Thursday, April 26, 2012

Ginger Tea, A Natural Cold Remedy

This week has brought on one of the worst colds I have had in a long time. It has involved a excruciating raw throat, coughing, congestion, and just starting today sneezing and an uncontrollable runny nose. Yuck. I have also began to lose my voice, although I think some people have been thankful for that...

As with most things, something good has come out of it. I have learned that ginger tea happens to be a great natural remedy for the icky-ness in my throat. DH brought home a few pounds of fresh ginger from the Asian food market near his work for a ginger ale recipe we are going to try.

(Note: At grocery stores around here, fresh ginger runs around $5lb, compared to about $1 at the Asian food store. Until now, I have never used fresh ginger because of the price. Check out stores around you and you may find a great deal!)

Well, when I ended up getting sick the next day, he said that a co-worker suggested ginger and honey tea. Not only does it help rid your throat of the mucus, it gives you ENERGY! Exactly what I have been lacking these last few days. Now, I'm not quite sure if it actually gave me energy, but I do know my throat felt a whole lot better afterwards.

Image: hinnamsaisuy /

Since I had so much ginger, I simply peeled it with a spoon (way less waste!), rinsed, and put it in the food processor. Everything I had read online said to grate it, but I don't have a grater. Even if I did, I don't really feel up to grating 3lbs of ginger. So, I tossed it in there and it seems to have worked just as well. After it was grated, I put it in a freezer baggie and spread it flat. It freezes fairly well this way. Other methods I have read about involve measuring it out into teaspoons or tablespoons, wrapping in plastic wrap and freezing for individual servings for use in cooking, etc. I think I will do this next time, but once again, I didn't do it this time because I simply don't have the energy.

You can also just put the ginger root in a bag and place it in the freezer. I prefer to have all the work done beforehand though.

When it is frozen in the bag, I took it out and broke it up as much as I could. This way leaves some chunks bigger than others, but I don't really mind. I will use those in cooking.

Okay, back to the tea. Here is a modified version of the ginger tea recipe. I omitted the lemon juice so it wouldn't irritate my throat, and I used grated ginger instead of slices. I believe the grated ginger makes the tea stronger, so you may want to use slices instead. Personally, I like the tea strong. You will have to experiment with the amount of water you use. The first cup I made was really strong and I had to dilute it with more water.

Ginger and Honey Tea
1 tsp grated ginger
2-3 Tbsp honey
8 oz hot water
tea infuser

Place the grated ginger inside of the tea infuser, and let steep in the hot water. Add honey to taste.

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FarmGirl Friday

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Camping Snacks

My family is planning a canoeing and camping trip scheduled for the beginning of May, so I have been on high gear searching for anything and everything camping related! I absolutely love anything outdoors, especially canoeing/kayaking, hiking and camping. We would be kayaking, but we are taking the "boys" (Chewie and Boomer) with us, so a canoe it is! It will be a first for us. I have never even thought of taking dogs canoeing, but this is the only way we can take them camping and hiking without having to drive back home the two hours after the canoe trip. Let's just say, it's gonna be interesting! ; )

Now, normally for me, a camping trip involves a huge grocery shopping list which translates into a lot of money spent on what is supposed to be a cheap(er) vacation. Even at that, the meal plan always seems to revolve around hot dogs and sandwiches.

This time though, I have resolved to make all of our meals using food we already have at home. I LOVE to cook over an open fire! In my opinion, cooking is almost the best part of the entire trip, second only to long hikes in the woods.

I will share the recipes that I use on the trip when we get back, but I have one to share right now. I was searching the internet for easy, healthy snacks, when I stumbled upon this gem! I had a bag of quinoa in the pantry, but I hadn't ventured so far as to try it yet. I figured this would be a good first step. Quinoa is a great source of protein and fiber along with many other nutrients.

This recipes varies from the original. After I made it, I decided that I didn't want it as sweet, since we will be eating it on the trail. I reduced the amount of honey in the recipe and I will be doing the same when I make the second batch. I also doubled it, and used what I had on hand.

