So much basil…so little time

The Summer season is filled with so many wonderful foods that are fresh for such a short time. But canning, freezing, drying and preserving allow us to stretch the season to last the year around.

One sad exclusion to this bounty has always been fresh basil leaves. Once dried, all the volatile oils are lost, and it might as well be parsley. In my quest to find ways to extend the freshness life-span of my all-time favorite herbs, I began freezing it a few years back. I can never eat all I have, fresh, before it gets wilty and sad, so I have used this method for keeping it amazing so much longer.

The Basil Cube!

Begin with fresh, clean basil. It doesn’t matter how many you have. You are limited only by number of ice cube trays you can fit in your freezer. You can also make one single cube, if you only have a little bit to work with.

whole basil plants

whole basil plants

Strip all the leaves from the stems. All we are using is leaves for this project.

leaves only

leaves only

The cut or tear the leaves into small to tiny pieces and begin to cram them into a clean ice cube tray.

basil bits

basil bits

Then, pour enough water to cover the bits over the tray. I like to use filtered water, but I can’t imagine it makes much difference, really, what kind you use.

cover with water

cover with water

Then, pop the tray into the freezer for a minimum of 5 hours, but overnight might be best.

The next morning, you have perfectly portioned, ever-fresh basil leaves which can be used in sauces and soups all winter long. I store mine in a zip-loc bag so the flavors aren’t diminished by air, or shared among food that doesn’t need the pungency of basil.

basil cubes

basil cubes

Because the leaves are frozen, this method will not give you back fresh leaves, like you might need to make pesto, but it does retain the flavor of fresh basil. Because cooking removes a lot of the flavor, drop the cubes in to your sauce immediately before serving. Just let ’em melt, and give the pot a stir. Boom! Fresh basil flavor, any time of year!!! And, don’t forget to grow your own, to really Stick It To Monsanto.

An endless Summer to you all!

Cubist Coffee: or, Handcrafted Summer Mornings

Ahhh, Summertime! Where I live, it is very temperate and pleasant. But in many, many places it is just too darn hot! Especially for a hot beverage to start the day. So this Handcrafted Hack is in celebration of getting your caffeine, without having your eyes sweat. *It should be noted, before we even begin, as with so many handcrafted projects, this is not instant! The cubes will need to be frozen overnight (minimum of 8 hours. 12 is better) I saw a post on facebook about making coffee ice cubes, and decided to put the theory to the test. I decided to start sort of small, since it was an experiment. I brewed about 1/3 of a pot of very strong, lovely coffee.

start with strong coffee

start with strong coffee

Then, I used a clean, empty ice cube tray

clean tray

clean tray

I filled the tray pretty full, and let it sit on the counter for an hour or so, as I filled it hot. You could simply turn off the coffee pot and let it cool before you pour. Obviously, you don’t want to put anything hot into the freezer, as it puts all your frozen foods at risk of thawing.

cooling coffee

cooling coffee

Then, place the trays into the freezer, where they won’t be disturbed until the next day. Just a note, here, I stacked my 2 trays I made, and the coffee froze onto the bottom of the top tray, which, of course melted into dark coffee drips as I was taking it from the freezer, and using the cubes. There is a pretty significant potential for mess, here, so, maybe, don’t wear white while you participate in this process. The next morning, I pulled the cubes from the tray and placed them in my glass:

iced coffee on!

iced coffee on!

Now, because I was just having an “iced latte”, I simply added milk (cow’s milk, for this experiment, but, of course, you can use whatever you fancy), and was on my way. As the cubes have melted, the coffee is mixed into the milk. It has been a spectacular way to start the day.

Iced latte!

Iced latte!

