greenmama: (Default)
2012-12-21 10:30 am

About This Blog


I am currently blogging at; I am leaving this site up and active, but I pretty much never check it or please, if you like anything you read here, come on over to the not-so-new site!


This is about my journey to green my world a bit and become less of a carbon bigfoot, and the tricks and pitfalls I encounter trying to do it in the general life of a full time working suburban mom with little time and less energy!

EDIT--Just to be clear, especially when I offer information about natural treatments I've tried for anything, I am not a doctor, I have no training, and I am not equipped to give medical advice to anyone! So when I relate whats worked for me, please don't assume it'll work for you, or that I have any idea what I'm talking about.  Do your own homework, your own research, and make your own informed choices. (There. That's the disclaimer.)

I welcome suggestions from readers--please comment away!!

greenmama: (Default)
2009-07-20 10:28 pm

LOA from Dreamwidth

Okay, I feel sort of bad about it, but honestly Dreamwidth is not really living up to my hopes at the moment--not that it's a problem with the site, just that it and I aren't really looking for the same things, I think. green blog has shifted over to a much less cool and more pedestrian 

But people are actually reading it, and I know who and how many.

I'll keep checking things out over here and reading, but if there's anyone here who actually did read and enjoy my sort of weird suburban green efforts, that's where they'll be posted from here on out.  I'm also keeping up with my LJ, which is, where I blog about the Basic Ordinary Life Stuff...

So I'm not exactly leaving, but I won't really be posting here much more.
Peace to all--
greenmama: (Default)
2009-07-12 06:49 pm

Mom! It's the ice cream truck!

Remember Fudgesicles and Dreamsicles? Those were just lovely yummy things, and I miss them. 

So I went experimenting, pretty much as soon as I remembered that I had bought a quart of plain nonfat yogurt yesterday (we put a dollop on the dogs’ food daily.)

Two recipes, reviews to come:


  • Stir together 1 tbs cocoa powder (unsweetened) and 2 tbs sugar. Drizzle in a little hot tap water and stir to make a paste. (For the grownup version, a little instant coffee might be nice in there too…)
  • Mix in 1 cup plain nonfat yogurt (or to taste)
  • Try to refrain from eating it all standing at the counter. (Put down the spoon. Right now. Put it down, I say!)
  • Pour into popsicle molds, paper cups (not as green!), or even ice cube trays
  • Stick popsicle sticks (recycled?), chopsticks, or whatever works–I use some of the plastic utensils that never seem to get used around the house from before my green days. Re-usable sticks are probably best. If your mixture isn’t thick enough for them to remain upright, put a layer of cling wrap or foil over the top and stick the sticks through.
  • Freeze till solid.  Eat. Share with your kids.  Really.

Dreamsicles (sort of…these don’t have the white inner layer we remember from childhood, but the flavor seems pretty darn close!)

  • In a bowl mix 1 cup orange juice, 2 tbs. plain nonfat yogurt, 1 tbs sweetener (I used agave syrup; maple or honey would probably be nice), and a few drops of vanilla extract. You may need an electric mixer or blender to really break up the yogurt.  I also suspect that 3 tbs vanilla yogurt would probably work in lieu of the plain-yogurt-and-sweetener of this recipe, though I’d probably add the vanilla extract anyway.  In fact, I’d guess that the whole yogurt/juice ratio could be very subjective.  Nor would I discourage anyone from using WHATEVER yogurt you have in the fridge that’s about to pass its “best if used by” date.*
  • Pour into popsicle molds or whatever else (see fudgesicle recipe for thoughts); here you will definitely need the cling wrap or foil to make the sticks stand up, since this recipe is much thinner.
  • Freeze. Eat. Share. If you want to.

I tasted the pre-frozen goo for each, and it’s fairly yummy…can’t wait for the final product. I’ll update this post  again when we’ve tried them.


*p.s. everyone knows, right?, that the dates on dairy and such from the store are the sell by date, not the use by date–it’s the latest date the store is allowed to sell it, which means it’s guaranteed to be good for at least a week or so (and often much longer, in the case of eggs and yogurt and such) after that date.  So please don’t toss your dairy just because it’s a day past its “expiration”!

greenmama: (Default)
2009-07-11 10:44 pm

Double double, toil and trouble...(potion-making!)

I put my first potions of the season up today: the first step for orange-mint liqueur, and lemon balm vinegar.

