Monthly Archives: August 2012

Old Fashioned Pop Corn Balls



It’s Elderberry Time ~ Making Cough Syrup and Tincture



I can’t tell you how much I have looked forward to harvesting the elderberries this year! I was diligent about pruning this spring ( I cut it back almost 40% and pulled up all the rooted suckers to give away) in anticipation of having more fruit. The two bushes outdid my expectations. If there was one herbal remedy that I really want to make and use year after year, this is it.

Sambucus canadensis is one of those “medicine chest” plants.  Soothing ointments and eyewashes can be prepared from its leaves and flowers.  All parts of the plant have been used for various complaints over the years. The leaves can be rubbed on skin as an insect repellent. Cuttings of elderberry are good for activating a compost pile. All the way around, it’s a wonderful plant that I’m happy to have as part of our edible landscape.

Health Benefits:

Elderberry is used for its antioxidant activity, to lower cholesterol, to improve vision, to boost the immune system, to improve heart health, and for coughs, colds, flu, bacterial and viral infections and tonsilitis. Bioflavonoids and other proteins in the juice destroy the ability of cold and flu viruses to infect a cell. Elderberry juice was used to treat a flu epidemic in Panama in 1995.

Elderberries contain organic pigments, tannin, amino acids, carotenoids, flavonoids, sugar, rutin, viburnic acid, vitamin A and B and a large amount of vitamin C. These, including quercetin, are believed to account for the therapeutic actions of the elderberry flowers and berries.

Elderberries were listed in Mosby’s Nursing Drug reference for colds, flu, yeast infections, nasal and chest congestion, and hay fever. In Israel, Hasassah’s Oncology Lab has determined that elderberry stimulates the body’s immune system, and they are treating cancer and AIDS patients with it.

Elderberry is SO POWERFUL when used against colds and flu I decided to share both syrup and tincture recipes here.

Making Elderberry Cough Syrup:



There are several commercial brands of elderberry syrup available commercially but it is much more cost-effective to make it, and you can control all the ingredients it contains. It can be used preventively or for acute symptoms, and children should love the taste.


  • 1 cup fresh or 1/2 cup dried organic elderberries (minus stems)
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup raw local honey ( I only used 3/4 cup)
  • 1 organic cinnamon stick, 3 organic whole cloves, and organic ginger (optional)

Place berries, water, and spices in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes or until a syrupy thickness. Smash the berries to release remaining juice and strain the mixture. Allow liquid to cool. Stir in raw honey only after it has really cooled to preserve the enzymes and good living food in the honey. This will last for 2-3 months stored in the fridge.

Note: Do not use for children under the age of one due to the honey.

For easy removal of the berries from the stems, don’t waste your time picking them off ~ just pop them into a freezer bag and freeze them. Once they are frozen for a day or two, they will become brittle and fall off practically all by themselves.

As a society we have gone outside the home for most of what we need and want in our lives. To mix homemade and homegrown into as much of our lives as possible – even in the littlest things – can change so much.

I encourage you to consider planting edible landscape such as currants, aronia berries, elderberries, and red raspberries. You can have your own ‘medicine chest’ right in your own backyard. Yes, you can, with a little planning, research, and hard work!

I am not a doctor, and do not share this as medical advice;  it is something that has been practiced for hundreds of years. Both Pliny the Elder and Hippocrates mentioned and recommended elderberry as a medicinal herb in their writings.

20 Great Frugal Skills — and How to Get Them

Independence is at the heart of frugality. The more that you can do for yourself, the less you have to pay others to do those things for you. But to be independent, you need skills. Follow this link to learn more:

Ear Infection Remedies for Pets



My Levi is such a good boy. He loves to be active and loves to chase his ball. Now that he is getting older (hard to believe he just turned 6) I find he is getting a few more ear infections than usual. I try to prevent them by making sure his ear are clean and dry when he come out of the water but sometimes you just cant stop one from coming on.

This is a common problem with dogs who love the water or floppy eared dogs. My GSD Abbey does not have this problem thankfully. This is what I use to dry out his ears and help clear out ear infections. Remember, before you try any remedy make sure your pet has at least seen a vet to make sure it is not something more serious such as ear mites!!

Ear Infection Remedies for Pets

by Dawn Forster

Do you have a pet that suffers from the occasional ear infection? It’s frustrating for you as an owner because the infection is often difficult to deal with and rid your pet of. It’s even more frustrating for the pet, as it causes them to continually scratch and fuss with the affected ear and is just plain uncomfortable for them.

These types of ear problems will affect both cats and dogs, but more commonly is an issue for our canine friends. Ear infections are often pretty easy to spot as in addition to noticing your pet physically scratching and rubbing its ears, the infection often is accompanied by a dark, waxy substance inside the ear and carries with it a horrible smell. The cause of the infection could be a number of things such as a yeast, or fungal infection, ear mites, and unfortunately those dogs with floppy ears and/or fur inside the ear canal are particularly at risk.