It should be noted that this concoction could just as easily be a mocha (add chocolate syrup), or a flavored latte (add syrup) or a blended drink (drop the lot in a blender and whirl). The thickness of the blended drink is the coffee cubes, which do not water down a blended or on the “rocks” coffee drink. And, let’s don’t miss the obvious indications for both alcoholic additions and ice cream! I believe this idea could easily b adapted to a bunch of other applications, such as tea-cubes for your iced tea (in any flavor, or even herbal); freezing juice cubes, or adding your favorite protein/diet/supplement powder to the mix. So, today’s tutorial not only saves a fortune in coffee house prices, but sticks it to both Monsanto and Starbucks! Double bonus for Awesome America!

Handcrafting Fresh Food~ or Summer 2015!

Just about the time I fell off the blogoshere we moved into a new house. Now, the house is great, and it has everything I need in a home, including a wood stove (finally!) and even my very own bathroom. But the “farm yard” is gone.

My chickens live off-property, and I am not completely thrilled with their accommodations, but overall, they are fine, and are laying well.

A tisket, a tasket...

A tisket, a tasket…

The “garden”, however, is a whole new ballgame.

The "Garden" 2015

The “Garden” 2015

My entire growing, recreating, outdoor space consists of an 8×24 foot wooden deck.

At first, I was heartbroken, thinking there was no way I was going to be able to grow any appreciable food this year.  But, I asked myself, ‘How many times have I said, “You can grow food, anywhere!”‘?  Well, this was my chance to prove it.

I started with the potted herbs we brought from the other house.

rosemary's baby

rosemary’s baby

oregano, sage, thyme, and curly spearmint

oregano, sage, thyme, lemon balm and curly spearmint

Then, we rescued 3 blueberry plants we found on the property, in pots.

blueberry hill

blueberry hill

Also, a couple of bedraggled strawberry plants we found, repotted and began loving:

strawberry fields, forever

strawberry fields, forever

They rounded out our berry patch nicely, with the raspberry canes we brought from the old place.

raspberries

raspberries

Then we got seed potatoes and shallot bulbs:

potato shrub

potato shrub

shallots and cilantro-becoming-coriander

shallots and cilantro-becoming-coriander

Soon, Spring sprung and I went kind of tomato-crazy, given the amazing south-facing exposure of the porch garden

"Sweet Millions" cherry tomatoes

“Sweet Millions” cherry tomatoes

Amish Heirloom "Brandywine"

Amish Heirloom “Brandywine”

the standard, Oregon Coast favorite, "Early Girl"

the standard, Oregon Coast favorite, “Early Girl”

Heirloom "Purple Cherokee"

Heirloom “Purple Cherokee”

All season long we have been eating from the “salad bar”

salad bar

salad bar

I can hardly wait for the lettuce and the tomatoes get ripe at the same time.

So far, we have eaten from all the herbs, and have harvested loads before they bloomed. Here is a bundle of my first lavender blossoms:

first lavender wand

first lavender wand

and here is the second batch of fresh blueberries:

done deal!

done deal!

The watering requirements of a microclimate like mine are somewhat shocking. Most days, we water morning and night. If it isn’t above 60 in the rest of the area (which translates to about 75-80 on my porch) we can get by with only watering in the morning. But we have huge plants in comparatively small pots, so they dry out quickly. If I had it to do over, I would employ the gardening “hack” of burying a 16 oz. water bottle, with it’s bottom cut off, upside down a few inches deep in each pot, so I could fill it with water and leave it to leach in, as needed, during the day. Maybe next year.

I know it may seem like I have been neglecting my handcrafting, as evidenced by my chronic lack of blogging, but please understand… I have been so busy handcrafting fresh food (and working to pay for the millions of gallons of water they require living in pots!), I haven’t had a lot of time to blog about it.

Still I am trying to make time. Things happen so quickly at this time of year. Starting seeds becomes transplanting becomes harvesting in no time. I am trying to keep up through pictures, so I can both blog, and reminisce, at my leisure.

I am so excited about my future projects. There are pumpkins and zucchinis besides, and having never done them in pots before, I can’t wait to see how that turns out. Plus, there will be the preserving of all these tomatoes! I have never had such a perfect place to grow the “hot crops” , here on the coast, so my yield is going to be staggering, compared to any of my other gardens in this climate.