Liqueur is an easy but seriously time-consuming process.  It’s similar to making “tincture,” which is basically extract of fresh herb in alcohol.  (Glycerine tinctures are available as well, and they are good, but they don’t get as many of the alkaloids from the plant as the alcohol.)

Herb Tincture Recipe

chop up enough clean fresh herb to fill a clean jar 2/3-3/4 of the way full. (I use a food processor for this–one of the only things I use it for.) 

(Note: what part of the herb you use will depend on the herb itself, and what part of it has the medicinal qualities you are looking for.  St. John’s Wort is usually “flowering tops,” which means the top part of the stems and leaves that mostly include the flowers.  Lemon balm and mint and such are herbs where the virtue is mostly in the leaves, and you want to get the leaves when they’re still basically young and tender.  Echinacea is debated–most agree that the root is the most medicinal part, but I personally have always preferred the “whole plant” echinacea extract–flower to root, all tinctured together. This is a subject for a whole bunch of other posts, but I wanted to at least mention it…)

Over the chopped herb in the jar, pour 100 proof alcohol of some kind–easiest and cheapest route for this is a half and half combination of 190 proof grain alcohol (i.e. Everclear or Spiritus) and distilled water. (Yes, do use distilled water rather than tap.) If you can find 100 proof vodka, that’s fine too.  And honestly, if you’re making the tincture in order to make liquer, rather than for trying to squeeze every last bit of medicinal alkaloid out of the plant, 80 proof  vodka will work just fine.  Try to fill the jar all the way to the top; the less air it has to react with, the better.

LABEL YOUR JAR.  Write what you put in it, and most importantly when you made it.  Be as completely obsessive about labelling your potions as you possibly can, or you will forget.

Let the herb/alcohol mixture steep in a cool dark place for about 2-4 weeks for liqueur grade, 6-8 weeks for medicinal grade tincture. Shake the jar every couple of days; this will keep any of the herb that emerges over the top from oxidizing too much and/or growing things you don’t want growing there. (It has to sit a long time for that to happen, though–remember, your herb is pickling in pretty strong alcohol in there.)  It’s not an exact science, just kind of try to remember to give it a turn every once in a while.

After your preferred steeping time is up, drain the liquid through a coffee filter, cheesecloth, or muslin; squeeze out every last bit of liquid from your herbs.

You now have tincture–herbal extract.  Medicinally, you can put a few drops into water or juice; some tinctures (lemon balm, lavender) are okay to just drip into your mouth onto your tongue, but some can be too strong for that, so be careful.

To make it into liqueur, you now have a few more steps and a couple more months:

Make a simple sugar solution, equal in amount to the amount of tincture you want to make into liqueur. As in, if you have 2 cups of tincture, make a solution by mixing 2 cups of sugar and 2 cups of water over heat until the sugar is completely dissolved.  Let cool.

Mix together sugar solution and tincture in equal parts in a bottle or jar. Label it. (If you wish, you might note on the label that what’s in there is about 45-50 proof.) Let it cure for 6 weeks to whenever, tasting it periodically to see how it’s doing.

By Christmastime, if there’s any left, pour into pretty bottles you’ve saved from liqueurs or vinegars or whatever you think would be nice, put pretty labels on, and give as gifts.  If you really want to do that. These liqueurs are pretty good.

For vinegar, you basically do exactly the same thing–chop the herb, let it steep in vinegar for a few weeks, drain, and re-bottle.  Lemon balm and Tarragon are great for this…

greenmama: (Default)
2009-07-11 10:43 pm

The Story of Stuff

I’m going to take this quick opportunity to invite folks to take a few minutes (okay, more like 20, so settle in) to watch a fairly fascinating and scary video:

She’s anything but unbiased, and some of her statements are heavily slanted, but it’s still really really interesting…

And then you can go to the next site in the line,, which has some really good basic ideas for shifting our outlook…this site was one of the things that kicked my butt into greengear, so I offer it to you as well.


greenmama: (Default)
2009-07-03 09:17 am

Down the rabbit hole...

I'm probably going to go somewhat incommunicado for the next week or so; the big national pastoral music convention that's been sucking up my time and energy and life-force begins Sunday afternoon and goes until the following Friday, and I have multiple hats to wear, so there will be little time to blog (let alone sleep or think.)

