Thursday, March 29, 2012

Chocolate Pudding with a Secret!

Rarely have I craved anything sweet lately, but THIS - THIS is different. This is HEALTH food...(grin). After school, Daughter is itching to bake and/or create something. So, I printed out this recipe from for her to whip up, and I do mean whip up because it takes just a few minutes to prepare. 

The secret to this chocolate pudding is that it's nutrient dense. That's right, chocolate pudding that is good for you. 

The following ingredients were added to our Vitamix, but I'm sure you could use a food processor if you don't have one:

1 can coconut milk
1 ripe avocado
1/3 c cocoa powder
1/2 c coconut sugar
4 dates (soaked in 1c water for 30 minutes)
1 T vanilla
1/4 tsp sea salt

We actually used 6 dates for ours, because they seemed smaller than usual. Don't forget to remove the pits and discard the soaking water. Blend for 3 minutes or so and either serve straight from the blender or chill and then serve. I had it both ways. Chilling make the consistency a little thicker.

Here is a link to the original recipe.

Enjoy the day-

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Free Food: Daylily Greens

This is one of those days when I hope I don't get the "What's for dinner tonight, honey", phone calls from Husband on his way home from work. He has been known to stop at a convenience store for a hot dog when dinner sounds less than appetizing to him.You see, it's not that he's opposed to trying new's just that...well, he JUST never knows what he's in for. Honestly, his life would be completely boring without me.

I've been planting the 'uncivilized' parts of our property with edible plants and weeds for the last couple of years, getting them to colonize. One of my favorites is the daylily. Now, WAIT!! Before you go cutting up your prized mail order daylilies - it's not just any daylily that you can serve for dinner.
photo credit

The one you want on your dinner plate is Hemerocallis fulva. You know the one, the one that seems to grow wild on the side of roads. Some say there are other kinds of daylilies that are edible, but it seems to be a little controversial, and things like that are not comfortable for me. I'll stick with Hemerocallis fulva. Daylilies, that's what's for dinner.

All parts of Hemerocallis fulva are edible, but in early spring, it's the tender greens that you're after. Collect them when they are less than 6" high for tender greens and the best taste.

After 6 inches, they are generally too fibrous to eat.

They go directly into the pan from the basket, no chopping. It just takes a few minutes for them to wilt in a hot pan with butter and salt.

Dinner is served: Great White Northern Beans with basil from last years garden, Brown Rice, and wilted Daylily Greens!

Enjoy the day-

Disclaimer: please note that the author of Blissville Living is not advocating eating any foraged plants without doing your own extensive research.

Ideas For Your Easter Table

A nestful of Orioles
Certain things seem to go hand in spring-type things and Easter. Even though Easter is a time to specifically remember our Savior and what He did for us on the cross, we seem to end up falling into the world's pattern of mixing in eggs, bunnies, and daffodils. And who doesn't love those things?

I guess as long as you can keep your eyes focused on the cross and not fixed solely on the bunny, you can still have fun decorating with spring-like symbols of this renewed time of year.

This year, we won't be doing a big family dinner with all the bells and whistles due to my detox, but that just gives me more time to dig up photos from Easters past and check out blogs for ideas for next year.

Here are some ideas to help pretty up your spring time table:

The table is set in our sunroom with pink and white.

Bunny Napkins - go here for the 'how to', it's easier than it looks.

This cake was made for a spring celebration for friends.
The pansies are actual pansies from my garden, painted with egg whites and dipped in pulverized sugar.
Completely edible and a great activity to do with kids.
Enjoy the day-

This post linked to Homestead Barnhop #55, Not Just a Housewife & Homemaking Link-Up

Friday, March 23, 2012

Detox Update

Two cycles of my detox are complete, leaving three more to go. According to my calendar, that should have things finished up by the beginning of May, right? WRONG. The last cycle didn't go so well. I had two days that were a little scary, my skin turned yellow along with the whites of my eyes. It lasted only two days, (thank you God). Still, we all know that THAT isn't good.

Earlier this week I reported in to my doctors office, who sent me for blood work before I can proceed with the DMSA portion of the detox. He called yesterday to tell me that my liver enzymes are high. Too much too quick are his thoughts. I'll have to wait three weeks and be re-tested. In the meantime, I'm to continue on with the other parts of the detox.

