Sunday, October 6, 2013

Cultured Veggies for Cold and Flu Season (and of Course Yummy Snacking)

A few months back I tried my hand at raw homemade sauerkraut and it was a great success.  Since moving to Germany in June of 2012 I have tasted some truly delicious sauerkraut.  It is one of my favorite things to eat here.  However, I have yet to come across a fresh sauerkraut that is not pasteurized.  Some friends told me that I could find it in the deli section of the local supermarket, but I have not found it myself.  Maybe because my German isn't so great (yet).

I didn't let that stop me though.  Within five minutes of searching on Pinterest (what did I ever do without this amazing resource?), I had found no less than ten recipes for homemade raw, probiotic-rich crunchy sauerkraut.  It was so incredibly simple to make that I thought I had completely messed it up and my kraut would be a failure.  Turns out it really is just that easy to make cultured veggies.

Did you know that probiotic rich fermented foods are actually some of the most powerful healing foods?  Our immune systems rely on the absolutely essential layer of defense that lies within our digestive tract.  The beneficial bacteria that live there keep harmful pathogens at bay.  When our gut bacteria are not healthy the harmful pathogens make their way into our bloodstream.  One of the single most powerful ways to ensure we remain healthy (and a powerful "medicine" when we are sick) is to consume fermented foods of all kinds so that we keep our good bacteria thriving.

There are many, many other ways that having a healthy balance of gut flora affects our bodies in positive ways (consider this article about the relationship between gut bacteria and the brain!).  However, I decided to make these cultured veggies today for the sole purpose of having them around to eat when the first signs of a cold or flu show up in the upcoming months.

I used the same method for these veggies as I did with the sauerkraut I made a few months back.  Chop them to the desired size, add salt, cover in water with 2-3 inches of space at the top, and set on the counter for at least a week.  For an extra added immune-boosting and infection-fighting bonus, I added no less than 6 crushed cloves of garlic.  Delicious and powerful! We shall see how they turn out!

(Click here for the original Pin that I used to make these veggies)

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Raw Milk

The farm where we buy our milk
I moved to Germany just over 11 months ago.  We are stationed here with the Army.  We love it!  We found out that Germany is the birth place of homeopathic medicine, which is great when you're a family like ours that likes to use natural remedies whenever possible.  We have also enjoyed knowing that our food is not tainted with genetically modified organisms due to a labeling law here in the European Union.  To top it off, Germany is super kid-friendly!  Unlike the US, German restaurants and stores frequently have a kid's play area near the regular seating areas, and there are playgrounds everywhere.  It has been a wonderful experience for our family thus far and we are looking forward to two more years here.

About 22 months ago I began a journey into eating "real food."  It all started with being introduced to the Leake family on and my subsequent choice to rid my family's diet of processed food.  We have come full circle since that day and pretty much live this concept as a lifestyle.  We all noticed improvements in our gastrointestinal health when we stopped drinking UHT pasteurized/homogenized cow's milk, and have basically been drinking packaged store-bought almond milk ever since.  I have been well aware that packaged (as opposed to home made) almond milk is not exactly a real food.  But I have just not found an alternative to conventional cow's milk that both satisfies our cereal cravings and tastes creamy the way milk should.  So we have continued to drink the Blue Diamond even though it contains carrageenan (a carcinogenic ingredient) and the questionable synthetic vitamins D2 and vitamin A palmitate.

So I decided to venture into the world of raw milk!  After much studying, I have found that milk in it's original state is actually a very nutritious, living substance that can be nourishing to our bodies!  Unlike UHT milk (ultra-high temperature pasteurized), the enzymes, probiotics, proteins, and other nutrients are all left intact within the milk.  Many people who are sensitive or intolerant to dairy find that they do just fine with raw milk.  Since my toddler has never really drank anything other than water and my milk, I wanted to see if he might enjoy the occasional glass of cow's milk.

It has been a big hit with everyone in our family except my husband.  He still prefers the almond milk, but both my son and I love raw milk!  It's even more fun because we get to drive down to the actual farm every week or two and give them our bottles to fill up from the cooling tank right next to the barn where all the cows sit and chew their hay.  And let me tell you, these are some happy cows!  It is so rewarding to be able to get your food straight from the farm and see it go all the way to your table, unadulterated, pure, and in it's natural state.  My favorite thing to do with the milk is to make some steel cut oats with cinnamon and then scoop the cream off the top of the milk (since it separates as it sits in the fridge overnight) and put it right into my oatmeal.  So rich and so delicious!  If you ever have a chance to purchase raw milk, I highly recommend it.  Just make sure it comes from grass fed cows.  It's always best to see the farm yourself, but if you have a local source that purchases from the farm, just do a little research to make sure you're getting quality milk!  I can tell you that my family is officially hooked and we will enjoy raw milk for as long as we can.

