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How to Freeze Sweet Potatoes

Let’s freeze them sweet potatoes shall we.

We, aka my husband, harvested our purple sweet potatoes recently and we ended up with more than we expected.

Unfortunately, we don’t have a basement or a cellar that we can store these bad boys in so, I had to get creative.

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First thought was, let’s can these beauties.

Then I did some research and found that while canning sweet potatoes was definitely an option, the only real way to use them after they were canned would be to mash them up.

Sweet potatoes are already a softer potato than let’s say russets or red potatoes. And because we MUST can them in a pressure canner for a specific amount of time, which is 60 minutes for pints and 90 for quarts, it produces a very soft well cooked potato.

This just wasn’t gonna work.

We love to eat our purple sweet potatoes for breakfast mixed with bell pepper and onions and garlic. So……..

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Second thought, let’s freezes these little suckers.

This method was slightly time consuming but well worth it. We have our potatoes ready whenever we like and have more options when cooking them, then just mashed potatoes.

This process requires cooking the potatoes just before they are done, so it does take a bit of time to complete. Make a plan to spend some well worth it time in that lovely kitchen of yours. Y’all ready to get cookin’ and freezin’?

How to freeze sweet potato

Things you need:

Big pot

Steamer basket or you can use a pressure cooker, if that tickles your fancy.

Cookie sheet

Parchment paper

Spoon

Directions:

  1. Wash your potatoes well.
  2. Fill your pot with a few inches of water and turn on high heat. Place your steamer basket inside.
  3. Put your potatoes inside your pot and cover.
  4. Cook for about 15 minutes or until potatoes are just cooked.
  5. Allow them to cool. Take your spoon and gently scrap the peel off the potatoes.
  6. Then cut potatoes into desired size and place on cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  7. Place your tray in the freezer for 20-30 minutes.
  8. Remove tray from freezer and place in a labeled freezer bag or container of your choice.
  9. That’s it y’all!

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How to use frozen sweet potatoes

Use your potatoes just like you would store bought frozen potatoes.

We like to heat them up in a skillet with some bacon grease. Then we caramelize some onions and some red and yellow bell peppers. Mmm it’s delicious.

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Hope y’all enjoy your harvest.

Don’t forget to check out our sweet potato baby food recipe.

Happy preserving!

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6 Herbal Remedies for Cold and Flu Season

Herbal remedies for cold and flus

It seems like every year the cold and flu season gets more and more intense. And every year, you get the flu shot being shoved in your face harder and harder.

Is anyone else tired of feeling like you have no control over this situation?

I know I am.

So, let’s go over six herbal remedies to help us fight back with confidence and gain control over our own life. Shall we.

I think first and foremost we shall discuss…

Essential oils.

These little bad boys are the foundation to all things in our house. We use them daily. When it comes to an ailment, it’s no doubt that they are the first thing that pops in our heads as a solution. Especially for colds and flus. Let’s break down some oils.

Oregano: This is a must when you start to feel anything come on. Oregano has incredible immune boosting properties that help fight off feelings of colds and flus with in the first symptom if caught early enough. It has a chemical component called carvacrol, which is a monoterpenoid phenol. This phenol contains antioxidant properties that provide your body with an army to help fight off any seasonal threats. 

To use:

You can add 1-2 drops in a veggie capsule, 1-3 times a day. Or if you are feeling brave and want to grow some hair on your chest, you can put those drops right under your tongue. But believe me, from experience, do the veggie capsule. Or you can also put 1-2 drops in a tea. But again, oregano is a powerful oils with a powerful taste. 

Onguard: This oil helps protect against seasonal threats and provides your body’s system with enough strength to stay healthy and stable. This oil is a must have. It is a beautiful blend of Wild Orange Peel, Clove Bud, Cinnamon Leaf, Cinnamon Bark, Eucalyptus Leaf, and Rosemary Leaf/Flower. 

To use:

You can put 1-2 drops in a veggie capsule and take 1-2 times daily. Or simply add to your diffuser, 3-4 drops can be enough to cleanse the air. You can rub on the bottoms of your, or your kids, feet. ***Be sure to use a carrier oil when putting oil directly on your skin. Carrier oils can be, fractionated coconut oil, almond oil, regular coconut oil or even olive oil. You just want another fatty oil to help protect your skin. 

Breathe: Oh mama, this oil will maintain feelings of a healthy clear chest and nasal cavity. This oil contains a delicate blend of Laurel Leaf, Eucalyptus Leaf, Peppermint Plant, Melaleuca Leaf, Lemon Peel, Cardamom Seed, Ravintsara Leaf, Ravensara Leaf. 