So I go off to sing and play and smile and schmooze (lots of schmoozing!) and listen thoughtfully and tell people they are amazing (usually quite truthfully) and spend money and make money and conduct and run around like a crazy person...and hopefully I'll survive and be back in good spirits and health when all is said and done.

From a "green" perspective these conventions are a nightmare.  Every year there seems to be some conversation about greening the convention, but since the whole thing is volunteer-run (by people with day jobs), there hasn't been anyone who could really take it on. There is paper being handed out, given away, thrown out, etc. all the time--sample copies of music handed to anyone who will take them, and then almost all of it probably winds up in recycling (as a best case scenario) after the fact.  Because here waste meets copyright and just compensation--if someone were to collect thirty tossed out copies of something someone handed out as free promotional material, gave it to their choir, and sang it in church, that would be depriving the publisher of just compensation for those copies and the composer of the royalties.  And there are enough of us who wait for those annual royalty checks so we can buy our kids school shoes that that is no small justice issue.  Then there's the bottled water...remind me to post about bottled water someday...

To their credit, I do know that the core committee made a conscious decision to go to local vendors for everything they could, especially where hospitality and catering are concerned, rather than big corporate weenie types.  Which took some extra work--when you're trying to arrange box lunches for 2000 people, it's probably a good bit easier to make one phone call to a giant megagroup who can do it all than to contact 7 or 8 smaller local caterers who'll each provide the lunch for maybe 3 or 4 tour buses worth.  So I applaud's such a challenge, though, and at this point to do anything in a less wasteful, more mindful way is swimming upstream to the extent that it's easy to see why most people just don't have the energy. 

Speaking of energy--In the meantime, anyone who reads this is invited to check out one of my favorite green blogs (though she's WAY more hardcore than I am!)-- . She's very serious, has time to write as much in a day as I manage in a week, and in general has some good ideas.  Plus she gives me the chance to read and absorb some of the righteous indignation I don't seem to have the energy to muster up myself, but that I'm glad someone's out there expressing. :-) (EDIT: Actually, looking more closely, I think that is a whole bunch of bloggers all working on the same site, which could explain how prolific the place is...)

Have a great week, everyone!
greenmama: (Default)
2009-07-02 09:15 am

Throat Coat tea to the rescue

Okay, I'm not usually a "product placement" kind of person, but this one product is so amazing and has saved my professional life so many times, I have to mention it.

I'm a musician--conductor, singer, teacher, mostly. (Also organist/pianist, composer, but those things aren't voice-affected.)  I am also depressingly prone to vocal-and-respiratory bugs, which get in there and just sit for weeks.  And tend to come at very inconvenient times. (I wonder on some level if it's performance anxiety manifesting psychosomatically, warning me that I really don't want to make a career out of singing, even if I have a pretty adequate instrument to work with. On some level I think I'm conflicted about whether I want to or should sing more...but that's beside the point.) 

So while normally I like to make my own funky medicinal concoctions, I happened upon the Traditional Medicinals line of teas some years ago, particularly the one called "Throat Coat," and it has been my salvation on numerous occasions.

Traditional Medicinals teas are available at most natural food stores (Whole Foods, etc.) and I've even seen them in some conventional grocery stores.  They have a whole line of products, very clearly stating on the box what conditions each blend is intended for.  I took the "More Milk" tea while I was nursing, the "Pregnancy" one (I forget the name) when I was pregnant, and I take "Herba-Tussin" and "Cold Care P.M." regularly when I have colds and flu.  There are a couple of good ginger-based ones, too, for upset tummy.  Like most herbal treatments, they are not intended to be a magic bullet or to immediately clear all symptoms; rather, they strengthen and tone the system so that the body can heal itself in particular ways. 

Throat Coat, on the other hand...okay, it's probably not intended to be a magic bullet, but it's served me as such.  A lot. 

The active ingredients are as follows:
Licorice root
Slippery elm bark
Licorice extract
Marshmallow root
Wild cherry bark
Bitter fennel fruit
Cinnamon bark
Orange peel

I think the last two are mostly just for taste, and I don't honestly know what bitter fennel does, but the first five ingredients are a powerhouse of soothingness for mucous membranes.  Licorice, Slippery Elm, and Marshmallow are for example well known mucilagenous herbs, which sort of put a very light coating of, well, goo I suppose (but it doesn't feel goopy or mucousy at all, as opposed to not using these herbs in which case you either have raw tissues or actual mucous or both) which protects and sooths the inflamed tissues and sort of helps the whole vocal mechanism function under really adverse conditions.  Wild cherry bark is usually used more as a cough supressant, but it also does it in a soothing and gentling kind of way.

