Fennel for the Belly

I was talking to a friend on the phone the other morning and she mentioned eating black licorice for IBS. That got me thinking about my fennel which had just come into bloom.

I truly love fennel flowers and they taste exactly like black licorice and have the same calming effect on your belly as the candies/sugared-filled kind.

I taste tested a flower on my husband and he swears it’s what the candy is made from. You can grow it yourself (very easily) or buy the seeds here

You can even make a belly-calming tea that is delicious, if you like black licorice that is.

1 tablespoon fennel seeds

2 tablespoons fresh lemon balm

Sweetener of your choice (I drink it without)

1 cup hot water

Steep the seeds for 5 minutes with something to cover the mug and you’re set after straining out the seeds.

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The Solution for Dead Thumb

Dead thumb, what is it and do you have it?

In my house dead thumb is the opposite of green thumb. I’m lucky to be blessed with green. But, if you were not blessed as I was, there may be a solution.

I was at a BBQ last night and took my famous micro-green pasta salad made with quinoa pasta (I buy this one). I promise to share the recipe another time, this post is about turning your dead thumb green. Anyway, a lady mentioned she loved the salad and asked what was in it. Of course I went nuts telling her about the micro-greens. She said if you only need to keep them alive for 2 to 3 weeks it was probably something she could grow which got me thinking.

First I want you to ask yourself how long a plant lives once it falls under your care. If you say a week or two, I’ve got you covered. If you can only manage a day or two, I’m truly sorry and you are more than welcome to stop reading now.

My solution to dead thumb is growing your own micro-green garden in your house.

At any given time I have four trays growing. I think my seed supply will last me about 40 years but I could be exaggerating, slightly. These babies grow from seed to eating ready in 7 to 10 days. That’s it.

I put micro-greens in everything: salads, Asian dishes, pasta, etc. I even slip some in my tofu medley. The micro-greens give us so much yummy nutrition all year around and even if you have a dead thumb, you can grow these babies.

Our cart was $99 dollars at Home Depot. The trays cost $1.99 each and I use 2 per unit with holes punched in the top tray so it leaks into the bottom one. 1 1/2 inches of fine soil per tray and you’re set. You don’t even need fertilizer because you’ll eat the micro-greens before they need it. And the best part… they grow all year around even when my garden is buried under two feet of snow.

Here’s a link to Wellness Mama’s (I follow her religiously) post on how to start your own micro-green garden (there are also videos on YouTube): https://wellnessmama.com/36688/grow-microgreens/

Here’s a list of the micro-greens I’ve had really good success with (they grow like weeds).

Kale

Spinach

Mung Beans

Radish

Alfalfa

Mustard

Sunflower

Veggies for Dinner

Jump to Recipe

Stir Fry Everything

Before grocery shopping we need to clean out our veggies and prepare room for fresh ones. Here's how we do it. Can you say YUMMY?
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: leek, stir fry, vegan, vegetables
Servings: 2
Author: The Healthy Grandma
Cost: $5

Ingredients

  • 6 cups vegetables anything you have in the fridge
  • 1 leek (the super onion) Optional, any onion will do. For leeks, clean well with 1 teaspoon backing soda in 1 gallon of water
  • 1 tbsp olive oil If you don't use oil, water in the bottom of the pan will work fine. Hint hint for anyone watching their weight.

Instructions

  • I add the leek as a veggie because it's one people often overlook. Leeks are the superman of onions and if you've never tried one, you need to.
  • Chop your veggies rather large
  • Heat your olive oil on medium and add the veggies to a large pan
  • Cook until slightly tender or mushier (yuck) if that's how you like them
  • When finished, add to the top of quinoa with a little soy sauce. Delicious!

Notes

We pre-wash/soak all of our uncooked veggies in 1 teaspoon baking soda and allow them to soak for at least 5 minutes. 

Bugs, Worms, and Food

This little guy lives in my lemon balm and he get’s pretty feisty when I water. I’ve watched him grow from the size of a dime to the budding teenager he is now at about the size of a quarter. He’s been around for two months and I’ve also watched my lemon balm flourish.

Last year the white flies almost did this prized plant in and I’m so happy Lancelot decided to save my delicious smelling and tasting lemon plant.

This brings me to a huge problem we have when it comes to food.

BUGS: the good and the bad.

Although truthfully, they all have their place in nature and none are truly bad. Maybe I’ll just use the word ick instead because I’m not too fond of some little green worms who are using my kale to gain weight. This little guy was moved out of my garden this morning but I’m sure I didn’t find all his brothers and sisters.

My poor worm-eaten kale

So we’ve established there are some bugs I’m not fond of and I’m sure you have your share. Here’s the thing, bugs mean my plants are not sprayed with pesticides or governed by GMO manipulations. I grow plants the way they should be grown and I do everything possible to naturally help them thrive.

When the worms win I have no problem picking away their bite marks and eating the kale or spinach or chard. I’ve even brought in the day’s bounty and found the small green worms that are my nightmare this year and carried the little guy outside and placed him far from my veggies. Wash, eat, repeat.