This is a little frustrating to me as this is pushing the detox well into summer, moving along at only half capacity. The good news is that I've been up and about, dressed even, although I move as slow as a sloth in July. A really tired sloth. Have you ever seen a sloth move in person? I have. Let's just say that it had moss growing on it...that's how I feel.

Slow as it may be, I'm up and down throughout the day. Which is good, because some of the burden can be lifted off of Daughter.  She is still making most of the meals and doing a great job. Her favorite thing to do is bake. Lately she's been on a Dory Greenspan kick, working her way through the cookie section of her cookbook.

Yesterday, I went out and enjoyed some of the sunshine...with my rake and hand trowel of course. I just had to uncover some of the perennials that still have fall leaves on them. I also planted some of the pansies my mom brought me last week. Here are some photos of the day:

Turtles out of hibernation, loving the sun.

Daylilies finally uncovered from the fall leaves.

Samson the Great taking a cat nap under the swing.

The girls drinking a little kefir. It's good for them. It's good for you too.

Basket of pansies and Lysimachia nummularia on the garden gate.
Enjoy the day -

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Dutch Baby Pancakes

Not much sounds good to me these days as far as food goes. One of the side effects of this detox is a lack of appetite and weight loss (poor me, right). Bananas and peanut butter are the few foods that sound good to me. Bananas and peanut butter, the same time, me and Elvis.

This morning however, my brain couldn't get over the thought of Dutch Baby Pancakes. With home canned apples. And cinnamon...oh, and some raw honey from the impossible to open bucket in the basement pantry (I'll need some man muscle for that).
We're still working on the 2010 batch of worth the time to can.
Out comes my autographed (ahem) Nourishing Traditions cookbook.

You see, I had dinner with Sally Fallon a couple of years ago. Ok, so it was a dinner that my friends at
Baldwin Brook paid for us to be at with Sally Fallon. But none-the-less, it was dinner and she autographed my book (I was the only geek with a book for her to sign). She was sweet and actually remembered talking to me via email during the 2008/09 CT raw milk legislation. She was a huge help to our state at that time.

Anyway, back to the pancakes. Even though the recipe requires soaking the flour with either kefir, yogurt or buttermilk for 12-24 hours. I couldn't go back in time to soak and I wanted these pancakes, bad. AND I didn't have the energy to grind flour either. BUT, I remembered that I had a bag of sprouted spelt flour in the freezer (since 2005? probably). This is a good compromise because sprouted flour is highly digestible and high in protein.

The recipe can be used to make several pancakes, but we prefer to have one big cake-like pancake. I use a cast iron skillet pre-heated to 400 degrees in the oven.

See how it starts to puff up over the top of the pan?
Flour, water, yogurt, eggs, salt and vanilla are whisked together with a fork. Pour half the batter into the hot skillet, add the jar of apples and top with the other half of the batter. This needs to cook for a bit...sometimes 45 minutes to an hour. Cook until the center is set. This pancake is not a normal pancake consistency, but is super yummy.

The exact recipe is on page 479 of Nourishing Traditions cookbook, which I highly recommend if you don't already have a copy.

Here's how I did it today:
1 c yogurt
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 c water
4 T butter
1 qt apples
cinnamon to taste

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees with cast iron skillet inside. Mix the flour, yogurt and water together. Using a fork, mix in the eggs, vanilla, and salt. Add the butter to the hot skillet. Pour in half the batter, add quart of apples and add other half of batter. Sprinkle liberally with cinnamon. Reduce heat to 375 and keep an eye on it until center is set.

-Enjoy the day!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Early Spring Tour

The next hard cycle of my detox starts on Thursday, but today finds me feeling almost like my old self. The weather feels mild, and the singing birds beckon me to wander about with my camera to see how things are going on this spring-like day.

I love to be outside. I love to get my hands dirty. It's in my genes, and it's usually ALL over my jeans. The first things that I see as I look around is WORK! W-O-R-K, and lots of it. It kills me because I WANT to do it, but it's just not happening today. I'm having toxic headaches these last few days, not really bad, but they increase as I move around. Fun garden work will have to wait.  I hear the voice of that monkey from Lion King whisper in my ear..."Look bee-yond what you see". I take his advice and look beyond the work to see the miraculous beauty of nature that God's made....for me to just take in and enjoy today.

