Welcome to Marmee's Pantry

Welcome to Marmee's Pantry

Friday, April 24, 2015

Horehound Herb


 When I label my herbs,
I also note what they are used for.
When I was a little girl, my Bigmom (maternal grandmother) lived with us. What blessing she was ~ always pleasant, always a wealth of stories and wisdom. She taught me how to spread-up a proper bed, to iron clothes, enjoy coffee, tell a good story, enjoy a good story, to treasure my elders, to enjoy my greens, how to pick the best strawberries, how endearing the sound of a wonderfully creaky rocking chair can be. She tried desperately to get me to like hominy, but she did teach me that there's nothing for a sore throat like horehound "candy" as a cough drop. And if I could find a source, I have always gone to horehound as my favorite cough drop. Fortunately, when I don't make them, I can get them at my favorite bulk food store. That sweet-pungent taste not only brings relief, but it brings back so many heart-warming memories of my Bigmom.
Now, as I have gotten into medicinal teas over the last several years, horehound herb often finds it's way into a sore throat tea. Now, granted, the tea is an acquired taste. It can be a little bitter, so you may want to make sure you have a little bit of honey to go with it . . . and local honey has it's own immunity-building benefits.  Horehound herb is renowned for it's immunity building, it's amazing ability to clear your lungs and bronchial passages, flushing your lungs of mucus and allowing for a very productive cough.

A favorite way that my family makes our horehound tea is to make a simple blend . . . 

You will need:

~1/4 ts. horehound 
~1/2 ts. peppermint OR spearmint 
~a couple small dried olive leaves, crumbled 
~tea ball 

Directions:

1) put herbs into the tea bal
2)let it steep good and strong for 10-15 minutes (depending upon how bad your cough is), 

. . . add honey and sip while it's still nice a warm. Use as often as you need to . . . KEEPING IN MIND that the TEA (NOT the drops) can also be used to detox the kidneys and bowls, which means that using a lot will make you have to potty quite a bit and it can cause slightly loose bowl movements. So, it is wise NOT to drink too many cups back-to-back. 
 Full disclosure ~
these drops came from my
favorite bulk food store
Horehound cough drops are very easy to make. 

You will need:

~2 oz. dried horehound herb
~3 c. water
~3 1/2 c. brown sugar, tightly packed
~powdered sugar (*optional*)
~medium cooking pot
~fine mesh strainer OR cheese cloth
~parchment paper
~dish/plate
~glass container with lid

Directions:

1) In your cooking pot, bring the horehound herb and water to a boil
2) Once it boils, remove from heat, cover and let it steep for 25-30 minutes.
3) Using the strainer OR cheese cloth, strain as much of the decoction out as you can, pressing on the leaves or squeezing the leaves in the cloth
4) Put pot back on low heat, add the brown sugar and cook, stirring nearly constantly, until you can make a hard ball (take a spoon and get a small sample of the "syrup," drop it into a cup of COLD water; if it makes a hard ball, it's ready)
5) Spread parchment paper onto a dish/plate (some people spray it with grapeseed oil ~ optional) and carefully pour the "syrup" and let it cool
6) oil OR butter your hands and shape the candy into balls; if you like, you can flatten them into disks
7) lightly sprinkle with powdered sugar (*optional*)
8) now let them cool completely
9) store in a glass jar with a lid
10) use within a month

Don't forget to leave a comment and let me know how well these horehound herb remedies work for you.

Blessings from Ohio . . . Kim<><       

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Homemade Shea Butter Soap


For years, I made our own glycerin or olive oil soaps. Our family tends to be on the oily side, so glycerin can help with that. 

Well, it has been quite a while since I've made soap because I had to go back to work outside the home back in 2010 . . . so, today, with the help of my dear friends Balinda & Sherry, we decided to try something different and we made soaps with shea butter. It is a process that is very much like making glycerin soaps. SO VERY EASY and no lye to mess with.