We must get back to nature to heal!

This includes bugs and learning they aren’t a bad thing. If a salad in a restaurant comes with a worm, I don’t send it back. My thought process switches to survival and the fact the processed salad I’m about to eat might just have some healthy nutrients left that my body vitally needs, after picking off the worm of course 😉

Vegan Crepes for Breakfast

Vegan Crepes

Yum, yum, yum! The joke’s on you if you think eating vegan tastes bad. The joke is also on my husband because each day I change his mind and he’s gotten to the point where he just eats what’s in front of him and loves it. I made these one morning when he decided to sleep in. They were half gone by the time he woke up. He finished the other half before I could make myself another.
Prep Time3 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Course: Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine: Healthy
Keyword: vegan, crepes, breakfast, fun with food, vegan crepes
Author: The Healthy Grandma
Cost: $4

Equipment

  • Non-stick pan

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Cook on the stove top over medium heat stirring throughout cooking. Turn lower if fruit bubbles and keep stirring until cooked.

Vegan BBQ Ribs

Vegan Ribs

We grill all year around, even in the snow, but since I’ve become vegan, we seem to be doing less and less of it. When we do, it’s grilled veggies for me. My husband tends to go my way and have a veggie wedgie burger or just my veggies. Last night I wanted something different so played around with a vegan rib recipe that needed tweaking to fit our diet guidelines (not all vegan recipes are healthy!). When I experiment this way, I never know what I’ll get. My husband prepared a large salad just in case. He asked what was in the ribs and I made him wait until after he ate them. He guessed tofu but he was wrong. The big surprise… these ribs are to die for!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: meat substitute, vegan, ribs, bbq, summer barbeque,
Cost: $8

Ingredients

  • 1 cup pea protein buy link on shopping list
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast buy link on shopping list
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp celery seeds substitute 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper less if using regular pepper
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 2 tbsp natural peanut butter I make mine from scratch
  • 1 tsp liquid smoke
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce organic is a must with soy sauce
  • 1 cup BBQ Sauce your favorite

Instructions

  • Lightly grease an 8 by 8 baking dish. I cooked my ribs first in my air-fryer and then on the grill. You can use your oven at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or the air-fryer on 350 for 20 minutes.
  • In a medium bowl, stir pea protein, nutritional yeast, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, celery, and pepper.
  • In separate bowl or measuring cup, whisk together warm water, peanut butter, liquid smoke, and soy sauce until peanut butter dissolves and is part of the liquid. Pour into bowl with dry ingredients and stir until a soft dough forms. Now use your hands and really mix the dough together.
  • Transfer dough into greased baking dish and press evenly until it fits the entire pan. Use a knife to cut your ribs into 2 sections of 1-inch slices. This allows you to separate them after cooking.
  • Place pan in preheated oven for 25 minutes on 350.
  • Remove from oven and coat with bbq sauce.
  • Now place directly on grill and cook until your ribs are a deep brown or blackened the way I like them for about 5 minutes, turn and quill the other side for another 5 minutes or so. Add more bbq sauce if desired and enjoy!

Grain Free Wraps/Tortillas

Vegan Grain Free Wraps

We use these for breakfast lunch and dinner with a slight variation listed in the instructions
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Course: Breakfast, Main Course
Keyword: vegan, wraps, gluten free,
Servings: 3
Author: The Healthy Grandma
Cost: $5

Equipment

  • Non-stick pan

Ingredients

  • 1 cup chick pea flour
  • 1/2 cup tapioca flour
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1.8 cups water

Instructions

  • Toss ingredients into high powered blender
    Mix on high for one minute
    Pour about 1/4 cup onto heated Teflon pan swirling around to cover bottom
    In about a minute the sides will peal up
    Using a plastic spatula, flip the wrap over and cook for about 60 second
    Place on plate and make the next one
    For crepes: Replace turmeric, garlic, onion powder with 1 teaspoon Stevia liquid & 1 teaspoon vanilla
    For Spinach Wraps: Replace turmeric, garlic, onion powder with 1/2 cup packed raw spinach


Apple Pie to Die For

Just in time for Thanksgiving, I’m making gluten, grain, and egg free apple pie. It’s supper simple and tastes great. Start with easy peasy pie crust made in your Ninja or food processor.

Pie Crust:

1 1/4 cup almond flour

1 tablespoon coconut flour

4 tablespoons palm oil or ghee, or butter (melted)

1 tablespoon flax seed for egg replacement (1 egg)

3 tablespoons water for egg replacement. If you use an egg, discard water.

Directions: Combine all ingredients in Ninja and mix until a ball of dough forms. Press into pie dish and bake on 350 for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Apple Filling:

I use about 6 to 8 green and red apples because I like my pie a little tart and a little sweet.

