Reboot, or, 2014 Here I Come!


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I decided back in November what my key word and theme would be for this year. After the year I had, I realized that this coming year was going to be one where everything could change. Before I had ideas of moving and finding my first full librarian job somewhere else, but hopefully in California. Now I own a condo and just want as much stability as I can have for a while. This year I rethink my plans and priorities and figure out what I want. Just me.

I have a bunch of ideas and desires for the year, and I am fully aware that they may not all come to fruition. They exist as a potential destination and to give me something more to focus on than settling the rest of my mother’s affairs and going to work day in and day out.

Health

1. Continue to rebuild my health

It’s been almost two and a half years since my health crashed after finishing my graduate work. The past year has seen some marked improvements, but I knowingly and willingly put a certain amount of my healing on the shelf in order to take care of my mom. And you know what? It was worth it. My own health never went so far back that I could not help around the house, and it made her life easier.

So involved in this goal is:
*Continuing my gluten free diet and incorporating more nutrient-dense foods and supplements. Included in this, I am thinking about cutting down on my sugar consumption. It’s not huge but enough that I want to look at it.
*Regaining my stamina and endurance.
*My hope it to build up my immune system enough so that my allergies go away. In the time I’ve been doing traditional foods, my asthma has gone away, for a time my allergic reactions (which are now almost exclusively to animals) started to subside, and my chronic knee problems became minimal.
*Dance, dance, dance, dance. I’m putting it under health because this involves movement. Today will be my first belly dance lesson since early November and I expect I am going to be just a little rusty. I still want to dance professionally, or at least semi-pro, and that means more practice and finding haflas where I can perform.

2. The Home Front

Oh there is a lot here. I own one now. My big plan is to make this house into my home.
*I need to clear out a lot of my mom’s stuff, donate it, gift it, etc.
*Settle all the estate stuff. Much of it is already happening but there is still more.
*Redecorate the house some.
*Take care of my own personal debt and make it go away. The biggest plan for this is that I am going to read and work through Your Money or Your Life.
*Re-evaluate the household bills.
*Get all my own stuff reorganized, figure out what I need and want, and get rid of the rest.

3. FOOD

That’s the whole basis of this blog right? Now that I am living on my own, my dietary needs and likes get to shine. There are only two items in this part of the resolutions, but they are big for me.

*Get back on the fermenting bandwagon. I’ve kept up with the milk kefir since 2011, sourdough went to the side when I went gluten-free. It’s time to do more. I drink two bottles of GT kombucha each week and suspect it would be much better for my budget if I make my own. (If you are in southern Connecticut and have some extra SCOBYs you’d like to re-home, drop me a line!)
*Vary up my cooking. I have plenty of cookbooks, blogs, saves on PInterest, and free meal plans. There is no excuse for me not to make a wider range of foods. And related to that…
*Create, and post, five new recipes this year. Over the weekend I did some experimenting and made what can qualify as the first. Look for it next week!

4. This Blog

Oh sweet blog, I have had you going for four years now, and have never given you the attention you deserve. This year I want to change that.

*I’ve contacted the friend I want to have turn this little WordPress site into its own domain.
*Get up to three posts a week. One original content, one media review, one wrap up. I was starting to do this last summer but could not keep up the pace then.
*Boost my views to at least 10,000 hits a month. Last year during my short active period I was able to surpass 3,000 a month without much effort.

If you would like to help with these endeavors, you can shop through my affiliate links with Mountain Rose Herbs, the Detoxify Your Life course, and ebook sales as they come up.

5. The Fun Stuff and Wishes

I miss crafting. This year I want to take up my knitting again, my cross stitch, practice crochet more, start sewing, make my own body care products, all that kind of stuff. My hands need to work. Buying my eldest niece a lap loom for Yule, and then both of us learning the basics of weaving, has inspired me.

loom

The house is also a lot quieter without my best friend here, or her one year old daughter. There may be a cat or guinea pigs coming into this house. That will depend on the aforementioned allergies.