In addition as a trail food, this would make an excellent cereal or topping for yogurt.

Coconut Quinoa Granola

Coconut Quinoa Granola

2 cups rolled oats
2 cups chopped almonds
1 cup dried quinoa (I used white)
1 cup sweetened coconut
1 cup dried cranberries and apricots (or other dried fruit)
1/2 cup melted coconut oil
1/2 cup honey
2 tsp vanilla

Mix together all ingredients and spread on a baking sheet. Cook in the oven at 250 degrees for an hour, turning it occasionally to brown evenly. This makes enough to almost fill a gallon freezer bag.

Linked to:
Barn Hop #59 

FarmGirl Fridays 

Monday, April 16, 2012

Homemade Spinach Breakfast Burritos

It never fails. I get in the car after a long night at work and turn on the radio to keep from falling asleep. McDonald's or Subway, is always there to try to sway me to part with the money I just worked so hard to make. I try to tell myself that it's unhealthy, I don't need to spend the money, or that it won't taste that good. MOST of the time I win. But, I admit, sometimes in a moment of weakness I find the car making its way through the driveway. Almost as if it has a mind of its own. I honestly don't know how it gets there. But it does, and by the time I'm halfway home I'm already regretting the $7 down the drain and the extra 1,000 calories that I DID NOT NEED!

It would be so much easier to resist it if I knew I had something quick and easy to eat when I get home. Yeah, I could buy a bag of frozen breakfast burritos or egg sandwiches, but this is way cheaper. And tastes better. And I know what is in it!

Now, I did cheat a little with this. I'm a little ashamed that I didn't put the time and effort into chopping fresh peppers, onions, and potatoes, but since peppers are out of season right now it was cheaper to buy the bag of frozen peppers. I thought it was worth the time saved for the potatoes too. I did get the spinach out of my garden though!

Homemade Spinach Breakfast Burritos

16 Burrito sized tortilla shells
2 lbs browned sausage
2 dozen eggs
4 cups of diced peppers and onions, sauteed
2 lbs of diced potatoes or hash browns
12 oz Sharp Cheddar Cheese
Fresh Baby Spinach

Combine cooked sausage, potatoes, peppers and onions in a large bowl. Scramble eggs, then add to sausage mixture. Add the spinach and cheese, mix thoroughly. Spoon into tortilla shells and fold like a burrito. Place flat in gallon sized ziplock bags and freeze. Makes 16-17 burritos. 

Note: Don't forget to season the potatoes (salt, pepper, etc.) as you cook them. I forgot to, and it was difficult seasoning the entire mixture!

Not very pretty, but really tasty!

Fresh spinach adds a nutritious touch!

Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways #23

FarmGirl Fridays

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Frugal Reading

I absolutely love to read books. Especially the classics. My problem is, I never seem to have the time to read them, until lately. DH and I recently started listening to audiobooks. They're great! They are a great way to pass the time on long commutes to work (like DH), or during work if you're like me. In the last few months I have listened to more books on "tape" than I have read in the last year! (not counting textbooks of course!) Currently, I am listening to the Hunger Games Trilogy for the second time and Robinson Crusoe.

Everybody knows you can rent books from the library. Most of us have done that since we were kids. But I just learned that not only can you rent physical books (my favorite kind), but you can also download audiobooks and books to electronic reading devices! Now I may be the last one to know all of this, but I'm hoping that this may be news to someone out there!

Since we live out of town, I am going to have to shell out around $50 for a card. I am thinking that it will be well worth it though, considering it costs $15 for one book a month with my Audible account. I could easily go through two books a week! Even if I only rent one audio book a month, they will only cost a little over $4 each.

I also discovered that not only can you rent audiobook downloads, but you can also rent mp3s!!! Since I stock shelves on 3rd shift, I have to have something to keep my mind occupied and make the time go faster. I only wish I had discovered this three years ago!