P.S.  It's also wonderfully cheap here in Germany!  Only 50 euro cents per liter, so roughly $2.57 a gallon.  That's the same price as conventional milk in California on sale and cheaper than conventional milk on the east coast of the United States!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Halloween with Hyland's

I know for most people Halloween and Trick or Treat have come but I have to say I have seen some AMAZING costumes on my facebook newsfeed. Our trick or treating was postponed so technically I still have time, but I think this year we are relying on costumes my mom sent down. Last year, we went all out for the yearly Pumpkin Patch Parade and my husband (yes Husband!) made my youngest son's costume.

You are probably like what on earth but baby E was slimer.  My husband and older son were both ghostbusters.

How creative were you this year?  If you are ready to showcase your Halloween Costume making skills? 

Hyland’s is hosting a fun Halloween contest featuring $500 worth of prizes! 

To enter, just head to to upload your photos before November 5. (You will see a tab at the top of the page “Enter Contest”)

After you enter your photo(s), you can view your submission(s) under the “View Entries” tab and vote for your favorites November 6 through November 9. 

The grand prize winner will be determined by votes and receive:
  • $100 VISA gift card
  • Hyland’s Backpack
  • Hyland’s Sore Throat
  • Hyland’s Cold Tablets with Zinc
  • Hyland’s Compete Flu Care
  • Hyland’s Complete Flu Care 4 Kids
  • Hyland’s Nightime Cold n’ Cough 4 Kids
  • Hyland’s DEFEND Nightime Cold & Cough
  • Hyland’s Sniffles ‘n Sneezes 4 Kids
  • Hyland’s Baby Tiny Cold Tablets   
Approximate Value: $200!

Additional Prizes:  Hyland’s will be awarding second place prizes based on three separate categories: Cutest, Most Elaborate and Most Creative.
Each prize includes:
  • Hyland’s Backpack
  •  Hyland’s Sore Throat
  • Hyland’s Cold Tablets with Zinc
  • Hyland’s Compete Flu Care
  • Hyland’s Complete Flu Care 4 Kids
  • Hyland’s Nightime Cold n’ Cough 4 Kids
  • Hyland’s DEFEND Nightime Cold & Cough
  •  Hyland’s Sniffles ‘n Sneezes 4 Kids
  • Hyland’s Baby Tiny Cold Tablets
Approximate Value $100

Good Luck!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

I am the Voice of Hyland's

 If you have read my previous blog posts, you probably already know I am a huge fan of Hyland's Homeopathic products.  I was first introduced to Hyland's when my oldest son was 6 months old.  His gums were inflamed and I could see not 1 but 4 teeth on the verge of popping through.  He was MISERABLE!  I kept hearing about Hyland's teething tablets from my friends and finally gave them a try.  They are now my go-to teething relief product.  I have used them with both my boys and have never disappointed. 

When I was approached to be a Hyland's Ambassador, I jumped at the chance.   It was just a great opportunity for our blog but also for you, which I will get back to in a bit so hold tight. You won't be disappointed.

Hyland’s was founded in 1903 as a Los Angeles pharmacy. At that point, homeopathy was standard medical practice in the United States.  I think we are coming full circle, don't you?  Throughout the decades, Hyland’s continue to focus on natural medicines that were strong in relieving symptoms but gentle in the way they worked.  Their products are designed to help aid our body's natural defenses. This is one of the main reasons I was drawn to their products.  

As a nurse, I try very hard to balance conventional medicine with other alternative and natural approaches for both myself and my family.   My family eats a well-balanced real food diet and live active lives.  We help build our body's defenses through diet and use natural products to help give our body's an extra boost when we are sick. There are lots of different homeopathic products out there but I rely on Hyland's because I find the company very trustworthy. They go to great lengths to offer their consumers effective products that are safe.

I know I talk a lot about their teething tablets but my family has used a variety of their products.  The most recent product we have tried was the Hyland's Muscle Therapy Gel with Arnica.  My husband and I both run.  We alternate nights so that someone is always home with the boys.  A couple weeks ago my husband started taking nights off because he had a constant cramp in his calf.  He tried stretching and resting but it just kept coming back.  He started using the muscle therapy and it helped a lot.  He wasn't quite sold on the smell but he was glad to have some relief. 

Ok so back to the good news for YOU... 