To use:

Simply diffuse in your diffuser. You can also rub on your chest, neck, and bottoms of feet. ***Remember to use a carrier oil. ***Do not take this oil internally.

Black seed Oil

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This is not your basic essential oil in traditional form. Black seed oil is derived from Nigella Sativa, a common flower found in parts of Asia. This oil is the mother of all oils. It has such powerful healing properties that it should be taken daily twice a day to maintain overall health. For more details on black seed oil head on over here.

We take this daily, however, we will up the ante if one of us gets any symptoms. I will vouch for this stuff protecting me against the stomach flu. Let me tell y’all a little story…

The last two years, both kids had the stomach flu….AT THE SAME TIME, EACH YEAR. This mama was downing black seed oil like none other. And I never got the stomach flu. This year, however, when my son got it, I followed my same routine and survived. But then my daughter got it a few weeks later and I skipped the black seed oil on the second day of her being sick. Because I was like, “Oh I am sure I’ll be fine.” And…..BAM

I was down for the count in the worst way possible. 

Never again y’all, never again, will I skip out on my black seed oil. I use this stuff when I have stomach issues, heart burn, anxiety… it is absolutely incredible. You can find it on Amazon. 

***Full disclosure, it tastes like diesel oil but I swear you get used to it and it actually starts to taste good, don’t judge me. You can get the capsules, but more times than not, they add stuff to their capsules to keep preserved or it is diluted. We would rather down something that tastes like diesel oil and know it is in its purest form than to question what else is in it. That’s just us.

To use:

Take 2 teaspoons daily for maintenance. Add an extra dose if you feel something coming on or want to avoid a seasonal threat. 

Elderberry

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Again, elderberry is just one of those incredible medicinal herbs that provides your immune system with this insane army to fight off evil. 

Elderberry comes from the European Elder tree. They are these tiny little dark purple berries that NEED to be cooked down to be consumed. ***Elderberries are known to be “possibly unsafe” to eat raw. So be sure when making your own syrup you use caution and knowledge to keep you and your family safe. (1)

This is one of those medicinal herbs that is a powerhouse for ALL sorts of things. From cold and flu to cancer. When taken at the first sign of a symptom, it can cut the duration of a cold or flu by four days. That is insane. 

For more in-depth detail about elderberry join me here my friend. If y’all want to make your own syrup follow me here. Or, wanna make elderberry gummies? And lastly, if making it doesn’t tickle your fancy, no problem homie, this is the brand we use when life gets to busy and we gotta buy it. 

To use:

For adults, take 2 teaspoons daily for maintenance or 2 teaspoons up to 4 times a day when fighting off something. For children, give 1 teaspoon daily for maintenance or 1 teaspoon up to 4 times a day when fighting something. 

Nasal Rinse

Nasal rinses can be extremely beneficial for upper respiratory issues, congestion, colds, allergies. It is used to help support these conditions by cleansing our nasal cavity of unwanted toxins. Nasal rinses can also be used to help protect against sinus infections by using a saline solution with the proper salt concentration of 2-3.5%. (2)

To use:

Buy your self a neti pot or nasal squeeze bottle. Usually these come with a saline that has the proper concentration. We dig on the squeeze bottle, it’s just easier for us to use. Follow the directions on the package for best results. 

Here is a gnarly nasal rinse solution recipe, head on over here and check this one out. This is the mamba of all rinse solutions that works insanely well. 

 

Real Flu Shot

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This is the kind of flu shot y’all want to be taking. It is jam packed with intense, beautiful ingredients that will provide your immune system with a kick in the ass to get back into gear. 

This shot is filled with garlic, ginger, honey, lemon, water, and cayenne pepper.

Did you cringe a little? Don’t…

It is intense but dude, I guarantee that if y’all do this flu shot you’ll thank me in the morning. This bad boy knocks all the bad stuff out of your system because the bad stuff cannot survive with all this goodness in your body.

Head on over here for full recipe.

To use:

Take immediately when you feel a symptom come on up to two times a day.  

Tea

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Doesn’t tea just make everything better?

Especially if it is jam packed with mother natures goodness. This tea is just absolutely beautiful. It contains all sorts of incredible medicinal herbs and the properties they contain help your body relax, giving it the ability to heal itself. 

Head on over here for our tea recipe. 

To use:

Brew up a beautiful batch, cozy up and sip while reading your favorite book. 

