Monthly Archives: September 2012

Kitchen Measurement Cheat Sheet



Electrolyte Drink Recipe


Pumpkin Pie Dip Recipe

Many thanks to my friend Tee for bringing this recipe to my attention!

How to Make Comfrey Balm ( a balm so good its like magic)

The folks at Homestead survival have a wonderful comfrey balm recipe that is similar to my own, that i would like to share with you today. (Photos by Brenda Lee Weeks)

Comfrey has been used for generations as teas, balms and poultices.
It is also known as boneknit because it helps to heal or knit back together strains, bruises and even broken bones. The roots are used to make teas for internal problems and the leaves are used for external problems.

It is such a good healer because of the Allantoin it contains. Allantoin is a chemical compound naturally produced by many organisms, including animals, plants, and bacteria.  It is a frequent ingredient in lotions and skin creams, as well as in oral hygiene products, cosmetics, and other toiletries. Allantoin is also used in medications for dermatological conditions including acne, impetigo, eczema, and psoriasis.
more info at:

This balm will help heal very fast. It will heal so fast that it should not be used on any cuts that look infected or any that may have dirt in it because it may heal over
the dirt  or infections which need to be out before healing. It is good for burns, cuts, bruises, rashes, scrapes and even diaper rash. It also helps to minimize scarring. You can also use it as a lip balm. It even helps my grandsons eczema.

To make the balm you will need.

4 ounces dried comfrey leaves or 8 ounces fresh if you have comfrey
2 cups coconut oil ( you can use almond or any oil you prefer, I just like coconut)
3 ounces bees-wax

A double boiler or a 4 cup glass Pyrex measuring cup, saucepan and a strainer or some cheesecloth.

If you are using fresh comfrey, wash it and then chop or tear it a little to make it easier for the juices to steep out of it.

Put your oil in to the double boiler or the Pyrex cup which you then place in the saucepan with water in the bottom.

Turn the flame on at the very lowest it will go. Don’t let the water evaporate away.

Keep an eye on it so if the water gets low you can add more.  Once your oil is warm and liquid add your comfrey leaves.

Let them sit there and steep for at least 45 minutes. I let them steep for an hour. Keep the flame as low as possible, you want it to steep, you do not want to cook it. Once they have steeped strain the leaves out  into a clean bowl using your strainer or cheesecloth.


After you have strained it put the liquid back into the pan or Pyrex cup  and add your beeswax you can compost or discard the leaves.

Let it melt completely, stir it gently to mix the oil and wax together. Then pour into tins or small jars (preferably with a large mouth) and label.


What to do with wood ash.

I was cleaning out the fireplace in my bedroom and wondering while doing it, if you know of some of the many uses for wood ash. First, a little science.

Wood ash contains calcium carbonate as its major component, representing 25 or even 45 percent. Less than 10 percent is potash, and less than 1 percent phosphate; there are trace elements of iron, manganese, zinc, copper and some heavy metals. For a long time wood ash has been used in agricultural soil applications as it recycles nutrients back to the land. Wood ash has some value as a fertilizer, but does not contain nitrogen. Because of the presence of calcium carbonate it acts as a liming agent and will de-acidify the soil increasing its pH. 

Surprisingly, there are many uses for your old ashes so do not toss them away! Here is a list of just a few:

-dust baths for birds

-spread a low ring around individual plants are gardens to deter slugs/snails

-de-icer for walkway and driveways, wont hurt your grass and gives traction

-de-skunk your dog by rubbing the ashes over hid fur (make sure they are cold!)