You will need:

~shea butter soap block
~various essential oils (today we made rosemary & peppermint, cinnamon and real vanilla extract)
~various herbs and spices (today we used chamomile, dried rosemary and crunched cinnamon sticks)
**you will want to have these already crunched-up BEFORE you are ready to add them to the melted soap because the soap will start cooling immediately**
~soap molds
~mortar and pestle 
~glass/pyrex measuring cup
~small whisk or spatula
~cooling rack

Directions:

1) cut shea butter block into small chunks
2) put chunks into the measuring cup
3) heat in a microwave beginning with 40 second intervals and then down to 10 seconds until chunks are completely melted
4) while soap is melting, crunch-up any herbs/spices you wish to add with your mortar and pestle
 Obligatory mug of tea never
too far away ;-)
5) QUICKLY add the herbs, spices and essential oils that you wish
 
6) with your spatula or whisk, quickly and thoroughly blend all ingredients
7) pour into molds
8) let sit, IN THE MOLDS, for an hour
9) after an hour, pop soap out of molds and onto a cooling rack
10) let soaps cure on the rack to 2 weeks
11) after 2 weeks, carefully trim the "uglies" off of the edges of your soaps and use, wrap or store as your wish.

**NOTE** We ran out of molds for the amount of soap we made so we tried something I'd never done before ~ we put cupcake wrappers in a muffin pan (since you can't push the soap out from the bottom of a muffin pan), that way we could simply lift the soaps out once they had sat for the 1st hour, and it turned out amazingly well. Paper peeled off nicely and the soaps will have those nice ripples from the papers. Sorry I didn't get photos of those. 

Leave a comment and let me know what you think.

Blessings from Ohio . . . Kim<><

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Homemade Reflux/Gurd Help


I have suffered from severe reflux for years. About 10 years ago, I was diagnosed with Ileitis ~ my symptoms in short are that I can drink something as mild as water and get reflux. :-( I was on several medications and finally got off of them by taking papaya enzymes after every meal. Works great, but I'm always on the lookout for something better.
Recently, I pinned a quick little recipe on Pinterest that was just coconut oil and frankincense essential oil. You know . . . just one of those "some day" pins.

My dear friend, Balinda, actually tried it to help wean herself off of her Rx. Well . . . she said it actually works! So, not having the time to whip it up until today, I have been taking a ts. of coconut oil with a drop of frankincense on it. Wow. I like it! 

So, today, I made the actual fluffy mix. And I have to say: So far, so good! And the recipe is easy-peasy and you know how much I like that.
You will need:

~small mixer (I only used 1 mixer blade on my little hand mixer for this small amount)
~small mixing bowl
~1/2 c. UNrefined coconut oil
~24 drops frankincense essential oil
~small spatula
~small glass container with lid
Directions:

1) mix the coconut oil into a creamy whip
2) add frankincense oil
3) blend with spatula
4) spoon into glass container
5) take 1 ts with each meal or as needed
Leave a comment and let me know how your LOVE this!

Blessings from Ohio . . . Kim<><

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Word-Filled Wednesday ~#142~ Proverbs 31 Pressure

"A wife of noble character who can find?
She is wroth far more than rubies. 
Her husband has full confidence in 
her and lacks nothing of value.
She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life . . . 
She gets up while it is still dark;
she provides food for her family
and portions for her servant girls . . . 
Her husband is respected at the city gate,
where he takes his seat among the 
elders of the land . . . 
She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her
tongue . . . 
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is
fleeting;
but a woman who fears the LORD is
to be praised.
Give her the reward she has earned,
and let her works bring her praise at
the city gate."
~selected verses from 
Proverbs 31
{emphasis, mine}

"Don't regret growing older. It's a privilege denied to many." ~Unknown 

I may stir up a little controversy here, but think about what I'm going to say . . .

As of this writing, I am 56 years old. My adult life has been, as has many others, a mix of good and bad ~ blessings and heartbreak ~ privilege and service ~ honor and humility. If you are a young woman, these "gifts" of life will be a part of your story as well. A story that will develop over time.

While talking to a dear friend today, our conversation reminded me of how, as young women, we (and possibly our husbands and others in the Christian community) put so much pressure on ourselves to live up to the Proverbs 31 Woman. Young women are thinking that they are failures because they can't do it all RIGHT NOW. Well . . . you're NOT failing, you're just rushing the process. NOT to say that you shouldn't do your best, you're just rushing the process. In this conversation, I spoke to my friend about a truth I discovered several years ago, at a time when I thought I was failing as a young wife and mother: 

**The Proverbs 31 Woman was OBVIOUSLY an older woman! Not only that, but she had household servants!**

How was I supposed to "compete" with that?!

Have you ever REALLY read the passage? Did you ever notice that? Let me show you:

she provides food for her family
and portions for her servant girls . . .
 
