination is beginning to run.

However, I would like to stop this thing before it takes hold. This time of year I have been on Sambucol Black Elderberry Syrup to boost immunity to help prevent flu and viruses along with extra doses of Vitamin C so I’m hoping that will help. Online research points to garlic as a natural killer of the Streptococcal  virus. The Healthy Home Economist  http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/how-to-kick-strep-throat-faster-and-better-without-antibiotics/  gives her recommendations for treating strep naturally without using antibiotics. It is compelling, but don’t know if I would avoid antibiotics once I had full onset of the strep virus. If garlic can stop it, I’m hoping it will prevent it. I’m trying to use Lysol around the house, but it’s pretty hard to spray the whole house!

Found a recipe on Livestrong.com http://www.livestrong.com/article/358169-how-to-use-garlic-for-strep-throat/ for a garlic tea to treat strep and I’m giving it a try.
1. Bring one cup of water to a boil.
2. Add 4 cloves of garlic and boil the cloves for one minute and reduce heat and simmer for five minutes.
3. Remove from heat and let the water cool for five minutes. The steam can be inhaled as you are waiting for it to cool.
4. Strain or remove the cloves. My cloves were still in 4 cloves so I removed and saved.
5. Add one tsp. of raw honey, stir and drink.

I’m also drinking a mixture of 2 tablespoons raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar,  2 tablespoons of honey in a cup of hot water.  It’s very good for you and tastes good too.

Not wanting to waste good garlic, I’m eating the  boiled cloves for extra protection. The exposure time for strep is 2 to 5 days so I should know in a few days if I  have dodged the bullet. I’ll give an update soon. In the interim, if strep has been making its way in your area, you might want to stock up on fresh garlic, raw honey and raw apple cider vinegar.

Lazy Day Tomato Sauce


Recently I had another batch of tomatoes that needed to be processed. Too many just for eating, but not large enough for canning. Our garden this season has really suffered from the extreme heat that we had in June. Fortunately we have tomatoes, but they’ve been smaller in quantity and size. To complicate matters, I’d recently taken a nasty fall (flip flops are dangerous!) and standing for long periods of time was impossible. I needed to process but it had to be easy.

Usually at the end of the tomato season I’ve tried everything; sun-dried tomatoes, fried green tomatoes, freezing whole, salsa, even tomato jelly! Actually tomato jelly is very good. I’d never made tomato sauce. I think in the back of my mind I thought it was too hard and time-consuming.

I decided to try using the crock-pot to cook down the tomatoes. This would allow a long cooking time without worrying about watching a pot all day or stirring to prevent burning. I did some research. Did I need to blanch first and remove the skins? Some recommended that’ but these tomatoes were pretty small, so that would be time-consuming and labor intensive. Some recommended leaving the skins in for extra fiber. Some recommended picking the skins out after the tomatoes have cooked down.  Because I had to go in town for most of the day, I decided on the simplest method possible.

1. Fill the crock pot 2/3rds full with tomatoes cut in half but skins remaining.

2. Add a teaspoon of salt and a teaspoon of Italian seasoning. Italian seasoning is a spice mix consisting of Marjoram, Thyme, Rosemary, Savory Sage, Oregano and Basil. I could have added onions and garlic, but this was quick and I needed to get going.

Italian seasoning

3. Put the crock pot on low for 6 hours. If it still looks like there is too much liquid, the lid can be removed slightly for another 30 minutes and it will cook down.
4. I tried to remove a peeling once it was done, but, once again, takes too much time and effort.  I got out my immersion blender and waala! Perfect!


5. Instead of canning the results, I froze and wrote down the quantity and dated the bag.
Not only was this easy, it tasted great. It’s always nice to know what is going into your food. You can control the salt and the contents. I ended up with 7 1/2 cups of sauce. Well worth the effort.

frozen sauce

Full Plate Living

While I was working, which meant 8 hours or more a day at a computer, I packed on some extra pounds, about 25 of them. Stress eating, no exercise and a Southern culture of fried foods contributed greatly. Oh and that sugar and chocolate addiction. I went on to lose those 25 pounds by eliminating sugar and fast foods. Recently I noticed I had got lax in my eating and my sugar addiction was in full swing. The pounds were starting to creep up again. I knew I had to do something, but it would have to be a way of eating that would be a way of life and practical. I couldn’t always eliminate fried foods, sugar or chocolate and I don’t want to!  I’m not giving up fried green tomatoes!

I’d heard about the The Blue Zones, a book about the longest living people in the world. The Seventh Day Adventists members who practice a vegetarian lifestyle in Loma Linda, California were one of the groups studied in The Blue Zones. I ordered The Seventh Day Diet by Chris Rucker and Jan Hoffman from  thriftbook.com, my favorite frugal online book store. According to the research the male Adventists have 8.9 year longer than average life expectancy and females  7.5 years longer than average life expectancy. They also enjoy the following health benefits:

  • reduced risk of osteoporosis
  • lower incidence of breast, prostate, pancreatic, bladder and ovarian cancers than the general population.
  • 50% less likely to get colon or rectal cancer.
  • Meat eating male Adventists have 56 percent of the average coronary heart disease mortality, 39 percent for those who use no meat but drink milk and eggs and 12 percent for total vegetarians.

. The Seventh Day Diet  mentioned their Lifestyle Centers in different parts of the country, which led me to one in Ardmore, Oklahoma. The Ardmore Center at one time offered an in-house crash course, costing several thousands, for people who had a lot of weight to lose. They lost weight while at the center but when the leaders were following up with their clients, they discovered that they were gaining the weight back.  The total vegetarian diet was not working for them. This failure birthed The Full Plate Diet.  The Full Plate Diet book offers  very practical steps, tips and recipes for improving your diet and living a healthier lifestyle. Full Plate Diet became a best seller, followed by training kits for small groups to have their own training sessions without leaving their town and only costing $49 for the participant and $79 for the facilitator, who does not need any special training. I am not being paid to mention these products. Being the cheap skate that I am, I ordered an excellent copy of The Full Plate Diet from thriftbooks.com.

The philosophy behind the diet and backed by science is to gradually increase your daily fiber intake to 40 grams per day. This is a lot more than the average American gets due to our S.A.D. (Standard American Diet). Great tips are given  to easily power up your meals to get that extra fiber without your food tasting like card board or relying on Metamucil. Increasing your water intake to 6-8 glasses a day will help you to feel fuller and help the fiber digest.

Starving is not part of the diet, i.e. the full plate. Calorie counting is not necessary. The full plate consists of 75% foods that are naturally high in fiber such as beans, oatmeal, bananas and sweet potatoes. 25% of the plates are foods that you don’t want to give up such as bread, steak, milk and dessert.

Walking 30 minutes a day will help you lose weight faster and is a great way to relax.
I feel better already and my weight has stabilized although I’ve only been with the new lifestyle 2 weeks. I went to my granddaughter’s birthday determined I would have cake and ice cream but promptly became a good girl the next day. I did adjust my evening meal a little to make up for the extra calories. I no longer feel like I am constantly starving because I am eating  plenty of food that is nourishing me.  I can do this for the long haul.

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