I have gone from effectively mute to functional over the course of a few hours with this tea more times than I can count.  (I mean, it's not like I would go sing Azucena or anything, not that anyone has ever wanted me to, but I've been able to manage choral concerts and recording sessions.)  

If you hate licorice with an ungodly passion, you probably won't be able to deal with it.  It has a very delicate licorice flavor which I happen to really like, not overpowering at all.  And licorice is one of the naturally sweet herbs, so it doesn't have the bitterness of some herbal teas.

A note about brewing herbal teas: To get good medicinal use out of them, you must let them brew for the recommended 15-20 minutes, and you must cover them while brewing or all the good stuff will evaporate out of them.  Plus they'll taste yooky if you don't.

Enjoy!! (well, okay, if you have laryngitis you're probably not having too much fun, but you know what I mean.)
greenmama: (Default)
2009-06-30 09:53 am

Creamer woes

Okay, I didn't quite think it would be this big a deal.  But here I am in another greenage dilemma.

The initial motivation: now that I'm sort of drinking coffee again (I know, bad, but I love the stuff), I had been buying it at McD's or D&D's, spending money I didn't need to (two bucks a day, 20 days a month, not chump change when you do the math!), and drinking all the high-fat creamer and sugar they pump in there. And throwing away a non-biodegradable plastic cup when I'm done.

(By the way--at McDonalds, if you order their iced coffee, you can specify how much cream and sugar you want in it, and I always do, because the way they make it it's almost undrinkably sweet for me. I usually ask for two cream and two sugar, which means two big pumps of each from their machines.  I think if you don't ask, they give you four.  I'm sure they have calorie and fat counts on their website somewhere.  If you look, please don't tell me.)

My office has a Perpetual Coffee Machine. There's always hot brewed coffee, and it's not bad.  But I still like cream and sugar in it.  I don't want seriously perishable stuff like plain half and half, and I would love to be able to get sugar and cream in there together.  So I went looking at those flavored liquid creamers at the grocery store. (I already figured the powdered ones would have too much gross stuff in them, but maybe I'll check those out next time.) I did a comparison of "French Vanilla" flavored ones.

Big mistake.

Coffee-Mate: first ingredient sugar, second ingredient partially hydrogenated oils.
International Delight: first ingredient sugar, second ingredient palm oil (at least not hydrogenated--palm and coconut oils are more solid when cool), third ingredient corn syrup.
Lucerne: pretty identical to the Mate--sugar, partially hydrogenated oils.

It's been so long since I deliberately went looking for a processed convenience food that I forgot people still actually sell the hydrogenated stuff.

So finally, cringing, I picked up the little carton of Silk French Vanilla creamer to check it out. (I don't like soy milk.  I've tried, really, I just don't care for it.)

First ingredient: soy milk. (Promising.)
Second ingredient: cane sugar (not unexpected)
Third ingredient: Palm oil (also not unexpected)
After that, a bunch of thickener things like carrageenan and tapioca startch. Also half the calories of any of the big famous ones.

I bought it. It's not half bad. Pretty good, actually.  And in this office, no one's going to be swiping it even if I keep it in the general fridge, because soy milk still has a bit of "ick" factor around this barely-even-recycling, chop down the healthy tree because we don't like the way it looks, pump-the-a/c-down-to-72 office.

Silk. It's not just for crunchypeople any more. :-)

Oh, and P.S.--I also looked at the fat-free Coffee Mate.  First ingredient sugar. Second ingredient--you guessed it, partially hydrogenated soybean oil.  How can a "fat-free" product have oil as its second ingredient?
greenmama: (Default)
2009-06-29 10:32 pm

Another lovely dinner...Chicken Fajita recipe

We had another really nice dinner tonight, that took maybe 15 minutes to cook and left everyone happy.

Al had bought a rotisserie chicken the other night (this is what happens when I don't have time to go shopping, he goes when he's hungry and buys all this stuff I wouldn't buy...on the other hand, we got two good meals out of it, family of four.) and there was about one breast and most of a thigh worth of leftovers. 