Take that BigFood!!! Also, my very favorite way to #StickItToMonsanto

Also, despite having very little space to work with, I have committed some of my space to a group of “Rescue Roses”, as well. They came to me spindly, and covered in powdery mildew and black spot. A bit of love and care and some time in the sunshine has made all the difference for them. They say “Thank you” every day.

Food is most important, but beauty is also worthy of nurturing.

peaches and cream

peaches and cream

pink and perfect

pink and perfect

And that, friends and neighbors, is Awesome America!

Have a wonderful Summer 2015, and Happy Handcrafting!

 

 

 

It’s ALIVE!

Greetings, all and sundry!

I am positive, by now, you have decided I died of eating nothing but handcrafted food. Or, worse, fell off the Handcrafted wagon, and was lost in a mire of Monsanto.

But, NO! I just had a lot of other stuff going on in my life.

Still, I am back in the saddle, and am ready to share some of the cool stuff I am doing and learning, lately. But first, the past year… I have still not mastered cheese . This saddens me, but I remain hopeful that one day I will get it.  I am still entirely sold on handcrafted toothpaste, and still use my own every day. It has helped me with a lot of the problems I was beginning to have with my aging teeth. I am not as keen on long-term use of the coconut oil and baking soda deodorant, and have eliminated the baking soda because it caused me to have some pH issues. No big deal, but after a month or so, my skin reacted and I didn’t like it. If I took a break, I could use it for about another month, but, ultimately, it happened again, anyway. So, I use just plain coconut oil most days and regular deodorant for “potentially sweaty” days.

I am still making my own sauces and soups and smoothies and croutons and bread. But not so much diligence on crackers and granola  . I am getting back in the swing of things, again, though, so I expect to have better reports very soon.

So, as to new stuff, I just got a brand new, giant food dehydrator- 10 racks all with mesh liners and the fruit leather trays, for $15!!!  🙂  I have been waiting for ages for this to manifest in my life! I have employed many other preservation methods, but have felt I have been missing a vital aspect of pantry-filling without it.

I wanted to get started immediately (of course!) so I went shopping for one of my favorite dried fruit items, bananas. They are easy, and practically instant, prep-wise. My shop had organic bananas for sale for $0.10 more than the regular, so I splurged for the good ones.

All I did was slice the bananas as consistently as I could, and pop them in a single layer on the tray. I started 4 full trays, from 2 bunches of bananas.

sliced bananas in the dehydrator

sliced bananas in the dehydrator

Then I turned on the machine (125 degrees) and will now wait the 12 hours to check for doneness. I like mine a bit “leathery”.

 

Tomorrow, I will be back with the finished product, which I will store in a mason jar with tight fitting lid.

Fruit snacks are as simple as that. Later, I am going to make fruit leather with apples and raspberries (because red is my favorite flavor!).  Take that, Big Food!!!

Thanks for tuning in, my precious blueberries! I look forward to a busy, prosperous and entirely handcrafted Summer!!!!

HomeGrown Food Just Got Real: Baby chicks

At some point in a quest to create a more healthy, wholesome lifestyle one realizes that in order to eat fresh food, you have to grow it yourself. And while veggies and fruit lend themselves to a rather easy fix, meat and other protein-rich foods are a bit more complicated.

My flock is strictly for eggs, rather than meat, but I go in to this process with my eyes open. All of these birds will one day end up as “and dumplings”. But for these little peeps, that day is many years from now.

If you have ever considered keeping hens, this tutorial may be helpful to you.

This is the diary of 9 laying hens from their 2nd day of life, on. Each of these chicks was hatched yesterday, has been shipped overnight to the feed store and then picked up by me and driven the 45 miles to my house. A feed store is a great place to buy chicks, as you get to have a look at them before you buy them, thus ensuring a healthy flock from the beginning. When you buy them via the internet, straight from the hatchery, you don’t get that option.

peep!

peep!