6 to 8 green and/or red apples (pealed, cored and sliced)
2 tablespoons cinnamon (use to taste and cut back or add more as you prefer)
Natural Sugar (2 tablespoons maple syrup or honey, or liquid or natural stevia, or monk fruit to taste)

Directions: Prepare apples while crust is cooking. Place about a tablespoon of water in the bottom of a pan and place the apples inside. Add the cinnamon and sugar. After cooking you can taste test to add more sugar if needed. I don’t like a lot and sometimes none at all. Cook the apples until they are soft but not mushy. I cook for about 15 to 25 minutes on low heat covered. Be sure to stir often so they don’t stick. The water is to help with sticking. When your apples are cooked, poor them into your pie crust and you’re done. Refrigerate or serve hot.

Luscious Grandma Lotion

The older I become the dryer my skin.

I make this lotion when I make soap but sometimes I run out early and go to coconut oil. At those times I miss this lotion like crazy. My granddaughter Shaylee also uses this when she visits because it’s gluten free and works so well on her dry skin.

You will need: a canning jar, medium pot, container to pour lotion into when finished cooking.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup – almond or olive oil

1/4 cup – coconut oil

1/4 cup – bees wax

2 tablespoons – shea butter (optional but I use)

Directions:

Combine ingredients in jar and place jar in pot of water. Bring water to a slow boil then turn down to simmer once boiling, stir every few minutes, when all ingredients are liquid, turn heat to low and allow lotion to heat an additional 5 minutes. Pour into container (will be hot so be careful), refrigerate for at least 48 hours before using so the lotion can set.

Tips: I double the above recipe and pour into separate containers. One remains in the refrigerator until needed. The lotion has anti spoiling properties from the bees wax and coconut oil but shouldn’t be used at room temperature for more than 6 months.

  1. ingredients
  2. bringing water to a boil
  3. what the oil looks like when ready
  4. my favorite container filled with grandma lotion (it will turn white after cooling)
  5. grandma celebrating a new batch of oil because she was out

I use this on my face and body. It also has natural sunblock due to the coconut oil and bees wax. We don’t use sunblock because of all the bad chemicals.

Homemade Soap with Lye Just Like Grandma Made

Soap: Such a wonderful thing but the soap you buy is not so wonderful

I was a Dove soap user for years. Here are the ingredients: Sodium Lauroyl Isethionate, Stearic Acid, Sodium Tallowate Or Sodium Palmitate, Lauric Acid, Sodium Isethionate, Water, Sodium Stearate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Sodium Cocoate Or Sodium Palm Kernelate, Fragrance, Sodium Chloride, Tetrasodium Edta, Tetrasodium Etidronate, Titanium Dioxide (Ci 77891).

I don’t know what most of those ingredients are so I’ll just show you one: Tetrasodium Etidronate (better known as EDTA), is classified as a high human health priority and expected to be toxic or harmful. Please don’t get me started on Titanium Dioxide but you can read this article if you’re curious.

Yeah, I’ll say no to that. I don’t even want to take the time to read up on all the other ingredients so I’ll teach you make soap the way my grandmother did it minus the lard. This soap is sudsy and very gentle with nourishing oil for your skin. It’s the only bath soap we use.

Grandma’s Soap Recipe

Ingredients:

40 oz – Almond or Olive oil

10 oz – Coconut oil

16 oz – Water

6.9 oz by weight – Household lye (found cheapest at your local hardware store)

Optional – 1 oz Essential oil for smell (I use nothing because I like it natural)

Safety:

No children in the kitchen, use rubber gloves when handling lye and immediately wash with soap and water if you get any on your skin. It will also burn clothing so wear something old. Now get over your fear because it’s super simple if you follow these precautions.

You will need:

Immersion blender (I love my Breville blender but you can stir with a wooden spoon, it just takes longer), large cooking pot, 2 – wire cooling racks, 2 – silicone cupcake pans, large glass measuring cup (needs to hold at least 8 cups), kitchen scale & a piece of parchment paper

Directions:

Combine oils in large pot. Fill the measuring cup with 16 oz (2 cups) water. Place parchment paper on scale and weigh (between 6.8 & 6.10 oz). Carefully poor the lye into the water (this is were the lye will burn if you touch or splatter it. Be careful). Mix the bubbling lye well with a metal spoon then carefully poor into oil. Add essential oil if you choose to use. Use immersion blender until ingredients thicken and turn white (saponification or chemical reaction has taken place and the lye is now soap and will no longer burn).

Place cupcake holders on wire racks. I use a small measuring cup to transfer soap into the cupcake pans and fill them as high as they can take. If you have leftover poor into a plastic dish. Leave soap in the pans and on the rack over night so it can harden. The following morning, remove soap from pans and place on racks to cure. Curing will take 4 to 6 weeks depending on dryness in the air. You want your soap good and hard.

  1. Ingredients
  2. measuring lye
  3. lye bubbling in water
  4. blending the oil with lye
  5. filled cupcake pans

*My friend Connie at Connie’s Random Thoughts (fiction writing blog) receives credit for the soap recipe. She invited me to her home and showed me how to make it. Connie grates a cake of cured soap, adds water so it devolves and uses as shampoo. It’s too oily for my hair but it may work for you.

I’ll be posting my lotion recipe next because I make the lotion when making my soap about every 2 months.