Posts tagged homemade

Apple Cider, the old fashioned way!

ImageLast weekend I met up with some girlfriends for a Sunday afternoon of apple pressing in the country.  It was a blast!  Love getting together with other ladies who enjoy organic foods, gardening, home food preservation, good company and fresh air!  While I had a fun time, apple pressing is hard work.  Megan was gracious enough to open her home and farm up to us and share with us her apple press and grinder.   We all came with local and organic apples, glass jars and a pot luck meal. 

We had an assembly line going beginning with washing the apples and cutting off any wormy, bad spots.

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Next we ran the apples through the grinder. 

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Then we filled the pillow case-lined wooden bottomless barrel with the ground apples.

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They are ready to be pressed!  We turned the crank as far as it would go then inserted a stick for a leaver to crank it down further.  We had to then loosen and repeat with a wooden block under the press to squeeze out all of the juice.  Megan’s husband, Ian helped us get every last drop!  We repeated this over and over again until all of our approximate 4 bushels of apples were processed.  This may sound quick and easy but ittook 7 of us about 3 hours to make 6 gallons of cider to share.  We also had many unwanted guests there, and it wasn’t the fruit flies from my kitchen.  Bees!!  Honey bees everywhere!  Including many that probably got pressed along with the apples.  There were more and more of them by the minute.  We made it through with only one person getting stung once, not too bad.

With the 3/4 of a gallon of apple cider I took home last week there’s maybe a cup left!  DH thought it had a “weird aftertaste” but the boys and I loved it and made some apple cider popsicles too.  I had a great time pressing apples in the country, but I do also appreciate that I can do the same in a fraction of the time with the Jack Lalanne juicer in my kitchen.

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Our garden fresh potluck!  Love the handmade from reclaimed barn wood giant kitchen table too!

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Homesteading & Sustainability

Ready to dry/freeze

Hello blogging world. It has been a while but I have had homesteading on my mind and decided to write about it.  I have been on a homesteading and sustainability mission lately.  We are trying to slowly increase our self-sufficiency now that we have settled into our first home.

In case you were wondering, here is the definition of homesteading via Mother Earth News and the EPA’s definition of sustainability:

  • Homesteading is “….a lifestyle that promotes greater self sufficiency – wherever you live. It’s about using less energy, eating wholesome local food, involving your family in the life of the community and making wiser choices that will improve the quality of life for your family, your community and the environment around you.”
  • Sustainability is based on a simple principle: Everything that we need for our survival and well-being depends, either directly or indirectly, on our natural environment.  Sustainability creates and maintains the conditions under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony, that permit fulfilling the social, economic and other requirements of present and future generations.

We choose to adapt this lifestyle as much as possible for several reasons:  to leave a small carbon footprint on this planet, for better health, and it’s good knowledge to have and to pass onto our children.  We have a lot of respect for those who came before us who homesteaded out of necessity.  And in some respects I feel it has come full circle.  As a health practitioner, and health conscious individual, it is frustrating and scary the amount of toxic chemicals that surround us:  in the grocery store, the cleaning isles, garden centers, the make-up counter, they are everywhere.  In a way, I feel homesteading is a necessity, not in the same way as our ancestors, but as the best way to reduce the toxins in our lives and to not contribute to the growing toxins entering our environment.

 What we have done so far

We have been making small steps toward becoming more self-sufficient and sustainable.  Here is what we have accomplished:

  1. Vegetable and herb garden

    Photo by Elizabeth Bernstein Photography

  2. Green house
  3. Line drying our clothes in the summer
  4. Composting
  5. Well water and septic
  6. Canning
  7. Homemade candles
  8. Homemade vanilla extract
  9. Shopping at local farm market
  10. Homemade household cleaners
  11. Some woodworking and handy work
  12. We buy pantry items from amish and online co-ops with organic and fair trade products.
  13. Homemade gifts
  14. Rain gauge and barometer (does that count?!)

What we want to do in the future

  1. Plant apple, pear, cherry and maybe peach trees
  2. Build and instal 2 rain barrels
  3. Chickens! And build a coop first
  4. Find new ways to reduce electricity usage
  5. Grow some mushrooms
  6. Make our own soap
  7. Sewing
  8. Grow more and new produce
  9. Save seeds
  10. Grow herbs indoors in the winter
  11. We are installing a portable generator this fall (thanks to my generous in-laws)

ARE YOU HOMESTEADING?  WHAT DO YOU DO FOR SUSTAINABILITY?  WHAT ELSE CAN I ADD TO OUR FUTURE LIST?