She IS NOT doing everything all by herself. Now, as Scripture clearing states, she is NOT lazy, but she is an older woman who is over-seeing a large, established household and directing her servant girls, and children, as to what to do and how to do it. On top of that, she is humble in her leadership and takes good care of her servant girls.
 
Her husband is respected at the city gate,
where he takes his seat among the 
elders of the land . . .
 
Here's another clue as to her age: Her husband is no spring chicken ~ only the elder, respected men in community leadership sat at the city gates. And in this case, not only was she a respected older woman, but her husband was a man who was old enough and respected enough to sit with the wise men at the city gate. This is where people of the town would come for advice, wisdom and to have minor disputes settled. Any disputes that they couldn't settle went to court. Only the most respected older men earned the right to sit there.
 
She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her
tongue . . .
 
If someone is seeking wisdom, they naturally go to an older, trusted person for wisdom, advice and instruction as to how to do something. This woman obviously has a well-established (over time) reputation for wise and faithful instruction.
 
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is
fleeting;
but a woman who fears the LORD is
to be praised.

Another sign that this is not a younger woman is that her lovely, outward beauty has started to fade and is now being replaced with the artful lines of age and experience, along with the glow of godly wisdom. And those who know her compliment her godly character.

Give her the reward she has earned,
and let her works bring her praise at
the city gate.
 
Her life of godly wisdom, instruction and character, the care she gives to her family, her hard work, her care for others, the way she instructs and cares for her servant girls has had such an impact upon those who know her and the community she serves, she is even praised among the wise leaders at the city gate ~ bringing much joy and pride to her husband who is also at the gate. 
You see . . . This is a reputation that was earned over years of godly service, hard work and some of the perks that age may bring to us. We may not have servant girls in this day and age, but we do have "household servants" in our kitchen appliances and household gadgets and machines that we use. And we do the very best we can with what the Lord has blessed us with.
 
So, if you are young wife and mommy, please DO YOUR BEST with what you have and what you know at this time of your life. If you need wisdom, first, go to God's Word. Second, go to your mom or if that's not possible, another godly older woman and develop a Titus 2-type relationship with her. Glean from her godly wisdom ~ everything from serving your family, cooking, frugal living, homeschooling, crafts, home-based business, home remedies, herbalism . . . and cover everything in prayer. God will answer those prayers.
And DO NOT put so much pressure on yourself to be the Proverbs 31 Woman so soon in your young life. This is a position that is GROWN INTO. Live your life for the Lord and for the good of your family and in service to others as best as you can. Before you know it, YOU will be 56 years old and wonderful young women (and others) will be coming to you, asking you questions, reading your blog :-D observing how you live and love, wanting to know how to do what you do.   
 
Blessings from Ohio . . . Kim<><

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Veggie and Pasta One Pot Meal


I'm a busy person. Aren't you? I'll bet you are. And as a busy person who is also trying to take care of my family and myself, trying to be a good example to our girls, trying to be pro-active in keeping ourselves healthy, trying to keep up with all the things that STILL need to get accomplished on top of my work schedule . . . there's nothing more rewarding than an easy, healthy, easy, yummy, easy, satisfying, easy meal. Oh . . . and it's easy! :-D 

I was recently given this recipe and I tried it last night. WOW, it was so good. Of course, I tweaked it a little to accommodate my family (as always ~ lol) and it is yummy. This would be such a great campfire meal, too.
You Will Need:

~1 large cooking pot/Dutch oven
~4 1/2 c. water
~1 lb pkg spaghetti (ziti would probably work well; I use gluten free pasta)
~2 small OR 1 large zucchini, thinly sliced and cut into quarters
~2/3 c. fresh OR frozen peas
~2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
~2 sprigs of fresh thyme OR 1 1/2 ts. dried thyme
~Kosher salt and pepper to taste
~1/3 c. grated Parmesan OR Asiago cheese
~1/4 c. heavy cream (**I use rice milk because of DD#2's daily allergy and it works just fine)
Directions:

1) In the large cooking pot, combine everything EXCEPT the Parmesan cheese and heavy cream (milk).
2) Bring to boil, stirring to separate the spaghetti.
3) Once it boils, reduce heat and simmer, UNcovered, for 10 minutes (or directions on pasta package), stirring occasionally.
4) Once pasta is cooked through and tender, stir in the Parmesan cheese and heavy cream (milk). **No draining necessary.
5) Serve hot
6) ENJOY!

You have GOT to leave me a comment and let me know how much you LOVE this meal.

