Mom at home scientist

Ecology of my motherhood; analyzed, frugal, and (mostly) natural.


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Fall is in the Air

Jenn:

I don’t usually reblog, but this story is about my visit to my family farm in Oregon. Many of the same gardening scenarios are playing out here in Ohio as well. I will add that I made a killer fresh fermented salsa from my father’s produce! I really should share… but for now, YUM!

Originally posted on Hubbard's Garden Shed:

August 2014 007

The squash are slowing down, but we still have quite a bit!  The winter squash will be ready before you know it.

The squash are slowing down, but we still have quite a bit! The winter squash will be ready before you know it.

It seems crazy that the summer could pass so fast, but already we are waking up to crisp cool mornings and witnessing the slow down in production from the garden. Our month was busy here, not only with the picking, watering, a broken water pump, and attempting to keep up with some of the weeds, but also with a visit from one of our other sisters/daughters from back East and a family reunion!

The Hubbard girls, all together back on the farm for a brief time.

The Hubbard girls, all together back on the farm for a brief time.

The last of the corn has now been picked, and we’re lucky if there is any still in the garden shed to be sold at this very moment. Harvesting our practically legendary sweet corn has been quite effective at bringing customers out…

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Real Science and Natural Wonder; Dandelion to Prevent Atherosclerosis

Dandelion Flower from Wikimedia

Sometimes I come across a study that is too good not to share! Just a heads up disclaimer though; these statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. That doesn’t mean there isn’t any real merit though, just that dandelions aren’t a regulated drug. This doesn’t mean that they aren’t AS effective, or more so, than drugs you may be prescribed, but only that they aren’t a patentable creation that would garner enough profit to pay for the regulatory system and the expensive studies needed for their rubber-stamp of approval.

So, the study I stumbled across is from the International Journal of Molecular Sciences and is titled, “Hypolipidemic and Antioxidant Effects of Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) Root and Leaf on Cholesterol-Fed Rabbits.” You can find the article here.

In a nutshell, there were 4 groups of animals. The control group (the normal one) received a regular rabbit diet, a high-cholesterol group, a high-cholesterol and dandelion leaf supplemented group, and a high-cholesterol and dandelion root supplemented group.

What they found was that dandelion greatly affected the rabbits by reducing artery damage by cholesterol, lowered “bad” cholesterol, raised “good” cholesterol and acted as a potent antioxidant. Antioxidants are known to be beneficial by protecting dietary lipids from oxidation, suppressing the onset and development of atherosclerosis, and reducing the progression of atherosclerosis lesions .

So there you have it! Eat dandelions!!!

So, how do you go about it? Dandelions taste best in the spring but are still beneficial to eat throughout the year. This spring, I dug up a lot of dandelions. I chopped up roots finely, dried them and then ran them through a blender. This created a great medium for use as tea, or to add to your broth that you make as a base for meals.

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I used the tops as greens in salads and on sandwiches in place of lettuce. I threw the greens, flowers and roots into broths and into the freezer for future stock making. I chopped the leaves up and sauteed them with the goodies for omelets. My mother in-law even suggested battering and frying up the flowers, but it was too late in the season by the time I thought I’d try that. Next year I plan to make dandelion wine and dandelion chocolate too! :-)

 

 

Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2010, 11(1), 67-78; doi:10.3390/ijms11010067


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Gluten-free, Grain-free Tapioca Cheese Bread; My Favorite Bread

Grain-free deliciousness

Grain-free deliciousness

I love the windows and doors to other recipes available to me in Spanish. Last year I stumbled upon this gem here while on laylita.com, a blog on Ecuadorian recipes. Although I had studied abroad in Ecuador, I never had the pleasure of eating this bread until I made it. It is originally called Pan de Yuca, which means Yucca Bread. We, here in the US, call yucca by the name of tapioca.

Pan de Yucca before baking

Pan de Yucca before baking

I particularly LOVE this bread for Oh so many reasons!
1)It is FAST
2) It is cheesy!
3) It is versatile!
4) It is grain-free
5) It is high in protein(for a bread) and healthy fats

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So I thought I would translate the recipe for you with healthier (the original is healthy, but some ingredients can be improved) ingredient suggestions!
This is great for gluten-free people too, as long as you shred your own cheese.