 Hyland's is sponsoring a wonderful giveaway and 1 lucky reader will win approximately $80 worth of products!  The products included in the "I'm the voice of Hyland's" giveaway are...

Hyland’s Baby Vitamin C Tablets
Hyland’s Baby Tiny Cold Tablets
Hyland’s Cold n’ Cough 4 Kids
Hyland’s Complete Allergy 4 Kids
Hyland’s Calms Forte
Hyland’s Leg Cramps
Hyland’s DEFEND Sinus
Hyland’s DEFEND Cold & Cough
Hyland’s Muscle Therapy Gel with Arnica

Hyland's wants to hear from YOU! To enter, you must share why you choose Hyland’s products on Hyland’s Facebook page, Hyland’s website, and/or Amazon by leaving a comment/review.  Once you do that leave a comment or review on one of those pages, come on back and make sure to finish rafflecopter in order to make your entry official and to earn bonus entries. One winner will be chosen at random to win the gift basket.

It is very important to Hyland's to get consumer feedback so please leave comments about their products.  They really want to hear from you!

Good luck!!! 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Try it Tuesday: Bug Repellants

It don’t need bug repellants very often.  I love being outside but since I am in the final phase of my schooling, I don’t get outside beyond an evening run or walk with the boys. Early this summer I won two different giveaways (Thanks Natural Product Network and Green Grandma!) and the prizes… bug repellants!  I was sure I would never get to try them out, but boy was I wrong. I know summer is coming to and end but if you are in need of bug spray, check these two products out…

I had the opportunity to use this product on the Fourth of July. As my family was waiting for the fireworks to begin, I started to get attacked by bugs.  I wasn’t sure what was biting me but my arms were itching like crazy.  As always, I was the only one getting bit and my husband just bragged about how he wasn't being bothered.  I knew I couldn’t make it so I ran home and grabbed the Combat-Ready Bug Repellant I had just received.  It is a bug spray made with natural ingredients. 

I wasn’t sure what it was going to smell like but overall, it wasn’t too overpowering. It dries fairly quickly and doesn’t leave any weird residue on your body.  The best part… It helped tremendously.  I still felt like I was getting bit but the frequency was much less.  In addition to the fact that the product works very well, the creator has been donating care packages of combat-ready products to our troops overseas for over five years. 

It costs $16 plus shipping for a 2.7 oz spray bottle.

In mid-July, the company my husband works for held their annual picnic.  It was to be held outside near a park north of where we lived.  Just in case, I packed Wildwood SoapWorks bug spray.  Everything was going well until my boys made their way over to the kickball area, which was pretty much just a grass field.  My legs started itching so before the boys got too involved, I sprayed my legs and theirs. 

The fragrance was actually pleasant.  It didn’t remind of the typical smell of bug sprays.  It applied as well as the combat-ready bug repellant did. It didn’t leave a sticky film and dried quickly.  After applying it, I had absolutely no more trouble.  I didn’t notice bugs at all for the rest of the event.  I was really impressed.

Wildwood SoapWorks bug and tick spray is natural blend of essential oils and a proprietary extract.  The company GUARANTEES it will work or they will give you your money back. 

The cost is a little more, it comes a 2 oz spray bottle and it costs $19.95 plus shipping. I have also had the opportunity to try their gardener soap and pink grapefruit lotion bar, I loved all three of their products!  They are definitely worth trying. 

If you are comparing these products to other bug repellants that you can buy at your local drugstore or superstore, you will notice there is a price difference.  The natural bug sprays are more expensive but if you are worried about what you are putting on your skin or you kids AND you want a natural options, these two good choices.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Foodie Friday: Whole Wheat Pancakes

I make a variety of whole wheat pancakes for my boys.  They love them, I love them so it is a win-win.  I have tried a variety of different recipes because I am pretty picky about some of the ingredients.  Two weeks ago, I think I finally found my favorite recipe. 

  • 1 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 3 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons of honey
  • 3 teaspoons melted butter
  • 1 cup fresh chopped fresh strawberries, raspberry, or blueberries whatever you want
Combine whole wheat pastry flour and baking powder in a bowl.  Mix the wet ingredients in a separate bowl.  I usually put my wet ingredients in my mixing bowl then slowly add in the dry.  Once everything is mixed together, add the berries.  The first time I added raspberries, which were good but the second time I added blueberries... delicious!

I let my batter sit for about 15 minutes, which helps to relax the gluten.  I usually scoop about 1/4 cup of batter on to my griddle (usually set between 300-350 degrees) and flip the pancake once the edges have set and you start to see bubble in the batter. 

If you give the recipe a try, let me know what you think!