**NOTE** Next time I make this, I'm going to include cut up boneless, skinless chicken breast.

Blessings from Ohio . . . Kim<><

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Word-Filled Wednesday ~#141~ Be the One


"Now on His way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As He was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met Him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, 'Jesus, Master, have pity on us!'


"When He saw them, he said, 'Go, show yourselves to the priests.' And as they went they were cleansed.

"One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus' feet and thanked Him ~ and he was a Samaritan. 

"Jesus asked, 'Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?' Then He said to him, 'Rise and go; your faith has made you well.'" ~Luke 17:11-19


"I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it si to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living  in plenty or in want. I can do everything through Him Who gives me strength." ~Philippians 4:12-13

I treated DD#2 and I to a take out lunch from our favorite little cafe' in the historic area of our little town. When I went to pick it up, I was having a nice conversation with the owner and she said, "You are always smiling." 

To which I said, "I try live a grateful life. The Lord has been good to me and things could be much worse. Someone is always suffering somewhere. We have to enjoy something everyday." And after some quick thought, she agreed.
At times, I think about this leper. The grandest part of this true story is not just that he was healed, but he was healed by Jesus ~ God in the flesh. How incredible to have looked into his eyes ~ eyes that have see eternity; to hear his voice ~ the voice that simply by speaking causes worlds to exist and sin to be forgiven; to be touched by the Lamb of God, the ONE and ONLY Son of God, the long-awaited Messiah

The thought brings tears to my eyes and makes me shake my head in wonder and amazement. 

"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, Who does not change like shifting shadows." ~James 1:17

Every good thing that happens to us, every good thing that comes our way ~ ALL OF IT ~ is a gift from our loving God. Our salvation is a FREE GIFT from God (Eph. 2:8), paid for by the precious blood of His sinless Son, Jesus.

How can we NOT be grateful? How can we NOT be lights that shine in this dark, sinful world? 

Be the one. Be the one who shines. Be the one who brings a smile to someone's face. Be the one who encourages. Be the one who brings the good news (Romans 10:15). 

Be the one who goes back and says, "Thank You, Lord."
Blessings from Ohio . . . Kim<><

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Icky-Sticky Grease Cutter


Just in case you don't know, I live in an old house. The original part of the house is 170+ years old. Of course, there have been many, many up-dates through the years and even some of those up-dates are old

For instance, my range cover. The "dear" (eh-hem) old people who lived in this house for about 40 years before us, merely "up-dated" (and I say that with MUCH GRACE) simply to make it livable for themselves. In the 17 years we've lived here, each time we repair or improve something we find out just how good God has been to us, in that, this house hasn't burned down over our heads! 

One of the "improvements" that came with the house was an old range hood with the obligatory over-the-stove light and exhaust fan . . . only . . . we can't use the exhaust fan because it goes up into my cupboards and into the wall. 

*sigh*

And without an exhaust fan, all the icky-sticky grease from everyday cooking attaches itself onto the stove back splash and the exhaust hood. 

Over the years I have used commercial cleaners, grease cutters and my own homemade soft scrub, which only go "so far." My soft scrub is one of my favorite cleaners but it is, admittedly, better for counter tops, sinks, tubs and showers. 
Earlier today, I had a EUREKA moment ~ I was making some of my homemade toothpaste and while pouring in the hydrogen peroxide, I thought, "why not try this with some baking soda on the range hood?" I grabbed my hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, mixed them in a shallow dish, wet a sponge and went to work . . .

WELL! . . . 
Sure enough! Not only did it completely whisk away the icky-sticky greasy crud from my range hood like butter . . . but . . . it also got the formerly unremovable grease marks off of the tile back splash!!!!
Looks like new. I am tickled pink.

Just had to tell you. So, leave me a comment and let me know how much you LOVE this cleaner.

Blessings from Ohio . . . Kim<>< 

Friday, April 3, 2015

Good Friday's Great News


A lot can happen in just three days . . .
Have a blessed and meaningful Resurrection Sunday!

Blessings from Ohio . . . Kim<><

Chicken Fried Rice ~ Yes, It's THAT Good!


If you enjoy Chinese food, you probably have your favorite place to go. Seems that some of the best places are not the big chains, but are the little hole-in-the-wall places that, lo and behold, are actually run by Oriental people. 