-use in compost, enhance its nutrients by sprinkling in a few ashes

-control the algae in your pond. One tablespoon per 1,000 gallons adds enough potassium to strengthen other aquatic plants that compete with algae, slowing its growth

-pump up tomatoes. For the calcium-loving plants, place 1/4 cup right in the hole when planting

-lawn Fertilizer – Wood ash contains 10-25% calcium, 1-4% magnesium, 5-15% potassium and 1-3% phosphorus

-make a paste and polish your silver

-cleaning agent – mix with water to form a paste and use on the glass in your wood stove or fireplace. Ditto for rings left on wood furniture from glasses. It’s abrasive, so use with care

-make soap. Soaking ashes in water makes lye, which can be mixed with animal fat and then boiled to produce soap. Salt makes it harden as it cools

-dust your carrots to repel bugs

-odor control – Put in t-shirt material to insert in stored shoes

-used in tanning hides

-unclog drains

Remember if you are gathering your ashes to buy a metal pail to put them in. DO NOT use plastic! Even though you think they are cold, they may still have little embers that will melt the bucket and cause a fire! SAFETY FIRST. Before I got my metal buckets, I used an old roasting pan with lid for my ashes, works great and no dust will blow off of it. Dedicate the metal bucket for ashes,

Buy a metal strainer, the kind with the handle that looks like is has screening in it. That will help you get the chunky leftover bits of wood out.

No-Bake Peanut Butter & Chocolate Oat Bars

These no-bake peanut butter & chocolate oat bars only take about 15 minutes to prep, and the clean up is minimal as well. (I can’t be the only person who cares more about clean up time than prep time?) They remind me of those omgtodiefor oat fudge bars at Starbucks. But surprisingly, these are less sweet and less dense, which I found pretty awesome. Because I could eat more of them.

If you aren’t a peanut butter fan, I’m sure another nut butter would be just as tasty. Okay, I’m not actually sure because I’ve never been able to eat any, but it sounds nice from afar. What I’m trying to say is, there’s hardly an excuse not to make these, so go on and no-bake a batch!

No-Bake Peanut Butter & Chocolate Oat Bars
adapted from Sweet Remedy


3/4 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups quick cooking oats
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
2/3 cup peanut butter
 In a fairly large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the brown sugar and vanilla, and stir until smooth. Add in the oats, and mix until combined. Cook, stirring occasionally, over low heat for a few minutes.
While the oat mix is getting toasty, mix the chocolate chips and peanut butter in a bowl and melt until smooth in the microwave. Be sure to do this on a low power setting and in increments so neither burn.
Grease an 8×8 pan. Press 2/3 of the oat mix into the bottom to create the bottom crust. Pour all of the melted chocolate and peanut butter mix over top for the second layer. Crumble the remaining oat mix over top.
Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, then cut the bars and eat up!

Long Term Food Storage—Done Cheaply! Using 2 Liter Recycled Plastic Bottles For Compact Food Storage

I have always had a “food cushion” in case of hard times. Friends tease me because my pantry and my freezer were stocked in the off-chance that there was a zombie apocalypse or hubby lost his job.  The latter happened to us three times now with the latest round going 7.2 months. This was the longest time of unemployment and the only time since I was 33 that my pantry shelves had almost been emptied and that the smallest of my 2 freezers was emptied too.


I have things stored away in mason jars, a trick I picked up when an army of mice invaded our first home. After lifting cereal boxes out of the cupboards and having their contents trickling out the corners from where the mice chewed through as well as having mice running boldly across the kitchen floor, I decided a new strategy was in order because moving the food and nailing the cupboards doors shut didn’t work.

Having your dry goods in mason jars is a great idea. I don’t know why I hadn’t thought of it before then. They prolong shelf life of food, protect from water, dust and vermin but they are expensive and heavy. I had a shelf crack once from the weight.

But here is another solution and one that I am going to try;

Yes I know it is plastic but wait until you finish reading the article before you judge. You can stack these with ease AND  get around the high cost of food prep by buying in bulk and packaging the food yourself. The picture on the left is a very small closet, 24 inches wide. It currently contains 200 pounds of rice and 100 pounds of beans!

The author says, “I have been storing beans, rice, oatmeal, wheat, barley and many other grains and dry goods in this manner for several years. I have cooked rice stored this way 15 years after the storage date and it was as good as the day it was stored. cooked up fine and fluffy! Similarly, beans cooked after being stored for several years in this manner also cooked up fine.”

Read the entire article here and then decide! Its worth some thought.