That’s it y’all. Use one of these remedies, use them all, it is up to you. We use them all in some sort of fashion, most of the time. It just feels good to arm your body with the proper weapons to help heal itself. 

Are you gonna try a remedy? We’d love to know which one you tried and how it worked for you. Leave a comment below. 

Happy healing!

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How to Harvest Lemongrass

 

Ahhh lemongrass, how you smell so fresh and lively.

If you have never experienced lemongrass, I highly suggest you run right out and find yourself some and take a big fat inhale.

You will immediately feel ten pounds lighter in energy. Lemongrass has this incredibly clean, bright uplifting smell that can change your mood from crappy to dancing on roof tops within seconds.

Seriously.

Let’s talk about growing and harvesting lemongrass shall we.

Growing Lemongrass

Lemongrass, Cymbopogon Citrates, is incredibly easy to grow. It is a sub tropical plant, so it thrives in full sun and in warmer climates. If you can’t find yourself some already established plants, you can head on over to the grocery store (usually specialty stores) buy yourself some lemongrass, put it in some water and let it root on its own. Once roots appear, you can transplant it and….

BOOM SON, lemongrass be growin’.

Lemongrass is a huge fan of well drained soil. It grows to be tall grass like bushes, so be sure to give it some room to spread out. We planted our lemongrass at the top of our herb spiral and it just loved every ounce of life. If you are wondering what the F an herb spiral is, head on over here my friends.

Harvesting Lemongrass

Harvesting lemongrass is super easy. You want to make sure you allow the plant to grow at least 12 inches high before you harvest. Try and harvest lemongrass before the leaves turn brown. But you know what, life gets busy and I am here to tell you, it is going to be alright yo, if you have a few brown leaves just throw them back into the compost.

The cycle continues, right.

Anyway, there are a couple ways to cut the leaves to harvest. One way, the way we did, is to cut right above the stalk part of the plant. You know right before it gets thick toward the bottom. This method allows you to wrap the leaves easily. The second method is to cut the leaves all the way, leaving about 2 inches of plant left above the soil. This gives you a large portion of the stalk, which you can use for cooking, (stews, stir fry….) and with this method it would be best to hang dry.

Shall we go over both drying methods? I think so too.

Lemongrass wraps

Now let’s talk wrapping these mofo’s. Wrapping is super convenient for making tea. We discovered this method from Big City Gardener. You simply just take a little wrap out, place it in a mug, pour hot water and BAM….

Delicious lemongrass tea.

Ok. Let’s do this. First you want to harvest your herbs in mid day when they have had time to dry up from the morning dew. Always give your lemongrass enough time to grow, so allowing it to at least reach 12 inches high is best.

Cut your leaves above the stalk. Remove all brown leaves.

Rinse and allow to air dry completely before wrapping them.

Now take a small handful maybe about 10-15 leaves….Oh, and gloves might be a wise choice. Lemongrass is a bit sharp.

Wrap the leaves around your hand and twist the leaves so they bind together.

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Make a fist and hold the beginning of the wrap in your hand and simply twist the leaves and thread them through the loop you made with your hand. Twisting the leaves just allows the leaves to stay together and thread a bit easier.

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Continue to twist and loop through until all your leaves tighten into a wrap.

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Don’t worry about the loose leaves that refuse to twist and wrap. Just consider them rebels and still appreciate what they are going to do for your soul!

Place these wraps on a screen and allow to air dry anywhere from 2-6 weeks.

Once dried place in an air tight jar or bag, label, date and enjoy!

Loose Leaf Lemongrass 

The second method is incredible easy as well. Simply cut your lemongrass down to the stalk. Make little bunches and tie the stalk end with twine. Hang in a cool dark place for 2-6 weeks.

When done drying, you can throw the bunches in a food processor or high power blender and grind just enough util it gives you a loose leaf tea consistency.

You can use by placing a spoonful or two in a tea steeper and enjoying.

That is it y’all. Incredibly easy to grow and harvest lemongrass.

How do you enjoy lemongrass?

Happy harvesting!

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Homemade Dog Treats

 

Well homemade dog treats is kind of misleading. These dog treats are made out of chicken feet. Wait, let me correct that, they ARE chicken feet. Just dehydrated.

Should I change the title of the post? I mean, they are homemade and they are the perfect treat for dogs.

Ah F it. Homemade dog treats it is.

