Mom at home scientist

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


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Situational Quiz; with Facebook application

You go grocery shopping and see someone you are friends or acquaintances with. They having a conversation with someone else you don’t know about something that you overhear and have an opinion on. Do you…

  1. Approach the two and interject your opinion, forcefully or not.
  2. Quietly go about your business, and maybe acknowledge your friend with a nod, smile, salute or thumbs up, as you pass by.
  3. Try your best not to listen to the conversation.

Do you know which of the above answers are correct, follows etiquette and socially acceptable?

If you answered A, you are in the wrong. This is considered rude behavior and unless you see that they are harassing your friend or belittling them, you have no right to come into their conversation unless you see your friend specifically call you to them by name.

If you answered B, this is considered proper behavior if you are more than acquaintances and are actually good friends with the person you see. By good friends, we mean that you actually talk face-to-face or on the phone within the year about things not shared with the general population.

If you answered C, this is considered proper behavior for everyone who doesn’t fit in the B category.

The truth is, this quiz IS about Facebook. I am sorry that Facebook is so rude as to lay out other people’s conversations between them and another friend which isn’t a mutual friend where you can see it. But please, do NOT interject your opinion on these posts if you can help it.


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Easy Fermented Rice For Digestibility and Increased Nutrition

Mason Jar of Fermented Raw Rice

Mason Jar of Fermented Raw Rice

When I was a teenager, I was diagnosed with a particular food intolerance by our naturopathic doctor. I had had chronic eczema on my face for over a year, as did my younger sister on her arms and neck, and so we drove over 10 hours to see this particular doctor who had a unique way of looking at allergies and intolerances. He diagnosed my intolerances as eggs (any part thereof) and grain/dairy combinations. I was told I could have either grain or dairy, but not both within 6 hours (gastric emptying) of the other. So for the next 10 years, I followed his suggestions, with complete healing of my complexion issues and also massive improvements in gastro-intestinal health issues. I was actually unaware of my issues in the digestive department until I actually abstained from those foods and could tell within an hour if prepared foods actually had something I wasn’t allowed to eat in it. Well, eventually I came across the nutritional book, Nourishing Traditions, which teaches the Weston A. Price diet. The WAP diet holds that grains are easier to digest and more nutritious when they are fermented, soaked and/or sprouted (1,2, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9). So it was with much caution that I decided to start dabbling in these alternative preparation methods and testing them on myself in the presence of dairy products. My first success was with sprouted wheat bread. After 10 years, can you even guess how much I just wanted delicious grilled cheese sandwiches?!

My second experiment was with fermenting grains. I am happy to say that this also seems to be a great success! This greatly improves my food budget as well, as I can now plan meals with economically bought grains that just need a little preparation.

Regardless, I wanted to share with you my routine with fermenting rice. I fill a quart Mason jar with rice up to the shoulder of the container, including about ½ cup from a previous ferment. If you don’t have a previous ferment, use a splash of raw apple cider vinegar, raw kombucha, raw kombucha vinegar from an overactive continuos ferment, or some whey which drains off of your plain yogurt or sour cream. I cover the rice with filtered water. I cap the jar and shake it around a bit until I can tell that some of the foggy water of the previous fermentation has made its way into the new water added. Then I open the lid again and add more water to rinse any grains off of the walls above the water line, and to bring the water level to about where the cap threads start. I place the jar on a dishcloth, in case it overflows due to carbon dioxide production, and let it sit on my counter for a couple of days, or even weeks, as long as you pour off and replace the water above the line of the grains daily. As long as I see the little bubbles around the grains in the jar, I know that the rice is fermented enough for me.

Rice Fermentation Bubbles close-up

Rice Fermentation Bubbles close-up

When I am ready to make my rice, I keep track of how much rice I take from the jar, which is easy since Mason jars have measurements along the side of them. I spoon the rice into a mesh colander and rinse it thoroughly, before putting it in an adequate sized saucepan. If I want sticky rice, I add an equal amount of filtered water. If I want something more al dente and very separated, I will put my rice in a steamer basket, and only steam it. Usually, I add a little less than an equal amount of water to rice. So if I am cooking 2 cups of fermented, uncooked rice, I add about 1 ¾ C. water, or a combination of water and coconut cream or broth. I also add salt. I throw the ingredients all in the pan at the temperature they happen to be, and turn the stove up until it boils, I put a lid on it and reduce the heat to simmer. I don’t think it even takes 10 minutes, but the length of cooking also has to do with personal taste and the dish you are preparing it for.

Bubby fermenting rice

Bubbly fermenting rice

Easy Fermented Rice                                                            

3 Cups rice

1 quart mason jar with lid

Filtered water

Choice of starter- previously fermented but not rinsed rice, raw apple cider vinegar, raw kombucha, raw kombucha vinegar, or whey from cultured yogurt or cultured sour cream

salt

Directions: Fill mason jar with rice and starter up to the 3 Cup measurement line. Fill to top of grain with filtered water. Cap and vigorously shake about 6 times. Place upright, uncap, rinse with additional water and stray grains that are now above the water line or on the cap into the jar. Fill with water up to the bottom of the threads. Cap jar again. Place on dishtowel, on counter until small gas bubbles are visible around grains (about 2-4 days) while changing out the water above the grain line daily. Note measurement level of fermented grain. Scoop grain out into a mesh sieve and rinse the rice thoroughly, while leaving at least ¼ Cup of unrinsed fermented grain for a starter for your next batch in the jar. Note the amount of rice you removed as you will want slightly less than an equal amount for cooking. After rinsing, move rice to a non-reactive saucepan and add salt & water. Bring to boil, reduce heat to simmer & cover until cooked according to your preference.

Enjoy!!!

 

References

1) http://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/living-with-phytic-acid/

2) http://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/be-kind-to-your-grains-and-your-grains-will-be-kind-to-you/

3) http://www.nourishingdays.com/2012/01/fermented-grains-the-perpetual-soured-porridge-pot/

4) http://www.foodforlife.com/about_us/ezekiel-49

5) http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10408398909527507#.VMsIJy5K4no

6) http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0740002009001749

7) http://jn.nutrition.org/content/130/8/1991.short

8) http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=844904&fileId=S0007114567000492

9)   http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0308814608002513


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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.

IMG_6433

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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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 🙂