Before you even order chicks there are many things you need to have in place. A brooder- the containment field they will live in for their first few to several weeks of life. It needs to have sufficient room for the number of chicks you will be buying.  I use an old reptile aquarium.

aquarium brooder with light housing

aquarium brooder with light housing

Also, you will need an overhead heat source. Many people recommend a 250 watt bulb, which is expensive both to buy (around $11) and to run, round the clock for aprox. 6 weeks. I use a soft white 150 watt bulb in a housing to direct the heat downward. It cost $4.19. Each week the chicks will need less heat, so having a clamp-on light housing is a great option for moving it higher as they get bigger and need less heat. There should also be a warm side and a less warm side, so they can escape from the heat if they get too warm. I keep my feed and water on the opposite side of the brooder from the heat source so there is a wide variety of temperature options.

the warm side

the warm side

You will need feed and a feeder. I have the screw-on type that goes with a mason jar. I use a medicated feed when buying hatchery chicks and brooding them, myself in a box. Their immune systems have absolutely nothing to draw from and they will be vulnerable to everything in these first weeks of life. (when I am using a broody hen to hatch chicks, I let them eat the same All Purpose Poultry feed I feed to the rest of the flock… but broodies are a whole different experience, and I am assuming you don’t have a broody hen handy)

chick feeder

chick feeder

baby food

baby food

They will also need a waterer. I buy the plastic screw-on bottoms that can be used with any regular-mouth glass mason jar. This one was about $3.

waterer

waterer

There will also need to be some sort of litter in the brooder. Chicks can’t be left to walk on a smooth surface or it can damage their legs due to slipping around. I use pine shavings (NOT CEDAR! Cedar bedding is toxic to chicks). I also keep that bedding in a huge garbage bag, in the room I am brooding the chicks. Keeping everything handy to where you are using it is easiest and best.

brooder fluff

brooder fluff

I also keep a bucket in the brooder room so I can easily clean out soiled or wet litter quickly. I later dump that soiled litter on my raspberry canes for overwintering.

Once the brooder is set up, you will need some chicks!

chicks, man

chicks, man

Place the box into the brooder and then take the chicks out. They will likely congregate under the lamp until they warm up, but then will begin to move about inside the open space of the brooder. Be sure they each know where food and water is, taking the time to dip each one’s beak into the water so they will know where to find it. It only takes a second and you only have to do it once. Tap on the food with your finger and this will call them to it. It is how hens teach the chicks what to eat, and where the food is.

Then, cover your brooder, entirely with a screen, and some sort of weight (I use a piece of plywood and a couple of big fat books). The screen should allow the heat to escape but the chicks won’t be able to launch themselves out. It should also provide protection from other animals in the household, such as curious cats.

old window screen

old window screen

Sit back and watch the little peeps explore their new environment. If they pile up together under the light, they may be too cold. If they lay stretched out and panting, they are too hot. You will be able to tell a lot about how they are feeling by their behavior, so spend some time just watching them every day.

If you don’t enjoy cleaning pine shavings out of the water 100 times per day, place the waterer up on an overturned plant saucer or up on a short piece of 2×4 wood. Just an inch above the shavings will help keep a LOT of it out. But, do know you will probably have to fish out shavings pretty often, anyway.

The babies will need to be moved to their permanent coop within a month to 6 weeks, so don’t wait until you have them installed in your spare bedroom to start thinking about your coop. The wise farmer has that sorted out well in advance of bringing home the day old chicks. If your coop is entirely secure of predators you can actually brood them out in the coop, just hang the light low enough that it can provide the warmth they need, and gradually raise it as they feather out. Once they are fully feathered (around 4-6 weeks) they won’t need a heat source at all. As day-olds they need temperatures around 95 degrees and each week that number can be lowered by about 5 degrees or so. No need to have a thermometer, unless you just want to. You will be able to tell be their behavior if they are comfortable or not.