I also want to keep up my education, read my books, develop my professional skills.

And the big one… I hope to go to Sweden and Iceland in June for Midsummer celebrations. The last time I was in Sweden, and the only time I was in Iceland, was 2001. It’s time to fix that.

So what do you have planned and hoped for in the coming year?

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I’m sharing this post at Real Food Wednesday and Fight Back Friday!!

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Let me tell you about my mother

Well, it’s been quite a while since I have posted here, and a lot has happened in my world. I’ve been up front about my own chronic health issues. But what I did not share, by request, was the other matter taking up much of my time and energy.

About a year ago, my dear mother returned from a trip to Sicily, a place she had wanted to see for a long time. The trip was wonderful, but she remarked to me upon her return that she thought she might be coming down with a cold or the flu. Some of the walks were a little more difficult for her because she was feeling short of breath. It wasn’t an infection though.

It was cancer, metastasized once again. In 1994 she discovered she had breast cancer, which was treated, went into remission for over a decade, and re-surfaced for a time in the mid-2000s. Then, in 2010, the cancer metastasized for the first time in her liver. She had this treated both conventionally and holistically, and it went into remission for a time. When it returned last year, the tumor was in the lung.

For the past year I’ve watched my mom slowly being robbed of her breath, and again approaching treatment from all angles. But it did not work, and during the summer her condition worsened. I spent a few months working full time, taking care of her as much as I could while not working, and not telling anyone what was happening. But the treatments did not work. She never gave up, though, and she lived as fully as ever. On Veteran’s Day, November 11th, my mother passed from this life. The world, and for certain the community here, is a dimmer place without her in it.

But instead of focusing on her death, I want to tell you about her life.

My mom was born in Sweden, not long before the start of World War II, and the second in a family which would grow to be 8 children. Her family did not have much money growing up, and even though she lived in a neutral country, the war still touched her life. Food was not the commodity it is now. Chickens were a rare treat. One winter her parents bought a whole hog, sharing the cost with another nearby family for the winter. Where now this way of buying meat is coming back, in those days it was often the only way for a family to ensure they had enough to eat during the fallow season.

She grew up, spent summers working and living on a farm to the north of Göteborg, started working part-time at 14, excelled in school, and, in 1958, came to the United States for what she thought would be a year. One of her aunts passed away in May of that year, and she wrote her uncle a letter when she found out, suggesting that perhaps she could come over for a year to help him out with the house and such?

I asked her a few months ago why she stayed after that first year.

“I didn’t have the money to go back home.”

Well, I can’t say that was a bad thing, because had she not, I would not be here now to write this post. She arrived in early October, and before the month was out had a job working in a local bank. Why a bank? She had trained in finances at secondary school in Sweden, a school which would be something like a mix between U.S. high school and college, and also worked as a teller before taking the boat over here.

And she would stay working in that bank for 40 years, through multiple name changes and mergers, becoming a vice president in her branch and breaking barriers on a regular basis. In the 1970s or ’80s she became one of the first female members of the local business(man)person’s club, and in 1994 became the first female president.

Yes, my mom was a little piece of local history.

And she loved history. It was one of her favorite subjects in school and often a topic in whatever she chose to read. She was also skilled in languages, a skill I have inherited. She remained bilingual in Swedish and English her whole life, speaking English better than many Americans. (And without any noticeable accent, I might add!) She also studied French, Italian, German, Latin, could function in the other Scandinavian and Romance languages, and even studied Greek at one time.

Before her first retirement in 1999, she said one of the things she eventually wanted to do was become a docent at one of the local cemeteries. Being in New England, we have some rather notable people buried in the area. This dream would come to fruition in the late 2000s, and ended earlier this year, only because the growing tumor meant a shortness of breath. Not something you want when you have to walk around a sizable cemetery and tell people who is buried there.