Chicken Fajitas

Toss in a skillet on medium high heat: a little oil, some sliced onions, some sliced bell peppers; saute till just beginning to soften.
Season with a little cumin, garlic, fajita seasoning, whatever you've got.
Toss in cooked chicken, cut into strips. Throw into skillet.
Lower heat, cover and let sit till chicken is heated through.

Serve on tortillas (corn or wheat--we prefer corn) with salsa, lettuce, tomatoes, grated cheese, yogurt cheese or sour cream, and other fixins.

(Our kids ate quesadillas, tortillas with melted cheese, because they are too picky to eat anything else...)

Then for dessert I pulled out the ice cream maker and we had homemade chocolate frozen yogurt (i.e. I squeezed chocolate syrup into the plain yogurt) and raspberry sauce (recipe at ) for dessert.  Everyone was happy.

And our Roma plant has about 9 little tomatoes growing on it, and the cukes look like they're doing well...
greenmama: (Default)
2009-06-28 06:48 pm

Uses for Walnut Oil

My husband is a good man.  I have said this before.

Yesterday on impulse he spent some appalling amount of money buying fresh swordfish, which he promised to cook tonight.  A good thing, since I was wiped out from several hours of gardening this afternoon.  He starts the fish while I'm up taking a shower.

For some unknown reason, despite an opened bottle of olive oil, an opened bottle of grapeseed oil, and an opened bottle of almond oil sitting on the counter, he decided to go into my cupboard and get out the brand-new bottle of walnut oil I'd bought on sale and was keeping unopened to help its shelf life last a bit longer, and didn't really know what to do with it.  (He's always doing things like this: opens the brand-new bottle of walnut oil in order to smear half a teaspoon on the fish, buying a bottle of Karo light corn syrup--yuck--to use two tablespoons in a recipe, stuff like that.)  So now I have to figure out what to do with walnut oil.

God bless the internet, of course.

First of all, it's something that people with nut allergies need to avoid. (Fairly obvious, I guess, but there it is.) 

In cosmetic use, it seems to be a good carrier oil for massage or skin creams, and absorbs well.  The refined stuff has very little odor.  says that walnut oil "is an excellent emollient with moisturizing properties for dry, aged, irritated skin. In aromatherapy circles, Walnut Oil is also credited with being a balancing agent for the nervous system. " Commenters on that site praised its use to soothe sunburn, or as a slightly astringent oil for oily but mature skin.  Oddly, neither  nor, my two go-to places for such things, seem to carry it or have anything to say about it.  Other sites suggest that it is good as an antiparisitic or antifungal, for treating wounds, eczema, dandruff, and so forth.  Some sites say it has a shelf life of six months to a year; others say three to six years.  Several suggest refrigerating it after it's opened.

In cooking, or rather non-cooking, it's widely suggested as an oil for salad dressings or to toss pasta in and other such uses, since it sometimes gets bitter upon cooking and loses its delicate flavor.  It's high in omega-3's and antioxidants.

And interestingly enough, according to Wikipedia, painters in the Renaissance used it as a paint thinner and brush cleaner due to it's non-yellow tint.

Who knew?
ETA--okay, it was expensive, but that dinner was worth every penny.  Delicious.  In addition to the fish, I'd bought some boneless chicken breasts (fresh, organic, free range, which I don't do often) and we marinaded them in lemon juice, oregano, olive oile, and garlic and grilled them so the kids would have something they like and we'd have sandwich/chicken fajita/who knows makings for the next couple of days and can freeze anything we don't eat by Tuesday...Oh My God, the difference in flavor between your basic grocery store chicken and this organic free range stuff was unbelievable. Unbelievable. Wow.
greenmama: (Default)
2009-06-28 01:43 pm

The Business of Being Born

Last night I watched Ricki Lake's documentary, "The Business of Being Born."  Highly recommended for anyone who is ever going to have a baby, knows someone who might ever have a baby, or already had a baby but is interested in how the whole American birth thing has gotten pretty out of whack...

(I remember Ricki Lake back when she was new and fresh, in the pre-Springer days, when her talk show was just fun and happy and great to watch, before the entire genre went to hell in a handbasket and hell decided it didn't want them either and spat them out into some strange limbo existence...)