One of my favorite early spring blooming perennials (give to me by my friend Carol K.) is Rock Cress (Arabis prucurrens if you're sassy).

Why do I love it? Pretty much because it's the first blooming plant in the garden, otherwise, it's a pretty inconspicuous plant. Evergreen foliage, early/long lasting white flowers, and tolerant of neglectful growing conditions. Neglectful? Yes, planted underneath a French Lilac Bush, soon the Rock Cress will be smothered from above and receive inadequate water too. For now, it's glorious, and makes a lovely little long-lasting bouquet.

The garlic bed is coming along nice, a little sparse, but I'm hoping that there are more garlic to still break ground.

 The mild winter has last year's kale looking exceptionally yummy. We'll be picking it for a good while this spring before it finally goes to seed. Red kale and curly kale are what we grow. Both are a family favorite sauteed with garlic in olive oil.


Canada Geese are happy this morning. Most people don't like them, but I love them. I love to wake up to their music every morning.

Today is our calendar day to plant the spring peas. Daughter actually reminded me and said she'd do it. This will be our fourth year of planting our own saved pea seeds. It is a climbing snow pea variety that is delicious raw or steamed.

My mom came by yesterday with a whole flat of pansies. Pansies can be planted early in zone 6, a lot earlier than people realize (like my mom, who didn't stay to plant them). By the time most people are ready to plant pansies, like May, it's time for them to bolt. They don't like hot weather, but will establish themselves nicely if you plant them now. Like today. Go. :)

-Enjoy the day.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Keeper of the Home, Jr.

Yesterday, I shared a very personal story of health that I haven't shared in complete with many people. The reason is because I hate to sound like a whiner. Because, honestly, I'm not trying to. Because, God has a plan and I'm all in.

There is a hero to this story, one that otherwise may go unnoticed because I've been the only one to notice. We've had a spontaneous promotion happen from a child to a young woman overnight. I've always referred to Daughter on this blog as Little T. She's not so little anymore, (she weighs as much as me), and she's been the one making sure I've made it through the rough days of this detox. Some days, I don't really remember. But I do know I'd hear a little voice in my bedroom several times an hour, saying, "drink, Momma". Not sure what would have happened otherwise.

She asked my in-laws for a bell to give me, so I could ring it when I needed something. I've wrung the bell. She likes it. I like it too.

She had many handicaps at the start. I was not prepared for just how sick this detox would make me, and I had not prepared her AT ALL to run this house. But she did her best. Here are some of the circumstances that have made this detox more difficult for her.

Free Range in the House
Several days before the detox was to start, we arrived home to find half of our flock of hens slaughtered by our neighbors dogs. Oh, my beautiful, beautiful girls. Three were dreadfully wounded and brought inside to be cared for (they recovered in two weeks with the help of Bactine in case anyone is interested). The cages needed to be cleaned and medicine applied daily. That meant if I couldn't do it, she had to.
Letting the girls stretch their legs a bit

No Refrigeration
Our refrigerator died. It still hasn't been replaced. So we've been using a college dorm sized one that Husband's had for years. It doesn't fit much in it, therefore,  you can't really buy a lot of groceries. We have a cooler with ice packs for overflow right now. That's been a frustrating source for her. You have to get on your knees to look in the fridge!

She's not been equipped to take care of a house. Can you believe this? Who do you think is to blame for that? Well, that would be me. I have a reason. Let me explain.

When I was a little girl, my grandmother taught me to crochet. Actually, no she didn't. My clumsy little hands would try to wrap and manipulate the yarn, pulling the hook through the holes and getting it stuck. "Grandmother, can you show me again how to do this"? "Ok, but pay attention", she'd say, using her skilled hands at warp speed to complete series of stitches that made my head spin. She'd pull the stitches out and hand it back to me, only to have me not have a clue. "Here, just let me do it", she'd say. And that's how I learned to crochet.