If y’all didn’t read the last post about our chickens, take a gander. We unfortunately had to get rid of our chickens sooner than expected. These ladies were our first major step towards our homesteading journey and our intention was to love them, allow them to be chickens and then they would provide us with food at the end of their production.

The time had come and even though we tried to chicken out, literally, we stuck to our intention and butchered our first chickens. A more in-depth post on our experience is coming soon I promise. It was nothing like we expected. It was harder than we ever imagined.

But let’s get on with our dog treats shall we. Unfortunately, the only salvageable part of our butchered chickens were their feet. Again, a more in-depth post will come soon.

Their feet, being the only thing we were able to save, were dehydrated and made into perfect dog treats for our pup Angus.

It was super simple to. Ready to hear how to do it?

All you need:

Dehydrator

Chicken feet…….obviously

All you do is:

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  • Soak chicken feet in a bowl of water over night. This helps get all the dirt off their feet.
  • After soaking run under water and scrub feet with a bristle brush. Using soap is not necessary. Be sure to scrub off as much dirt as possible.

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  • Next, you want to clip off their nails.

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  • Bust out that dehydrator of yours and lay the feet on a tray.
  • Now, turn that bad boy on and let it go for about 24-48 hours. Or until they become super crispy. You will know they are ready when you try to bend a toe back and it breaks off without bending. If it bends, even a little, let it keep going. I think ours actually took about 3 days.

***Small tip, plug the dehydrator in the garage if available. Not like the dehydrator is super loud but it can be annoying to listen to after about an hour. In the garage, it’s away doing its bad boy thing.

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That is is y’all. Super easy and your pup gets insanely delicious healthy treats.

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Happy dehydrating!

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We Are Being Forced To….

….Get rid of our chickens.

This past week has been a series of unfortunate misunderstandings that has resulted in us having to get rid of our chickens. It all started with our neighbors dogs and ended in someone reporting our chickens to our HOA.

Even though we cleared up the unfortunate misunderstandings there is no turning back for our chickens. No matter how much we step it up and go out of our comfort zone to connect with people and let them know who we really are, the end result will stay the same.

Our chickens have to go.

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We knew this day could come. But after two years and no one ever being bothered, we thought we would be fortunate enough to experience the full cycle of what it means to feed our family with food that we respected, loved and cared for everyday. In our heads we knew these animals were going to end up on our dinner table. But…

On our own terms.

Not being forced to do it with in a time frame. There is prepping to be done, mentally and emotionally. But now there is this pressure to hurry up. We brought these chickens into our home with the intention of them providing us with food. They would provide us with fresh eggs and when production of eggs slowed, they would then provide us with food to feed our family. We knew this day would come. We knew the intention. But….

On our own terms.

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There is a strange feeling that fills our home at the moment. A strange feeling of uncomfortableness that we are not ok with. Our home is the one place we have that allows us to be us. That allows peace to fill the air and love to fill our souls. Our home is a place where we can live a very simple life. A life that is loud and quiet all in the same moment. Our home is where we decide what is ok and what is not. Where we are not forced to do anything.

But they took that from us.

There are not suppose to be deadlines in our home. There is not suppose to be someone looking over our shoulder wondering what we are doing. There is not suppose to be this strange feeling of unsettledness. And yet there is. But because someone did not want to stop and think rationally or respectfully. And through their actions of rage, we got stuck in the middle.

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We knew that chickens were not allowed in our HOA. We get it. But you have to understand, we are meant to provide for our family. And the way we want to provide for our family is filling their bellies with the purest most loved food in the world. And these four little ladies have been apart of our family. We have cared for them. Lived with them. Watched them grow. We allowed them to be chickens. We allowed them to experience the sunshine on their backs. We allowed them to dig and scratch for bugs. We gave them a life that was filled with love. We gave them a life that was filled with respect.

I am going to miss the way they waddled over to the front of their coop when they saw me coming. They started my day and they ended my husbands. And reaching into their nesting boxes and pulling out, sometimes warm freshly laid eggs is an experience that never grew old. They taught us more than we imagined. Our journey will end with them soon. And we will be one step closer to our homesteading life style as we respectfully and mindfully process these ladies. They will fulfill their purpose of feeding our beautiful family with food that was pure, happy and loved.

As we are forced to bring this inevitable day sooner than expected. We thank these four ladies for providing us with fresh beautiful eggs everyday. We thank them for teaching us what it means to care and love the food we eat. And we thank them for a life filled with chicken happiness. And if you don’t know a life that has been filled with chicken happiness, I suggest you go get yourself some beautiful chickens.

Thank you ladies.