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A Homemade Holiday Gift

 

Healthy Home

Welcome to Healthy Home, an enlightening weekly series on Mom Going Green.  Healthy Home focuses on natural health topics for the whole family.  The goal of this series is to provide moms (and dads too), with information on how to achieve optimal health for the entire household naturally.   The series will include the latest in natural health news, wholesome health tips, yummy recipes, and natural health remedies that have worked for healthy homes in years past.

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Nothing beats a homemade holiday gift.  Recently, Denise Pickenpaugh came to our New Albany chiropractic office to teach a class on making homemade, all natural soy candles.   Soy is a great alternative to the traditional and unhealthy paraffin candle.  Paraffin candles emit carcinogens into the air.  Have you ever seen the black soot inside of a half burnt candle container and thought about that entering and depositing in your lungs too?  According to a CBS News article “Paraffin, which comes from the distillates of wood or petroleum, can be more toxic than gasoline”.    Planet Green states that the fumes from paraffin candles are similar to those from burning diesel.  Even OSHA lists paraffin as causing irritation to the eyes, nose, throat, and skin.  There are many benefits of soy candles over traditional paraffin candles.  Soy candles produce no black soot on walls, ceilings, and the candle container.   Soy beans are renewable, sustainable and grown in the US.  Making or buying soy candles supports American farmers.  Soy candles are non-toxic and non-irritating for people with breathing problems (and for those who don’t want to get breathing problems).   Also, each soy candles is unique and different.  Every soy field is different, with different soil and different properties therefore every candle is unique!  If buying a soy candle look for the percent soy on the label.  A candle can be labeled soy with little soy in it.  Look for 85-100% soy.   I had a great time at the candle making class and learned a lot.  I’m so excited to make some candles for friends and family this year (did I just give that away?).    So here’s what you need to know:

Materials:

  • Decorative container
  • Wick
  • Soy wax flakes
  • Scent
  • Hot glue gun
  • Double boiler
  • Scale
  • Liquid thermometer
  • Chopsticks or skewers

Make your Candle:

  • Heat water in the base of a double boiler to 125-135 degrees (maintain that temperature throughout process).
  • Use the scale to weigh 2lbs of soy wax flakes and place in double boiler
  • After wax is completely melted, add 2 oz of scent (1oz/lb wax) to the waxCook 15-20 min, or 20-30 if using vanilla or another heavy oil
  • In the meantime, use a hot glue gun to attach wick to the bottom of the container. 
  • Use a small wick for 1-2 inch diameter container, medium wick for 2-3 inch diameter, large for 3-4 inch and X-large for 4-5 inch diameter.  For larger containers double wick but be carefulot to place the wicks too close or they will drown each other out.
  • Pour wax into container.
  • Use chopsticks or skewers to hold the wick in place by lying them on top of the container on either side of the wickLet the wax dry, 12-24 hours
  • Trim the wickReady to gift or burn and enjoy!

Look for all natural ingreadients localy at Makes Scents Candles in Pataskala.

Delightful

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Homemade Green & Organic Play Dough

Growing Up Green!Welcome to the weekly series, Growing up Green.  This will be your eco-friendly stop for green, all-natural, toxin and chemical free tips for your family.   Learn simple and meaningful ways to make your children’s environment a little safer for their health and the earth.

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Jack 20 months Halloween 013Thursdays we have fun with art in our house and recently Jack and I created our own Green play dough.  The great think about homemade play dough is that you know and have control of every ingredient in it.  There was nothing toxic about our play dough.  I’t may not have tasted great if Jack put it in his mouth but it was safe without toxic chemical ingredients and dyes (see recipe below).  Once made, Jack enjoyed squishing and patting the play dough.  He also had fun guessing what animal, but or vehicle I was making.  Jack really wanted to drive the play dough car we made around the table but it wasn’t so hardy!  We enjoyed our art day with play dough.

 Green & Organic Play Dough:

–          1 cup Organic Flour

–          1 cup Warm Water

–          2/3 cup Sea Salt

–          2 tsp Cream of Tarter

–          1 tsp vegetable oil

–          Juice from ¼ Beet for red/pink color (*for blue try blueberry juice and for yellow try turmeric spice or curry powder.  Mix the above primary colors for additional colors.)

Mix the first 5 ingredients in a pot over medium heat.  Add in natural coloring.  Stir and heat until think.  Remove from heat and kneed until smooth.  Let cool then dig in!  Store play dough in an air tight container in your refrigerator.  Play dough will keep for quite a while.

** I have yet to try the blue or yellow yet.  If you have tried them or have another idea for all natural colors I’d love to hear about it!

Jack 20 months Halloween 010

Jack 20 months Halloween 011

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