However, one of the drawbacks is that many of these restaurants use MSG to season and add flavor to their foods. Not good. Fortunately, our little local place doesn't use it and, if your favorite restaurant does, you CAN ask that they leave it out. 


One of our family's favorite dish is Chicken Fried Rice. When you have that "taste" for Oriental food but just don't want the breading of Sweet and Sour Chicken, or don't want a slurpy noodle dish like Beef Lo Mien, Chicken Fried Rice seems to always be the go-to dish. And NOW you can make it at home.

I just made some last night and I have to admit here that I tried something a little different that I liked, but wasn't a favorite for the family (sigh), so I'll probably go back to my original way of making it. Either way, to me, it is SO good!


You will need:

~skillet OR wok
~3 c. prepared brown rice (1 c. uncooked brown rice, 2 c. water, 1/4 ts. sea salt. Bring to boil, stir, lower heat to low, cover, let cook for 50 minutes)
~1/2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts; cooked & diced into bite-sized pieces
~1 c. frozen peas and carrots (here is where I tried to switch things up last night - as you can see in the photos - I used a frozen mix with peas, carrots, snap peas and whole baby corn)
~1/4 c. chopped green onions
~2 minced garlic cloves OR 1 ts. garlic granules
~2 eggs
~3 TB. sesame oil OR grapeseed oil
~1/4 c. Bragg's Aminos (a healthy substitute for soy sauce, ESPECIALLY for men)


Directions:

1) Prepare rice according to the above directions ~ should be approximately 3 c. when cooked
2) Heat oil in skillet OR wok on med-high heat
3) Add onions, peas and carrots, and garlic and stir fry until veggies are tender
4) Crack eggs over the veggies and let them cook/scramble as your stir them throughout the veggie mix
5) Once eggs are fully cooked and blended, add the rice and chicken, gently stir until it is all evenly blended throughout
6) Add the Bragg's Aminos and stir through
7) Enjoy!

Be sure to leave your comment and let me know how much you love this dish.

Blessings from Ohio . . . Kim<>< 

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Homemade Paleo Sandwich Bread


THE Man is dealing with some health issues that are result of a car accident he was in about 7 years ago. It is truly amazing how he came out of being T-boned with mostly scrapes and bruises . . . but as of roughly 3 years ago, he is suffering more from the results of the accident now than then. 

Some of these issues have even affected what he can and cannot eat. As the Lord would have it, we began eating largely what is "prescribed" in The Daniel Plan about a year ago. It is very close to The Paleo Diet and interchange very well with each other. 

Recently, he has had to go through some extensive medical tests because, even though he is a generally healthy guy, he is developing arthritis in the top and bottom of his spine, as a result of that wreck, and it is causing other problems. He started walking with a cane when he has to be on his feet for more than a few minutes because of the pain. So, while our Dr. and other specialists are looking into things a little deeper, he has been told to modify his diet a little more.


 My Paleo sandwich bread
is a yummy dark color.

One of the things he needed to change was bread. Last year I started making my own Ezekiel Bread and only make our old standard (and favorite) flax bread occasionally. :-( So, looking into what he can and cannot have, I found (and modified O:-) ) a Paleo-type sandwich bread . . . and . . . HE LOVES IT! 

Please note, that as with ALL Paleo-based breads, it DOES NOT rise very high. But it is VERY tasty. 

You will need:

~an 8"x3" bread/loaf pan (so that, since it doesn't rise very high, you will have a fuller-shaped loaf)
~2 medium mixing bowls
~electric mixer (hand-held works best)
~whisk
~vegetable oil (I prefer grapeseed oil)
~3/4 c. organic almond butter
~2 TB raw honey
~1/4 melted coconut oil
~6 eggs (brown, farm fresh are best)
~1/2 ts Bragg's apple cider vinegar
~1/4 c. ground flaxseed meal
~3 TB coconut flour
~1 ts baking soda
~1/2 ts Celtic sea salt (preferred)


Directions:

1) preheat over to 350 degrees (F)
2) grease loaf pan (I use grapeseed oil)
3) in a mixing bowl, with your mixer, mix first 5 ingredients until there are no lumps
4) in the other blowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients
5) Combine dry ingredients in with the wet
6) pour into the greased loaf pan
7) bake for 35-40 minutes
8) once baked, let cool for about 10 minutes before you let it cool the rest of the way on a wire rack
9) Enjoy!

Please leave a comment and let me know how much you enjoy this.

Blessings from Ohio . . . Kim<><
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