The brooder room will be dusty, so keep that in mind. Many people use a garage or basement for their brooding, and this is prudent if you don’t want chick dust and pine shavings all over the spare bedroom carpet (like I have 🙂 ).

There is a TON of helpful advice on Backyard Chickens and forums where you can ask a question or 2 and get answers from real chicken people. Keep in mind that every single person who has ever seen a chicken has a differing opinion on absolutely every aspect, and that will be evident the instant people begin chiming in with answers. The best thing to do is educate yourself and then choose your own strategy. Get to know some people who are raising chickens and speak to them about their strategies.

The most important thing is, make sure you have enough space for the number of birds you intend to keep, and have fun with it! Watching Chicken TV is the most entertaining activity you can imagine. Very theraputic, and absolutely hilarious!

Plus, a few months after these puff-balls come in to your life, they start giving back in the form of the freshest, healthiest eggs on the planet. The ones YOUR hens laid.

Now that is how you create a return to Awesome America and give Monsanto and BigFood a big black eye!!!

Miss Poppy

Miss Poppy

Stocking the Pantry: Blackberries in Winter

berries on the vine

berries on the vine

This has been a banner year for blackberries in my climate. I have been picking a pint a day from the vines in my own yard, and more from random patches I have found on walks with my dog. I have made loads of jam, frozen some and given them away, but I have been searching for a new way to preserve them, and have remembered a trick from my childhood.

fresh harvest

fresh harvest

Fruit can be canned whole or sliced in a sugar syrup. I have tried this with the blackberries, and they are just lovely this way!

First, the syrup: I like a light syrup in mine. It doesn’t detract from the natural fruit flavor, and keeps their original color, beautifully.  My syrup is as follows: 1 cup of sugar to 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil, and continue a full rolling boil for 10 minutes.

Wash and dry fruit. Pour berries into a sterile jar to within 1 inch of top. Pour syrup over berries to same level (1 inch from top). Tightly fit lid and ring, and place in canning kettle. Cover jars with water to 2 inches above tops of jars. Bring water to a boil and begin timing. 10 minutes processing is all that is needed for this type of canned fruit.

Remove from water bath, and cool on a towel on the counter overnight.

That’s it! The fruit will last up to a year unopened on the shelf.

canned berries, ready for the pantry

canned berries, ready for the pantry

Later, when you are hankering for blackberries when it is cold outside, and Summer is a distant memory, your perfectly ripe berries will be ready for you!

One possible use for them is to stir a teaspoon of corn starch into the cool syrup and berries and heat them in a saucepan. When the syrup returns to clear (from being opaque) and the syrup is thick enough for your taste, it’s ready to be a delicious, nutritious pancake syrup, ice cream topping, or filling for a layer cake. The possibilities are endless. Summer can go on and on this way, no matter what the calender says!

Now that’s Awesome America!

Stocking the Pantry: Apple Pie Filling

pie filling!

pie filling!

One of my many projects, this Summer, has been preparing the pantry for the Autumn and Winter months. Without these preparations,  in order to enjoy fruits and veggies, I would have to choose a commercially prepared product of dubious origin and treatment. This way, I have my very own treasures, prepared from “scratch” awaiting my need for them all Season long!

Today’s project description is for Apple Pie Filling.

I began with the yellow transparent tree in my back garden. Known for their soft texture and tendency toward graininess, once these apples are ripe their only real function is applesauce and apple butter, which I have made and enjoyed many times. But this year, I decided to pick them a day or 2 before being entirely ripe. The texture remained firm and the flavor, amazing!

apple tree

apple tree

The only safe apple seems to be grown organically, or as they are in my neck of the woods, “grown by Nature”- never watered, sprayed, fertilized by humans at all. If you can find an apple tree then, by all means, use those apples. If not, buy the good stuff and use those.

yellow transparent apple

yellow transparent apple

Pick only the number of apples you plan to use immediately. Peel, core and slice apples into a bowl of water with added lemon juice, to prevent a certain amount of browning (some is obviously inevitable, but no worries. Cinnamon and nutmeg are brown, too).