My grandmother could do anything, but she had a hard time teaching it. I vowed to be sure that I'd slow myself down enough to train Daughter to do all the things that a young lady should do. And she can. She can crochet, card and spin wool, cross-stitch, make jewelry, tend a garden, harvest and save seeds, you name it. But she can't do basic household stuff by herself. Why? Because she's a little clumsy. Oh, look, I candy coated that. Clumsy, like, hurt herself clumsy....or someone else. We also have problems with carelessness. Like, burn the house down, carelessness. When she's using a steak knife backwards, to cut sweet potatoes instead of a chef's knife, and it doesn't go well, she'll hand me the knife and say, "here, you do it". AND I do. Bad mother. My fault. Thank you Lord for bringing it to my attention. On my good days I'm spending more time coaching and less time doing.

No Plan
I left Daughter high and dry without a plan on what to do and when to do it. Between the animals, meals, cleaning, five hours of homeschooling (yes, five), taking care of the woodstove and wood supply.....she did her best. I was glad to have a few good days last week to help her plan her days and meals. Here's a picture of her daily list and meals.

She loves to check things off the daily list
When I started the second cycle, I felt better about laying down to be sick (joke), everything was put in motion....not only did Daughter take care of me, but she did most everything I would do. She pretty much is running from the time she gets up, until bed.

I'm thankful for the meals sent from friends, so is Daughter. It allows her to breathe a little in her day.

Please continue to pray for her; pray for personal growth, for her to be safe in her tasks, continued enthusiasm, and an occasional break.

And we know that God uses all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Raynaud's Cure?

Maybe or maybe not. That question can't be answered right now. Right now, I'd like to share where I've been and where I am now with Raynaud's and my health in general. Sharing not for sympathy, but with the hope that others can be helped through this. That's how I've mainly learned to deal with Raynaud's, by listening to others who have it via the internet. My hope is that someone out there can benefit from this story.

9 Years Ago
At the time, I was working as a motivational weight loss speaker. My job required me to dress to impress, no matter the weather. It was winter. I waited for a bus in below freezing weather wearing four inch heel boots with just nylons on under them. The bus was to take me to a part of a campus for the lecture, and this cold day it took forever. I remember not being able to get my feet warm again for hours that day, and when they did, my toes looked a purpley-black. I was sure I got frost bite. That's what I called it, because it needed a name.

Years Two And Three
When the weather turned cold in September, my toes would turn that same purpley-black, and wearing my normal shoes became painful. Yet, sweet vanity trudged on in the same just-for-looks shoes trying to keep the pain off my face. My feet were colder than cold, to the bone. A cold I really can't explain and it lasted until May each year. Three pairs of socks was the usual uniform. Nothing could make them warm. Trust me, I tried it ALL.

Years Four Through Six
This is where it started to get ugly. The colors went from purpley-black to near black...and sores on my toes. Walking became a chore and was difficult. It started in September, and didn't heal until May. I gave up shoes and wore slippers most of the time or socks with sandals. This fashion girl had a big slice of humble pie on a regular basis. I finally decided to sell my boot and shoe collection that filled my closet on ebay. Why keep them? Although they were lovely to look at.

By this time I had been through three different doctors. Raynaud's Disease or Reynaud's Phenomena was the diagnosis. I need to mention how stubborn I am when it comes to medication. I'm not going to take prescription drugs if I can find a better way. The options were very limited with mainstream medical.

At least now it had a name. A name that evidently many people were familiar with because if the topic came up about my embarrassing looking shoes...or if I felt the need to explain them (that's just how I am), I could blame them on Mr. Raynaud's. Then, I'd hear, "cold hands and feet, huh". I would just smile and nod, because as I learned on the Raynaud's site, I happen to be in the .5 trillionth of the percent (not really, I just don't personally know anyone else) of people who are affected beyond just cold feet and hands. At this point, my hands and face were affected as well, but not as severely. My face and hands would turn super white like all the blood left them and my lips were blue during the 'bad' season.

Year Seven
Year seven brought along an interesting twist. It was fall and I had on the usual arsenal of socks and big cloggy looking slippers, when all of a sudden, my feet started to get warm. I pulled the socks off to see red-swollen feet. I thought Raynaud's was over! NO! This started the symptoms of Erythromelalgia. Yes, boys and girls, now warm bothers me as much as cold. Erythromelalgia, AKA, burning feet (for real).
Here is info from one site:

It is diagnosed when the extremities are red, warm and painful- the pain is often described as burning. This pain is only relieved by cooling (often in cold water) or the elevation of the affected extremities.
Great. Relieved by cooling. Which brings on the symptoms of Raynaud's...which, in order to save the toes from falling off, I need socks....which brings on the Erythromelalgia. You get the picture. Relief could be found in the months of July and August. Why? I can only guess because the temps are more even day and night?