Tapioca (Cheese) Bread
20-25 rolls

2 1/2 Cups Tapioca Flour/Starch
4 Cups(1 Lb.) Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
1 Teaspoon Baking Powder (aluminum-free)
Pinch of Celtic Sea Salt (not bleached)
4 oz (1/2 cup) room temperature butter(from grass-fed cows)
2 eggs (pastured and fertilized)
If necessary, 1-2 Tablespoons of filtered water, if the dough is too dry to work into balls.

To Prepare:
Preheat oven to 500 F (that is not a typo!). In a food processor, combine flour, cheese, baking powder and salt & mix well. Add the butter, and eggs then mix until the dough forms small balls… or until it looks like it has mixed really well. This is where you would add the extra water if the dough seemed too dry.
Remove the dough from the processor and make golf-ball sized dough balls. Place on a cookie sheet or jelly roll pan. I usually only cook half of the recipe and save the rest in the fridge until another day. You can do this mixing all by hand in a bowl… just use your hands and all of the ingredients at once.
Bake for about 5-7 minutes at 500 F, then turn to broil setting and brown your rolls for about 3-5 minutes.

Grain-free deliciousness

Grain-free deliciousness

Then serve while warm, that is, if you don’t eat them all first! These go great with any soup, just as a side, and your kids will love them… to the point you feel like hiding them from the tots.

You can also adapte this recipe by substuting half of the mozzarella with sharp cheddar, as a reader posted in the comments, or jalapeno jack, if you want to add some kick!

Grain-free Tapioca cheese bread.

Grain-free Tapioca cheese bread.


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Eviction Notice Served- To The Ants

It really must be spring, as the ants had returned this week. This time the ante was upped; from small sugar ants to large carpenter ants. Ugh!!! They were everywhere… my kitchen, living room, dining room, climbing on me while I was nursing my daughter. Last year, I tried putting down a chalk border line as my mother in-law had heard that they wouldn’t cross it. Numbers may have dropped but it didn’t STOP them. I can’t get chalk everywhere anyways. So I was checking Facebook early Sunday morning before church and came across a blog entry by the Thrifty Couple regarding ants.. so I combined several of these ideas in a spray bottle and misted the entrances to my house before walking out the door. I am pleased to say that I have not seen any additional intruders since then.

Ant Eviction Spray

2 C. White distilled vinegar
3 small bay leaves
5 drops cinnamon essential oil
5 drops peppermint essential oil
5 drops clove essential oil

Throw these all in a spray bottle, remember to label your bottle, and have fun with the eviction. Bonus, the house smells a lot better too!


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My Ohio Garden Chores in Late April

What I am doing for my garden update:

1) I cut a sweet potato in half today (from last year’s garden) and I am letting the cut cure. Then I will place the cut directly on soil in a pot inside the house. It will go wild with shoots, which I will snap off of the tater and put in a water vase. Within two weeks of that it will have rooted sufficiently and it should be ready to plant… I do this bare rooted.They are pretty temperature sensitive though, so be careful of your timing on planting in the garden. I also like them in containers for trailing foliage.

2) Dear hubby bought me seed potatoes, grade A. So I will have to cut them up and let them cure after rolling them in sulfur, to prevent rotting, for a couple of days. Then they will get planted every 1.5 ft apart in a deeply worked row of the garden that usually gets infringed by shade earlier in the fall, due to the seasonal changing sun position. It won’t bother them though as they will have died off around that time already.
I actually prefer grade B potatoes as they are smaller and then you don’t have to cut and cure them, just plant them as they come.

3) I am still running wheelbarrow loads of rabbit manure to the garden and covering the soil with a tarp to warm it up, speed up mulch breakdown and cut down on weeds.

4) Dear hubby also picked up a cold-frame from the side of the road meant for trash pick-up (old windows on frame still) and I will start lettuce and mustard greens asap under it.

