These guys will be happily strutting around in my pasture today. I don’t think they realize just how lucky they are. Wishing everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving!
When my family moved to our country home in 1995, we were eager to embrace all the wonderful opportunities that country living had to offer. We mended the old fence and barn and soon added our share of farm animals to complete our little country haven. Our animal menagerie included a flock of laying hens and a rooster to give us fresh eggs, but over the years our flock decreased and eventually our fresh egg production came to an end.
Recently, after purchasing a $4.00 carton of organic cage free eggs, I discovered all the eggs were disgustingly runny and obviously inedible. Having this less than satisfactory experience with store-bought eggs, and being aware of the absolute horrors chickens have to endure in the commercial egg production industry, we decided to rebuild our chicken coop and start enjoying our own farm fresh eggs again.
My husband spent all weekend building the new coop and we went to our local feed supplier and bought 4 baby turkeys, 10 chicks and 1 rooster Like our Rat Terrier, I too find watching the baby chicks completely spellbinding and I have begun to named them based on their personalities.
My favorite is the largest Black Spanish turkey that I have named Hey Zeus. He is just a baby, but he’s already trying to strut his stuff. I don’t think the girls are impressed, judging by the expressions on their faces.
Now for my contribution to the new chicken coop; the decor. My husband is quite the handy man and we always have wood scraps leftover from past DIY projects. I found these weathered wood scraps and thought they would work out great for making some homemade signs.
Next I gathered up my acrylic paint, paint brushes and paint sponges. Then I painted the wood a solid color and outlined the edge with a contrasting color, creating a framed effect.
Then I purchased two different stencils. One was a cursive type and one was block type letters
Using a sharp pencil, I traced out the word Farm Fresh on the wood using the cursive letters and the word EGGS using the block letters.
Then I highlighted the word Farm Fresh in a bright yellow and painted white eggs around the word EGGS.
Next I carefully painted in the words. You will need a steady hand and a very small detail paint brush.
And here’s the finished product. Add some eye hooks and a chain to hang it and throw on a couple of coats of clear polyurethane to weatherproof and it’s ready for the coop. Now to decide what to put on the other two signs.
The coop will only be used to protect the babies while they are growing. As soon as they are big enough, the door to the coop will be left open and they will have free access to the yard and pasture, as nature intended. If you would like to help support current legislative efforts in banning the barbaric and cruel practice of battery caged chickens in the US egg industry; please visit the Humane Society of the United States website by clicking on this link: Help Improve the Lives of Laying Hens
The following information was taken from the Penn State Live website. You can click on the heading below to see the full article.
“Compared to eggs of the commercial hens, eggs from pastured hens eggs had twice as much vitamin E and long-chain omega-3 fats, more than double the total omega-3 fatty acids, and less than half the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids,” she said. “Vitamin A concentration was 38 percent higher in the pastured hens’ eggs than in the commercial hens’ eggs, but total vitamin A per egg did not differ.”
“Eggs of the hens that foraged grasses had 23 percent more vitamin E than eggs of hens that foraged clover. “Results suggest that grass pastures may enhance vitamin E in eggs of pastured hens more than clover,” she said.”
One of the new trends among the health food hippie crowd is drinking Kombucha Tea. I tried Kombucha about a year ago and I have become somewhat obsessed with it. I have no idea why, because it smells and tastes like something you would never voluntarily drink. Kind of like highly carbonated spoiled beer with a shot of vinegar, but for some reason I find myself craving it. Kombucha has been around for more than 2,000 years and it was worshiped as a remedy for immortality. The ancient Chinese called it the Immortal Health Elixir. According to lore, the tea was introduced to Japan by a Korean physician named Dr. Kombu who gave the bacteria-laden liquid to a Japanese emperor as a healing tonic. Kombucha is available commercially at health food stores or can be made at home. It is started by using a solid culture of yeast and bacteria, often referred to as the mother, mushroom, fungus or scoby.
The Kombucha culture looks like a white rubbery pancake. The culture is placed in black or green tea with sugar and is allowed to ferment. The culture floats above the tea and sugar mixture, and through the natural process of fermentation converts the sugar into organic acids and carbon dioxide. At the same time it produces a variety of other compounds that are detoxifying and nutritious to the human body, including Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), glucuronic, lactic, gluconic and folic acids. The mixture is also high in B-vitamins as well as an assortment of probiotics (beneficial bacteria including lactobacillus acidophilus and s.Boulardii). The fermentation process of Kombucha leaves it virtually sugar-free and naturally low in carbohydrates.
Some of the alleged health benefits of drinking Kombucha:
Improved metabolic rate
Reduction of cellulite
Facial toner and topical application for skin disorders.
Regulation of the digestive system
Restores Internal pH balance
Strengthens ligaments and tendons
Reduces grey hair production
Improves allergy like symptoms such as phlegm and mucus production
Improves Thyroid function
Detoxifies the liver
Rebuilds connective tissue – helps with arthritis, gout, asthma, rheumatism
Reduces blood pressure
Relieves headaches & migraines
Reduces kidney stones
High in antioxidants
High in polyphenols
Speeds healing of ulcers – kills h.pylori on contact
Improves candida & yeast infections
Aids healthy cell regeneration
Lowers glucose levels
There have also been reports of adverse effects such as infections, high levels of lactic acid and allergic reactions in Kombucha Tea drinkers. Kombucha Tea is often brewed in homes under non-sterile conditions, making contamination likely. If ceramic pots are used for brewing, lead poisoning might be a concern; the acids in the tea may leach lead from the ceramic glaze. Some medical literature reports adverse reactions including nausea, vomiting and headaches among those who drink more than four ounces of Kombucha Tea daily. Experts recommend drinking it in moderation. It also contains trace amounts of alcohol. Since the potential health risks of Kombucha Tea are unknown, anyone with an immune deficiency or any other medical condition should consult a physician before drinking the tea. Women who are pregnant or breast-feeding should not use this tea.