This post is linked to:

The Homestead Barn Hop #58

Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways #23

FarmGirl Fridays 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Natural Insect Control

Lavender Guinea

Around these parts, it's an inevitable part of spring and summer. Ticks, fleas, mosquitoes, buffalo gnats, just to name a few. For me, the ticks are the worst.  Especially the Lyme disease carrying Deer Ticks. It's impossible to walk out the door without finding one crawling on your skin. And if you go in the woods? You're guaranteed to come back in, crawling with ticks. DH and I have come out of the woods, with literally hundreds of ticks, the size of a pinhead crawling on our legs! Not a pretty sight!

Since our homestead is situated on a hill, surrounded in woods we have a lot of trouble with ticks. For this very reason, for the last couple of years I have been considering getting Guinea fowl. Guinea fowl are native to Africa but are commonly raised here in the U.S. for insect control on farms. Typically they are allowed to roam free during the day, then put in the coop at night. Since they like to roost in trees, this helps keep them from being preyed on my night predators, such as owls and racoons. (I had no idea owls would attack guineas!)

Guinea fowl will also alert you to any intruders onto the property, with their loud screeching. Because they can be so noisy, it's probably a good idea to listen to them to know if you (and your neighbors) can handle the noise!

In addition to their tick eating abilities, they also will supply you with tasty little eggs, and you can also eat the guinea fowl meat. I have read it is comparable to chicken and turkey, although personally I have not tried it.

I have been getting really excited about my newest poultry adventure! Because of their noise, and the close proximity of our chicken coop to the house, I am planning on building a small guinea coop to house them further away from our homes.

Since guinea keets (babies) are not available through hatcheries until May or so, I still have about a month of waiting before I can place my order. Patience is not my strong suit!

Does anyone have experience with guineas? I'm really curious to hear everyone's adventures with them!

 This post is linked to:

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Can't Have Just One...

Well, they say you can't have just one, chick that is. Well this year, it's more like I can't have just one batch of chicks! DH and I were roaming around "the big city" last Saturday and stopped in at the farm and garden store to check out their selection of chicks. It just so happened that they had some Barred Rock and Araucana pullets on markdown for .50 and .75 each.

They were starting to get big (therefore not as cute) and they needed to move them. I am also raising a few miscellaneous bantams, Black Sex-Link, and Rhode Island Reds for some friends of mine. So I have a full brooder again!

If you didn't already know, Araucanas are nicknamed as "Easter Eggers" because they lay bluish colored eggs. They also have these adorable tufts of feathers on their faces!

Assortment of chicks. The two looking at the camera are Araucana chicks.

The tomatoes and peppers are well underway in the greenhouse! I have several varieties of tomatoes and peppers, along with a couple herbs. Once our low temperature in the greenhouse rises above 60* I am going to plant the rest of my herbs. Currently the low is in the mid 50's, which is pretty good, considering we have been having lows in the low 40's this past week.

Tomato Starts

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

April Goals

Tomato Starts!
Last month, I listed all of my goals for March in hopes that I would accomplish more than one of them for once! Out of my list of goals for March, I have fixed the greenhouse, started seeds, introduced the chicks to the older hens, built a chicken tractor, fixed the west pasture, and started not only a walking routine at home but also at work.

The goals that I did not complete were finding a good plot for the garden, although that will be tilled this weekend, ALL of my house goals (big surprise there!), and consistently posting weekly on the blog.

All in all, I feel like I did pretty good with the number of goals achieved!

Now for April's Goals!


- Till and Plant Garden

- Plant Herbs in the Greenhouse

- Put Gravel in the Greenhouse

- Plant six more apple and peach trees, and mulch them


- Build a vertical fence extension on the coop (more to come on that!)

- Start putting the new chicks in the tractor (also, more on the new chicks soon!)


- De-cluttering the house.

- Try out a monthly cleaning plan.

- Make an assortment of crockpot freezer meals.

- Make another batch of homemade laundry detergent

Personal Goals

- Exercise more! Get more strength and cardio in.

You may have noticed some are left over from last month! I am determined to get this house de-cluttered! What are your goals for the month?