Lake has had two children--the first in the "typical" American hospital way, wherein she went in and didn't progress as the doctors hoped, got Pitocin, got epidural, got cascade upon cascade of intervention until she wound up with a highly medicalized delivery. Then her second time she went an entirely different route, home birth with a midwife.  She made a documentary about her research, a really good and balanced (okay, biased balance, but definitely fact-based and presenting differing opinions) look at what happens in hospitals in this country with the second worst maternal and infant mortality rate, and in this the only developed country where 70%+ of births aren't midwife-attended.  (With numerous interviews with my favorite birth activist, Robbie Davis-Floyd; check out her articles at )

Put it in your Netflix queue, or rent it at ...

Very good.

greenmama: (Default)
2009-06-24 11:38 pm

Pesto Yogurt Dip

Yummy dip for veggies...pretty healthy too!

1 cup yogurt cheese (make this by placing plain yogurt in a cheesecloth or muslin-lined colandar for several hours or overnight)
1/8 to 1/4 cup prepared pesto sauce (depends how much basil flavor you want!)

Mix. Dip.  That's it. And if you make your pesto without much oil in it, this is a really good-for-you way to be all indulgent with creamy dippy goodness.  It makes a nice sandwich spread, too...

greenmama: (Default)
2009-06-21 08:30 pm

Father's Day Breakfast--baked oatmeal recipe!

Okay, so we're doing Father's Day breakfast a day late, i.e. tomorrow, because I had to be out of the house at 6:45 this morning and Daddy would not have been so pleased.  So we'll do it tomorrow.  Scrambled eggs with onion and garlic, which he loves, and--

Baked Oatmeal

mix together:

  • 1.5 cups oatmeal
  • 1/8 cup oat bran (optional)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup applesauce (unsweetened)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • Few shakes cinnamon, ginger, and/or nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (opt)
  • 1/2 cup (or more!) dried fruit, like cranberries, currants, raisins, blueberries, whatever (add last)
Spread in 8x8 greased baking dish. (or 9x9, because that's what I have, it's just a little thinner)

Bake at 375 for 30-35 minutes.  Let cool. Cut into squares.

This is lovely and easy and even the kids will eat it--like a big soft oatmeal cookie thing, but with very little fat and lots of good stuff.   This is one I adapted from the Crockpot Lady, at --I discovered after the fact that this is one of very few things that's actually easier OUT of the crockpot.  But that will work too in a pinch--you just have to use a lot less milk. 

The real test will be whether we'll get our butts out of bed early enough to make the eggs...

EDIT: Okay, the oatmeal thing YUMMMMMMM.  With all the fruit in it I could have cut the sugar still more.  Look at the ingredients! Look how healthy they are!  Ohhh, it was yummy...
greenmama: (Default)
2009-06-18 11:57 am

Okay, this is scary.

AMA delegation seeks to code for non-compliant and ungrateful patients

(Fortunately, it was defeated...but that this could even come to the floor is appalling.)
greenmama: (Default)
2009-06-18 11:19 am

Natural deodorants?

For the past few years I have tried to avoid using conventional deodorants, the ones with aluminum chlorohydrate and other such compounds in them.  There are concerns in some quarters about those compounds being absorbed into the skin and not being properly flushed out, with possible links to breast cancer (hey, it makes sense when you consider the proximity of breasts to newly-shaved armpits!) and/or Alzheimers.

I tend to also be very leery of marketing, especially of natural products. (Like the whole "multigrain bread" thing--all they have to do is put a couple of grains of oat flour into their bleached white stuff and suddenly it's multi-grain. Harumph.)  So when I can find actual chemistry to support something, it makes me feel a little more confident.

On the other hand, my own knowledge of chemistry pretty much comes from tenth grade and two parents who are chemistry teachers. (My mom sometimes reads this blog...maybe she'll comment?)  So if they are blowing chem-talk up my smelly armpits, I won't necessarily know.  However, the below does sound fairly sensible:

Read more... )
greenmama: (Default)
2009-06-17 12:57 pm

Stomach flu is the pits

I have the flu. This time it's my stomach, and my equilibrium--dizzy spells every so often, for no apparent reason.

So it seems like a good day to share my favorite natural tummy remedy.

**note: only very rarely do I take any essential oils internally. They are extremely concentrated and can be harmful or sometimes fatal in too-large doses; most should never be taken internally at all.  Do your homework. And keep out of reach of your kids. **

Yucky Tummy Potion
Heat up a mug of water in the microwave

While it's heating, drizzle a little honey onto a spoon.