5) Looming clean-up remains for the strawberry bed for spring production… I’ve been considering scrapping them for all the work and little produce you get if you try to do them organically here in Ohio… and I want a sweeter variety. Any suggestions?

6) I am still removing Sun-chokes/Jerusalem artichokes and feeding them to my rabbits. I’d like to move them all down to the creek-side since they are native, and let them do their thing down there…

7) If you haven’t done it already,  get a soil testing kit at a greenhouse to see how your proposed garden area needs amended (what you need to add to it). Grab Jerry Baker’s Garden Secrets for do-able natural amendments… though I’m not too convinced on the  efficacy of his tonics.


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Herping for Fun

It’s about that time of year… to go herping(in the Northern states or high altitudes)!!! Herping is searching for herps (amphibians and reptiles). Anybody interested? A low-lying wetlands park would be perfect. Equipment needed: boots & willingness to get muddy… small nets would really help out too & pan to observe them in. An identification guide would also come in handy. I can’t wait! I could hear the Bufo americanus singing this afternoon. This would be great for homeschoolers needing hands on biology experience… coming soon, morel season!
Side note, I have now procurred a contract for raw cow’s milk through a herd share! I made delicious butter today in a mixer from the cream off of the top… sigh :-)


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Quick Chemistry Quip for Nutrition: AB ≠ A ≠ A + B

 

Water (H2O, essential ingredient to life and 60-70% of your body) is not the same as oxygen (O2 needed for respiration but toxic in too high or low of levels). You take oxygen and ad 4 measly hydrogens and you get water. You can breathe oxygen, in the right proportions and live happily. Add those hydrogen atoms and you die… unless you drink it. Route of exposure is central to toxicity.

Neither is oxygen (O2) or water (H2O) the same as hydrogen peroxide (H2O2). Add one more oxygen to water and you get a wonderful toxin, made especially in your cells to kill invaders before spitting them out(1) or to commit suicide if the cell ‘decides’ something has gone wrong with themself (say cancer)(2)… a “for the greater good” decision for the community of cells that make up the whole person… you.

It really ‘gets my goat’ when doctor advise against or for certain foods because they believe they are quoting real evidence (what they refer to as “evidence based medicine.”(3)). I mean, the reality is that they are often telling you… “Don’t eat item A…” because somewhere… there is a study which said “AB” was bad for you. That is like saying, “Don’t breathe oxygen ever,” because they read a study which showed how detrimental it was to breathe water.

Even substances which have the exact amount of particular molecules can have vastly different consequences in the body if they are merely rearranged. Think of a paddle wheel at a grist mill. Take that same paddle and make it so it only will turn in the opposite direction of normal. Will that grist mill continue to function? No. It won’t.

So the point is… any ingredient which has its chemical structure altered, can no longer be considered the same ingredient! It may be derived from that same source… but I can derive distilled water from milk, and it is not the same. Or, I can make butter from the cream from that milk… still, very different in how it is used and I didn’t even add any molecules to make it. So to say that soybean oil, after being hydrogenated, is merely hydrogenated soybean oil… is fallacy and deceit. The same goes for lard. When you read how bad lard is for you, do they specify that it is the hydrogenated product of chemical processes to create a different substance which still, falsely, retains the name of lard, or was it rendered from fat by merely heating it enough to separate the oil from the flesh? A ≠ AB.

Always look, listen and research critically, asking these important specific questions when any statement is made.

So that is why a doctor may tell you not to eat coconut oil if you have heart disease, even though studies show how beneficial it can be (4). Or not to eat lard (5) if you have diabetes, when there are also studies that support it (6).

 

1. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080102134129.htm

2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19723104

3. http://www.cochrane.org/about-us/evidence-based-health-care

4. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0009912004001201

5. http://europepmc.org/abstract/MED/17752774/reload=0;jsessionid=oWg4jiX8Ul5CX3xzUr79.18

6. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1460-9568.2005.04125.x/abstract;jsessionid=1634196F8DD0946FBE83BA3EB10D3F25.f03t04?deniedAccessCustomisedMessage=&userIsAuthenticated=false

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