apple prep

apple prep

Place apple slices into a large saucepan or stock pot, and coat with a liberal dusting of corn starch. I am not going to give amounts, because that all depends on the amount of apples you begin with. Add sugar (the amount also depends on number and sweetness of apples), ground cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, cardamom, ginger, and/or whatever spices you like in your apple pie. Hand blend these ingredients well, until apples are uniformly coated with the mixture.

apple, spice, starch mixture

apple, spice, starch mixture

Then, on medium heat, begin to cook the apples down. The length of time this will take is entirely dependent on the type and ripeness of apples. With my yellow transparents, it took about 10 minutes or so. Firmer apple varieties will take longer. The goal is to cook them until they are about halfway as cooked as you would like them when the pie is finished baking. Taste the mixture throughout the process. Nothing in it will hurt you, “raw”, so don’t be afraid to taste all along the way. To ensure enough sugar (if you accidentally add to much, give it a squeeze of lemon juice to balance), to create optimal spice balance, to detect doneness, all can be done with tasting. Be sure you like it before you go further!!!

pie filling!

pie filling!

Then, pack the mixture into sterilized glass jars. To sterilize, you can run them through a dishwasher and heat dry them, you can boil them seperately, in a canning pot, or you can fill them with boiling water from a kettle and leave them full until the apples are ready.

Then, place the jars, tightly lidded, into a water batch canner, and adjust water level to 2 inches or so above the tops of the jars. Bring the water to boiling and begin timing 25 minutes from rolling boil.

When they have been processed, remove them to a towel on the counter and allow to sit overnight, undisturbed. Their seals should begin “popping” almost immediately.

Next morning, the ones whose lids are sealed can be removed to the pantry. If the seal isn’t right, place it in the fridge and use it within one week.

When it is time to make pie, the jar can be emptied into an unbaked pie crust, and baked at 350 degrees. Lattice designs and other cut-outs are popular in 2-crust pies. But my favorite apple pie is crumb-y! (this can also be dumped directly into greased pan and topped to make apple crisp)

Apple Pie Crumbs:

1 stick of butter, softened a little (not squishy)

1/2 to 3/4 cup of  packed brown sugar

1/2 cup white sugar

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp ground cloves, ginger, cardamom, allspice (each)

Using your hands, squish it all together until the mixture will stick together when you make a fist around it, but also breaks up easily into course crumbs when you break it apart.

Pour this crumb-y mixture over the pie filling and bake as usual for pie or crisp.

The convenience of having apple pie filling already made when I am ready to throw a quick pie or crumble together is going to be amazing! The same process can be achieved with many other types of fruit, so don’t hesitate to experiment! Holiday baking can be quick and easy if you are prepared!!!

Handcrafted Holiday Desserts, quick and delicious! Take that BigFood. Stick it to Monsanto with America’s most fond symbol of Home; Apple Pie!!!

 

Frozen Yogurt

After such rousing success, yesterday, with the Double Vanilla ice cream, I decided to make some frozen yogurt!

I took 1 quart undrained homemade yogurt and 1/2 a cup of homemade low-sugar raspberry jam, and popped it in the ice cream maker. I wasn’t sure how it would freeze, but it was perfect!

When I cured it in the freezer, however, if froze solid. It is now a delicious raspberry yogurt brick.

frozen yogurt

frozen yogurt

So I got to thinking, wouldn’t this make the most amazing popcicles?! So the next time I make it, I will be curing it in plastic popcicle molds and enjoying an individual serving pop.

Nothing could be simpler! Delicious, entirely homemade and free of preservatives and artificial anything! Also, way cheaper than store-bought and can be flavored with anything you like!

Awesome America at work, sticking it to Monsanto, BigFood and fake treats!

We all scream for ICE CREAM!!!!

Today’s experiment in the kitchen, Double Vanilla ice cream.

