Today, I made a delicious tooth powder!  It's simple, fluoride-free, and aims to polish off all that plaque-causing gunk.  Oh yeah, and it only cost $1.25 to make a cup of tooth powder... that's ~200 uses!

Okay - I have (almost) nothing against toothpaste.  I'm not well-versed on the great fluoride debate, and I'm simply unsure about the purpose of glycerin (a sugar) in toothpaste... 

I just like making my own products.  And Julia Roberts (remember that smile?) says she only brushes with baking soda and salt.  So there.  Good enough for me.  Let's get to, it shall we?

 
 
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Last week, I was a vegetarianThis week, I bought whole fryer chicken, and stretched its galline goodness as far as I could. 

The three stages are simple: 
Roast, Leftovers, Stock

By using all available parts of the chicken, we honor its death, nourish our bodies, and spend our money wisely. 


 
 
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Quick and dirty recipe - homemade tempeh salad!  Delicious, nutritious, easy.  Like many lovely things in life.

When your immune system is struggling, protein and greens are the ultimate combination.  When your energy is low, quick meals are a godsend.  Ta-da!  Tempeh salad, at your service.

Now, you don't have to use homemade tempeh, but I highly, highly recommend it.  It's less expensive and more delicious.  Plus, how cool is it to ferment your own tempeh?!?  Way cool.


 
 
Oh, the humble dandelion.  Dandelions are so under-appreciated in our age of pristine grass lawns!  I'll save the lawn rant for another day - for now, let's appreciate the glory of this well-known 'weed'. 

Dandelions are edible and medicinal, and easy (so easy!) to find.  Their uses range from wine to salads to medicinal tonics, and they are perfect to harvest this time of year.
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One of spring's first blooms, down by our creek bed.

Spotlight on Dandelion

Common dandelion (Taraxacum officinale), gets its name from the French 'dent-de-lion' or 'lion's tooth', and is related to chicory and wild lettuce.  Dandelion leaves, flowers, and root are all edible, and are also useful to make herbal remedies, especially tonics for liver and your overall health.

 
 
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There's Bessie!
It's finally happened.  I caught the raw milk bug.  Yep... I'm into it.

Ask anyone who knows me - I can be stubborn.  Alternative health and food trends often leave me skeptical at all the hype.  It took me 3 years to start drinking kombucha, and another 4 months after that to even research its health benefits.  Now, I'm so 'into' it that I make my own kombucha.

So how did I become a raw milk convert? This morning I got an email from a local dairy owner, offering a (raw) milk share from her soon-to-be lactating cow, Bessie.  Shares are about $3.50/gallon, 50 cents more than the local organic milk I've been getting from the grocery store.  Usually the cost (and having to drive 30 miles pick the milk up) would be enough to tip the balance towards store-bought. 

But... I looked at the pros and cons between store-bought and farm share, and raw milk won out:


 
 
Wellness is physical and mental.

All things cycle, and we all go through natural emotional lows.  Sometimes, though, these lows can make it hard to even function, let alone be proactive about feeling better.  At times like these, we just need to take care of the basics.
The Icarus Project, a radical mental health network, published a wonderful poster by Sophie Crumb - "Taking Care of the Basics".  I reference this gem often, especially when my mental/emotional wellness is starting to tip off balance.  It's a great reminder of basics that are too easy to forget.

 
 
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Thick, creamy, a lil' tangy... yogurt cheese is incredibly versatile.  You can use it simply as a thickened 'Greek' yogurt, as labneh, as a spread for crackers & bagels, with fresh fruit, as a substitute for cream cheese, a base for sour cream dips, and even as whipped cream, cheese cake, & cake frosting (or so I hear).  Plus, it's probiotic!

Yogurt cheese is, undeniably, one of life's finer pleasures.  Personally, I like it with garlic, cracked black pepper, and sea salt.  I use this spiced yogurt cheese (yog-eese? chees-urt?) as a spread on crackers - delicious!

Best of all, yogurt cheese is extremely easy to make.  Let's give it a shot, shall we?


 
 
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A month or so ago, my mom gifted me a giant bag of rolled oats.  I've been waiting for a reason to use them, since oatmeal really isn't my thing.  Well, yesterday it happened - I finally ran out of granola

I adapted this granola recipe from one by the ladies at the Hell's Backbone Grill (a women-owned, Buddhist, local and organic restaurant in Boulder, UT).  'Brown Betty' granola is hearty and subtly maple-flavored, with lots of almonds. 

And yes, I have had Ram Jam's "Oh Black Betty (bam-a-lam)" running through my head for the last few days.


 
 
Here in the Rocky Mountain foothills, spring pulled a sneak attack.  All sorts of growth erupted from the earth, which means I can get back to foraging for wild edible and medicinal plants.

In December, Morgan gifted me with a trio of useful books:  The Forager's Harvest: Edible Wild Plants, Identifying and Harvesting Edible and Medicinal Plants, and a homemade native plant observation journal.  Awww... so sweet.  But I've been waiting all winter for our native plants to revive so I could actually use her gifts!

So, without further ado:  Today's spotlight is on mullein!

Spotlight on Mullein

Mullein (Verbascum thapsus) - also called Golden Rod, Shepherd's Staff, Cowboy Toilet Paper (awesome) and about a million other names - is from the Snapdragon family and is best known as a medicinal herb that aids coughs.

 
 
Lately, it's been kind of hard for me to fall asleep.  Since I need 8 hours of sleep to be a happy, sane human, actually falling asleep is kind of important...

Time to open the herbal medicine cabinet!  I based this tea recipe on a blend by a wonderful herbal apothecary in my area, and used what I had around the house.  It makes a warm, relaxing sleep aid tea you can drink before bedtime.
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Ingredients:
~ 2 parts lemon balm leaf
~ 2 parts catnip flower/leaf
~ 2 parts skullcap leaf
~ 1 part lavender flowers
~ 1 part passionflower flower/leaf

+ 2 parts oatstraw (I didn't have any, but if you do use it!)



 

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