Onto the honey drop one drop each ginger essential oil and sweet fennel essential oil. (ONE drop each. Two max.)

Drizzle more honey over that. (This helps the eo dissolve a little; it is still very volatile and most will just escape into the air.

Stir mug of hot water with the honeyed spoon.

At this point you should have a lovely fragrant steaming beverage; inhaling the fumes is honestly about as helpful as actually drinking it, IMO, but it tastes lovely anyway.

And now I'm going to go make some more.
greenmama: (Default)
2009-06-14 01:14 pm

Lawn Mowers

When I was a single woman homeowner, I was fairly capable.  I could open jars, kill bugs, take out the garbage, mow the lawn.  Now that I am married, I am slightly ashamed to say that I've abandoned most of the above and slipped effortlessly into Traditional Gender Roles where all of those things are concerned.  However, I am not ashamed enough to actually volunteer to re-take any of those ongoing tasks again. (And my husband does do the vacuuming as well, and wherever cleaning is concerned I do most of the de-cluttering and the ongoing-keep-the-place-from-being-a-total-pit stuff, whereas he's much better at the "scrub it within an inch of its life" jobs.)

This post is specifically about the lawn-mowing stuff.  He, being a Guy and a Techno-geek, hated my old reel lawnmower because it was so much work to mow the lawn with it. He wanted to buy something easier.  And a gym membership. I was like, honey, wouldn't it make more sense to save the money and get your exercise mowing the lawn? (My credibility in the above was aided by the fact that I'd done exactly that for 2 years before marrying him, but strained by the reality that I don't any more.)

When we moved to our new home, with our nice big lawn, he kind of put his foot down. Okay, not really--he passive-aggressively allowed the reel mower to fall into incredible disrepair until it didn't work any more, and then he insisted we get a new one. (He's a good guy, really. I'm just annoyed.)  Where I put my foot down was that I didn't want us to get a gas mower. He agreed. And neither of us thought an electric with a cord was a good idea. So he (being Guy and Techno-geek) researched cordless electrics until he found the one he wanted.

So, the end result:
greenmama: (Default)
2009-06-12 09:53 pm

Weedless Gardening?

Tonight we went out to our truly annoying raised bed and the kids and I did a lot of weeding. This made me think again of the concept of "weedless gardening" that I really hope we can embrace in future years...

The basic principle can be found here; I love that the Goode Olde "Mother Earth News" that my crunchy parents used to read all the time is now a website, still going strong.

It's a good article, and the principles make sense.  The basic idea seems to be that you use a raised bed and just keep throwing organic matter on top of it all summer, as mulch (including grass clippings) then all fall and even all winter, and let it happily compost itself as it goes, so you don't really even need to fertilize your garden. 

We're going to need to do something about our landscaping next year; the raised bed is falling apart and the soil back there is just awful.  If we can get some basic landscaping done even in the fall, and then can throw dead leaves into it over autumn and just keep on feeding and feeding it, we may get some actual life in our veggies.  Admittedly, the weather has pretty much stunk this year, but our backyard plants are way too spindly and wimpy for mid-June--contrasted with the front yard herbs and flowers that are going gangbusters. It's that crazy silty soil; we added a ton of amendment to it, and this year at least tilling wasn't even an option, we pretty much had to--but even still it's not doing so well.

At least the peas are looking hopeful.  And the basil I started from seed is actually big enough now that it resembles basil...I'll have pesto this year!!

greenmama: (Default)
2009-06-11 12:55 pm

I found a kindred blog!

Okay, this is awesome:

Basically, it's a recipe blog, in which Nicole deVries develops healthy alternatives to lots of "typical" foods that normally come all processed and nasty.  She's onto my "substitute drained yogurt for mayo or sour cream" trick, which of course I applaud...

(Digression: last night we did chicken fajitas. I put a dollop of very drained yogurt on them with the salsa and veggies, and it honestly tasted JUST like sour cream, only way healthier.  Love it!!)

This is the blog's description:
Delicious Wisdom is a daily source for healthified, whole versions of useful and tasty recipes. We define 'healthy' as 'beneficial', so the idea is that almost every ingredient is going to do something nice for you. With that in mind, you won't find much meat, sugar, or refined flour here, though you will see all sorts of useful substitutions for them.

Go over there!  Lots of very yummy recipes to be found!