While I cannot honestly say this has been “hand”crafted (because the ice cream maker did all the work) it is homemade, and that is why I feel justified in including it, here.

To begin, you will need an ice cream maker (either hand crank or electric. I bore easily, so I am using an electric. So sue me.) a whisk, a mixing bowl,and a big rubber spatula.

For ingredients and implementation, you will need 1 bag of ice and a box of rock or ice cream salt. Also:

  • 3/4 cup sugar (or sweetener of your choice)
  • 1 pint heavy cream
  • 1 pint milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 of one vanilla bean
  • 1/2 tsp table salt

Begin by slicing the vanilla bean lengthwise through only the top layer of skin. Scrape all the teeny, oily seeds into a 2 qt mixing bowl. They are kind of a mess, but sooooo worth the end result. Then add all other ingredients to the bowl and mix them together thoroughly.

Place the mixture into the “can” of the ice cream maker and chill in the fridge for at least half an hour.

Then, assemble the ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s directions. Add ice and rock salt in alternating layers around the can. Note: the smaller the ice cubes and the less salt used, the slower the churn, and thus, the finer the grain of ice cream product.

salt

salt

It is essential that your mixture fill no more than half the available volume in your can, as the mixture will expand to roughly double when complete.

Plug it in, or begin churning. Add ice, water or salt, as needed, as indicated by the directions for your machine. Keep the ice level up to the top to insure complete freezing.

I found that the addition of table salt kept the mixture from freezing “solid”. Not to worry. It is a necessary foil for the sweetness of the ice cream and makes a delicious difference to the finished product.

When the machine stops, or 50 minutes of freezing time has elapsed, turn out the ice cream into a freezer container, taking care to scrape all the yummy deliciousness from the paddle into your bowl or back into the can. It is ready to eat at this stage, but will have a consistency more like soft-serve. For a harder product, cure the ice cream in the freezer for at least an hour (2-3 is better).

Voila! The most delicious ice cream EVAH, with absolutely no carageenen, high fructose corn syrup or FD&C yellow #5. Ice cream will last up to one week in the freezer. But seriously, no it won’t!

Take that BigFood! What a delicious way to Stick-It-To-Monsanto. This mixture cost approximately half what a premium ice cream cost me to buy, and is all natural and contains no preservatives.

Now that is what I call some Summertime Awesome America!!!

Waters, Waters, Everywhere!

…and every drop is delicious to drink!!!

We all already know we need to make sure we drink plenty of water, but also that it can be a bit boring. We’ve been having the conversation over on the facebook page  and have come up with some pretty great ideas for some flavored waters.

The idea, or “recipe” if you will, for all the Flavored Waters is the same. Place a handful of the flavor (could be anything! depends on what you want it to taste like) into a pitcher or mason jar and cover it with pure water. Place in the fridge overnight. Strain, and drink.

The first one I made is nothing but spearmint and filtered water.

spearmint flavored water

spearmint flavored water

I also grow peppermint and orange bergamot mint, and look forward to using them all in flavored waters. But there are a million mind-blowingly awesome ideas!

orange bergamot mint

orange bergamot mint

peppermint

peppermint

Growing your own herbs and veggies and fruit to add lets you know the items are fresh and entirely wholesome. Take that, BigFood!

My friend Babs contributed her favorites: lemon balm and cucumber, strawberries, watermelon and oranges. Imagination+minty herb+ fruit/veggies= yummy flavored waters!”

Friend Tara, of Hello Granola offers: It’s so fun! Berries, oranges, lemons, basil, cucumber…on and on…”

Friend Teena says,we do this daily! I love it! Lemons, mint and cucumbers are my favorite. I also love strawberries with oranges and basil. It also helps me drink more water!”

Each item and combination offers its own health benefits. Not only are we staying hydrated, we can also stave off headaches, fatigues, icky tummies and stress with our creative possibilities.

So let’s harvest some awesomeness and cover it in water.

Bottom’s up!!!