Another sure-fire way to an ear infection is a dog that loves to swim. Retrievers and other particular breeds are naturally drawn to water and as a result it’s difficult to keep them out of the pool, pond or lake. Pets who enjoy their regular swimming sessions are prone to ongoing ear infections as a result of the water that gets into their ears.

You may not be able to stop them from taking that regular dip, and you probably wouldn’t even want to, but you certainly can take action to prevent those nasty ear infections. Regardless of the cause of your pet’s occasional ear infection, make sure that you clean your pet’s ears on a regular basis. Use a solution of 50% Vinegar and 50% Water and insert the solution into the ear canal. Gently massage it in and use cotton balls to clean out any debris. (This is also the same cleaning protocol you would want to use when your pet actually has an ear infection prior to administering any type of treatment.)

For those of you with the regular swimmers, mix a solution of 1 cup of Water, 2 cups of Vinegar and 1 tablespoon of Rubbing Alcohol. Pour the mixture into a spray bottle and squirt it onto the outside of the ear canal once or twice per week and after every swim. You can also use this solution applied with a cotton ball to clean out the inner part of the ear. The alcohol in the mixture will help to dissolve wax, whereas the vinegar creates an acidic environment that will not allow yeast or bacteria to grow in.

Home made Chicken Nuggets with Honey Mustard Sauce



I’ve done the baked chicken thing a few times in the past, but we went all out this time and fried these guys up. My fear of frying has been completely conquered, though for other reasons I still try not to do it too often. At the end of the day, sometimes it’s worth it – even the best baked chicken doesn’t compare to fried in my experience. This recipe is fairly simple: the chicken is brined, then coated in egg whites and a panko mixture before it hits the fryer. In just a few minutes, the nuggets are crisp and golden brown on the outside and super juicy inside. We served them with honey-mustard sauce, it was pure comfort food.

One of the nice things about this recipe is that you can make a ton of nuggets all at once (the recipe doubles without a problem!) and freeze the leftovers. They make for a super quick and easy future meal – all you have to do is bake them for 15 minutes. After all the horror stories I’ve heard about chicken nuggets, I’m a big fan of making them at home and knowing exactly what goes into them 🙂

Homemade Chicken Nuggets with Honey-Mustard Sauce
from Cook’s Country, October/November 2010

Chicken Nuggets
1 1/2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or tenderloins)
2 cups water
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon salt, divided
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons onion powder
3/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 large egg whites
4 cups canola oil, for frying

1/2 cup yellow mustard
1/3 cup honey

Cut the chicken into 1/2-inch thick pieces – try to make them roughly the same size so they’ll cool at the same rate. In a large bowl, whisk the water, one tablespoon of the salt, and the Worcestershire sauce together. Add the chicken, then cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes (don’t brine for longer or the chicken will get too salty).

Meanwhile, add the panko to a large resealable plastic bag, and crush with a rolling pin or heavy skillet. Transfer to a wide, shallow dish (a pie plate works well) and stir together with the flour, onion powder, pepper, garlic powder, baking soda, and the remaining teaspoon of salt. Add the egg whites to a second wide, shallow dish, and beat with a fork until foamy.

Remove the chicken from the brine and pat dry. Add half of the chicken to the egg whites and toss to coat. Transfer to the panko mixture, again tossing to coat and pressing gently so the mixture adheres. Remove to a plate and repeat with the second half of the chicken pieces. (Save the leftover panko mixture.) Set the chicken aside for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, add the oil to a deep, heavy pot (a Dutch oven works well) set over medium-high heat and heat to 350 F. Preheat the oven to 200 F, and place a wire rack inside of a rimmed baking sheet.

Place the chicken pieces back in the panko mixture and toss to coat a second time. Add half of the chicken to the oil, and fry for about 3 minutes (stirring once or twice), or until the chicken is deep golden brown and cooked through. Remove to the wire rack and place the baking sheet in the oven. Let the oil heat back up to 350 F, then fry the remaining chicken. Serve with the dipping sauce.

To make the sauce: Whisk the mustard and honey together in a small bowl, then season to taste with salt and pepper.

{Note: You can make the nuggets ahead of time and freeze them. Make the recipe as written, then cool the nuggets completely. Place them in a resealable plastic bag, and freeze for up to 1 month. To reheat – place on a baking sheet and bake at 350 F for about 15 minutes, flipping the nuggets halfway through the cooking time.}

Carrot Lemonade Juice Recipe!

Here’s a REAL FOOD recipe that you and everyone you know will be sure to love. This carrot lemonade is delicious and a really gorgeous, fun way to get some added nutrition. Kids love this recipe! Its bright color makes it perfect for parties and entertaining too. Hey, if it’s good enough for the First Lady, it’s good enough for me.

1 qt freshly juiced carrots, about 3 lbs
6 medium lemons, juiced
2-3 cups water
stevia to taste
1 inch knob of ginger, juiced (optional)

(This recipe will make about half a gallon. Feel free to cut in half or double to adjust your serving size.)


  1. Simply juice the carrots, lemon, and ginger (ginger is optional but I love the extra kick it gives!) and add water and stevia to taste.