Thursday, May 16, 2013

Homemade Healing Salve

This post was inspired by a friend's request for help with first-aid items to keep on hand :) 

As you can see, we have already dug into this salve- actually, my kids reach for this salve regularly!  They have learned that it can soothe the itch of a bug bite or help bruises heal more quickly.  Since I have added lavender essential oil, it also smells great :)  We use this salve for anything and everything- scrapes, bug bites, blisters, chapped skin, bruises, sun burn, etc.  If I had a baby in the house, I would also use this to prevent/treat diaper rash!

Here's my recipe for healing salve: (all herbs are dried)
2 parts plantain leaf
2 parts comfrey leaf
1 part calendula
1 part yarrow
1 part echinacea
1/2 part rosemary
olive/coconut oil

Depending on how much you are making, choose your measuring tool (anything from a tablespoon to a cup).  Fill a canning jar about 1/3-1/2 way with herbs, then cover the herbs with olive oil, coconut oil, or a mixture of both.  Cover tightly with lid.

Next, set your jar on a thick cloth in a crock pot.  Fill crock pot with water, up to lid of jar.  Set crock pot on "warm" setting and let it warm the herbs for 2 to 3 days.  Shake once a day to keep herbs circulating (add more oil if the herbs are not covered).  Add water to crock pot as it evaporates.

After infusing your oil, strain off herbs into cheesecloth or other thin towel.  Place infused oil into a small saucepan.  Add 1 oz beeswax for every 4 oz infused oil and heat until beeswax is melted.

Remove oil from heat and add essential oils (I like lavender)- pour into containers while still warm.
Your homemade salve is ready to use when it is completely cooled!  

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Homemade Italian Stuffed Peppers- NO Fillers!

I love the taste of green peppers- on anything!  This is for all you green pepper lovers out there :) 
I've always thought you had to have fillers (bread or rice) or binders (eggs) in stuffed peppers, but this recipe calls for neither.  It is very flavorful and filling and a meal in of itself.  These peppers are also good warmed up as lunch leftovers! 
1/2 lb ground beef
1/2 lb Italian pork sausage ( I used link sausage and took it out of casing)
2 T butter
4-6 peppers, red, green or yellow
1 small onion, minced
green pepper tops, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
2 cups seasoned, organic tomato sauce
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup mozzarella cheese, divided
Heat oven to 350 degrees F
1. De-seed and wash peppers.  Save tops to mince and add to stuffing.
2. Brown meats in large skillet, set aside.
3. Add butter to skillet and saute onions and minced pepper tops until soft.
4. Add meat, garlic, tomato sauce and 3/4 c mozzarella cheese to skillet.  Mix until incorporated.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.
5. Fill peppers with stuffing and place in a shallow, greased pan.  ( I used a cast iron skillet) Sprinkle remaining cheese over peppers.
6.  Bake, covered with foil, for 30 minutes.
7.  Bake another 10 minutes, uncovered. 

As an added treat, my son made himself an "Italian sloppy joe" with some leftover stuffing.  He said it was even better than the peppers!  Two meals in one- I love it!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Homemade (Gluten-Free) Peanut Butter Cookies

My mom made some mean peanut butter cookies when I was growing up... she still makes them when we have a family get-together.  They are comfort food at its best. 
Since my family is trying to cut out grains, I have found a great recipe for these yummy morsels that calls for NO wheat flour.  I have also cut the sugar down from the original recipe, and the peanut buttery goodness shines through :)

This recipe makes 2 dozen cookies:

1 cup natural peanut butter
1/4 c organic sugar
1/4 c packed organic brown sugar
1 large egg
1/4 c + almond flour
1/2 t aluminum-free baking soda
1/2 t vanilla extract
1/4 t fine sea salt

Heat oven to 325 degrees F.  Mix all ingredients until well-incorporated.  Roll into balls (about the size of large marbles), then smoosh with a fork in a grid pattern. 

If the dough is too sticky, just add a little almond flour as you roll them out!  Bake cookies for 8-10 minutes, until light golden brown.  They will be very light and fluffy- great with a big glass of raw milk :) YUM!
( just a note:  parchment paper was mentioned in the original recipe, but ours worked fine without)

Let these babies cool for at least 5 minutes before you dig in... and you will want to dig in!  These are so yummy :)  Enjoy!