I only drink Kombucha made by reputable brewers, therefore I am not overly concerned about health risks or contamination. I usually get GT’s Kombucha or High Country Kombucha available in a variety of flavors. The flavor comes from adding various organic fruit purees and ginger. I don’t know if there are any true health benefits from drinking Kombucha, but I do feel an increase in energy and an overall sense of well-being after drinking it, and for some reason my body craves it.
Whether it’s a cure-all tonic or toxic elixir, I will continue to drink my Kombucha.
I would love to hear about your experience (if any) in drinking Kombucha Tea.
May you always have…
The sun to warm you,
The moon to charm you,
And a guardian angel, so nothing can harm you.
Peace, Love and Blessings!
I just winged this recipe with what I had in the pantry and fridge. I would have added tofu if I had any on hand. Please feel free to improvise. This recipe took me about 15 minutes to make and I think it was better than the Pho I get in our local restaurants. I may try to make Vegetarian Spring Rolls with Peanut dipping sauce next. 🙂
Enough water to cover
3 Cups Organic Vegetarian Broth
or 2 Cubes Pho Chay Soup Seasoning in 3 Cups Water
2 TBS Vegetarian Mushroom Flavored Stir Fry Sauce
A couple of dashes of Bragg Liquid Aminos or Soy Sauce
1/2 Cup Thinly Sliced Onion
1/2 Cup Thinly Sliced Mushrooms
1/2 Cup Thinly Sliced Green Bell Pepper
Sliced Jalapeno, Lime and Cilantro to garnish
Soak the Vermicelli in water for 7 minutes then drain and discard water. Put broth or soup cubes and water in pot and bring to a boil, stir in the Vegetarian Mushroom Flavored Stir Fry Sauce and Liquid Aminos add the Vermicelli and cook for 3 minutes. Meanwhile stir fry the vegetables in hot oil for a few minutes. Add the vegetables to the Vermicelli and Broth. Divide between 3 to 4 bowls. Top with sliced Jalapeno, a squeeze of Lime and Cilantro.
I love apple fritters, but the ones available at the local donut shop tend make my tummy a little upset. Something about the oil they use. So here’s my homemade version.
1 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/3 cup milk
1 cup peeled apple chopped into small bits
2 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons milk
Sift together flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg. Whisk together milk and egg and stir into dry ingredients until just combined. Fold in apple. Pour about 1 1/2 inches of oil into skillet. Heat oil on medium high heat. Use a big spoon and kind of dribble batter into hot oil until you get the size of fritter you want, they puff up a bit in the hot oil. Cook until brown, then flip and cook the other side. Transfer to cooling rack placed on top of sheet pan and glaze.
Make glaze by stirring milk and powdered sugar together in a small bowl. Drizzle over apple fritters. Wait approximately 3 minutes for glaze to harden, then flip fritters and drizzle glaze over the other side.
1 Large Bunch of Kale
1 to 2 TBS Olive Oil
Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Wash kale and throughly dry (very important). Tear into large bite sized pieces and discard the tough stem part. Place on a large sheet pan and drizzle with olive oil then very lightly sprinkle on sea salt. Toss to coat. Place in oven for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and toss around so all kale will get crispy. Return to oven and bake additional 10 minutes. Watch closely or it may get overcooked.
One cup of kale contains 36 calories, 5 grams of fiber, and 15% of the daily requirement of calcium and vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), 40% of magnesium, 180% of vitamin A, 200% of vitamin C, and 1,020% of vitamin K. It is also a good source of minerals copper, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus.
Kale’s health benefits are primarily linked to the high concentration and excellent source of antioxidant vitamins A, C, and K — and sulphur-containing phytonutrients.
Carotenoids and flavonoids are the specific types of antioxidants associated with many of the anti-cancer health benefits. Kale is also rich in the eye-health promoting lutein and zeaxanthin compounds.
Beyond antioxidants, the fiber content of cruciferous kale binds bile acids and helps lower blood cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease, especially when kale is cooked instead of raw.
Try this recipe if you need a nutritious take along breakfast in a hurry. It only takes a minute and gives you a good protein and carb boost to start your day off right.
1 Egg (organic cage free please)
1 Whole Wheat English Muffin
1 Slice Sharp Cheddar Cheese
Salt and Pepper
Toast english muffin. Meanwhile, get a small microwave safe cereal bowl. Rinse with water and leave wet. Coat lightly with Olive Oil. Break egg into bowl. Cover with paper towel. Microwave on full power for about 30 seconds or until done. Place egg and cheese on toasted muffin, add salt and pepper (cayenne pepper if you like a little kick) and enjoy!
Fat: 10 g
Protein: 19 g
Carbs: 27 g
Vitamin A: 12%
Weight Watchers Points: 7