Natural Doctor
Enter a lovely naturopathic doctor. We gave her a great big chunk of my husband's paychecks and in return, she was able to bring some relief. CoQ 100, major amounts of fish oil, c, d, e, f (I made that last one up), alpha lipoic acid, resveratrol, cayenne, ginkgo...more supplements than food is what I consumed everyday. But still, my brain wanted to go, and do, and run, and I felt compromised. I pushed myself constantly, only to be laid up for a period of time after. Lovely doctor was able to help me wear shoes again. Expensive ugly shoes, but shoes none the less.

By the way, I should mention that all these years I STILL have gone, and done and ran as you can read on this blog... I just move slower than most.

Summer 2011
The warm weather made the Burning Feet almost unbearable. Walking was out of the question. It's like having your feet on fire. Something had to give. I'd given up all the 'normal' stuff as far as food goes over the years trying to be healthier. Nearly everything my family consumes is homemade, and we DO NOT buy into the 'organic' processed foods. If we can't make it, we don't buy it. But there was one more card I was holding back that needed to go. It was Memorial Weekend, and I woke up in the middle of the night with one thought....COFFEE. The coffee needed to go and anyone with Raynaud's knows it. BUT, coffee. My beloved, warm, morning greeting. How could I break up a 20 year love affair with coffee? Just do it. And I did. And that's when everything got worse. You see, it seems that coffee, was holding my life together. No energy at all and a feeling of being run down and constantly sick set in permanently.

Winter of 2011
This winter has been relatively mild for our part of the country. Husband also installed a wood stove which gives the house a radiant feeling heat. Life was ok as long as I stayed in the bubble. Then, pneumonia from November until January. I know I'm not a spring chicken, but I'm not ready for a soup pot either. How could this be?

I called a doctor that had treated Daughter when she was a baby. He's a kinesiologist and naturopathic doctor. It takes an hour and a half to get there, but he's a smart guy and I figured my last hope before I resign myself to this is just the way things are.

He actually seemed concerned and not just data collecting. Tests were ordered for hair, blood and six hour urine tests. The results were; heavy metal contamination (most severe being lead, thallium, and nickel), low thyroid and adrenal function, hypoglycemic, and many other critical nutritional deficiencies, along with high auto immune markers. Really? The report has much more to say than that...doesn't seem like an easy fix, but God is in control.


So that brings me to today. The word 'detox' is a lovely little word, isn't it? It's where the movie stars go, isn't it? No, it's not. And it's not pretty. It's pretty ugly in fact, and downright painful. At least this detox is.

Five, fourteen day DMSA detox cycles (I'm currently in my second one), along with daily detox of the alimentary canal, and lots of other supporting supplements. It's the fourteen day detox cycles of DMSA that are killing me. Cover your eyes if your squeamish. Vomiting, headaches, high fever, liver pain (that's right, angry liver), sleeplessness, and muscle aches. Four out of the fourteen days are not so bad and I'm able to attend to daily duties somewhat. A good friend told me that on my good days I shouldn't be cleaning house, but man-o-man. I've just got to.

Prayer Requests
Please join me in prayer for my family during this time.

Daughter has instantly become the 'woman' of the house, (more on that hopefully tomorrow),and I pray that she'll not lose interest in her new job and that she'll be CAREFUL not to hurt herself. Husband's job has him working late most nights, so that puts her on her own A LOT.

Husband has a high stress job and then has to come home to this. Pray for him to easily meet the requirements of his job and be able to come home at a decent time.

So how are things going right now? Today is day six of fourteen and I'm still in bed for most of the day, very weak after this last cycle, but at least I feel like turning the computer on today. Believe it or not, my feet look nearly normal most of the time! As you can see in the photo below, I have quality nurses checking on me constantly.
Follow along on the progress of this detox and my quest to end Raynaud's, subscribe or check back regularly.