Her community service was one of her most notable traits. She served on several boards and organizations starting in the 1970s. Her work helped women in business, young people in urban areas, people with severe mental illness, and the community at large.

This was my normal growing up and I now find it weird when people just go to their jobs and do not do much else outside of that, or perhaps a small social circle. My mom’s life was filled with meetings, theatre, dinners, and times out with a wide range of friend and acquaintances. Even in retirement and dealing with cancer at different stages, it did not stop her from having a full social life. And if she could not go out to see people, they would come to see her.

My mom was a perfect example of harmonizing the old and new. She embraced technology and new ideas while also retaining her own level of Swedish-ness and tradition. From her I learned to cook, the importance of family and friends, a love for ancestry, hand-made items (though I confess in my youth the clicking of her plastic knitting needles drove me batty… so I do my knitting with bamboo!), good food, and travel.

Oh travel. I mentioned her trip to Sicily last year. From her I also got my love of travel. My first international trip was at the age of 2, when I got on a place with her and my dad* to Sweden. As a child I saw a nice portion of America, accompanying her on her business trips as well as trips to see family. This is how I got to hold Rita Moreno’s hand in the fall of 1982. Why I think I ate frog’s legs when I was little. (Hey they looked and tasted like chicken, if they were indeed that!) How I got to see the Grand Canyon, giant meteor crater in Arizona, went to the top of the Sears Tower. And for fun we went Disneyland and Disney World. Epcot Center when it was first open. Washington, DC several times. Canada, to visit cousins I had there. Multiple trips to Sweden. France. England. Italy. Denmark. Finland. Iceland. Why I so much want to go to Egypt, Central and South America, Australia. About the only travel she did not do which she’d wanted to was south of the equator.

She taught me to care for myself and a house. How to be responsible in life, even if it took me many years and stumbles to apply those lessons in full. How to cook and enjoy food. How to be a good friend. She was always a good host and had a generous heart, opening up to the people I got close to. To give you an idea, when my best friend was about to move to Florida with her family in the spring of 1993, mom offered for her to live up here in our old house, stay in the same school system, and near the best friend. Alas this was not to be, but now is not the time for regrets. (I just found out about THAT occurrence in the last few weeks.)

It is because of mom that I developed an interest in holistic health. While she did use and ascribe to conventional Western treatments, she also felt strongly that they were not the only way to good health. So we ate well (though the ideas around that changed over the years, eventually morphing back to the way she ate as a youth in Sweden), would also take herbs for different ailments, and even bought me a neti pot which has probably been the biggest reason why I was able to kick my regular sinus infections. I give a great deal of thanks to her naturpath of 15 years, Dr. Dana Myatt, for doing so well in keeping my mother in quite good health. Were it not for her, it is likely my mom would have passed away many years before she did.

On the 8th of November, after her health had started to make a quick decline in the preceding weeks, my mom decided to enter into hospice. We didn’t know how much more time she had, but she was not well then. Mandy (the best friend) and I had discussed her coming up here at some point when mom’s health declined, to help support me and take care of the house and other such things. Bless her husband, who said she could stay for up to a month so long as she brought their one year old daughter along. Soon after I arrived at hospice and started to handle the logistics of her entry, I called Mandy to say it was time to implement her coming up.

She, and her sweet daughter, were here in 24 hours. She also got to say her goodbyes to the woman who was her second mother. And her daughter charmed and delighted the other women present in the room.

When I got the call on Veteran’s Day from hospice, that sweet little girl saw me sitting on the floor, with my cheeks flooded, and offered me a cookie since I was obviously so upset. I just hugged her and felt so thankful for that.

Mom did not want most people to know she was sick while she was alive. She didn’t want the attention and likely not the pity either. But it has been difficult for me to sit on the knowing and not be able to share it. I want people to know about her and her life, and apologize that I do not have any photos ready to post here. At some point later, I promise to add some. Right now I just can’t.

If you take any inspiration from her story, I hope it is this: LIVE. Don’t want around for some ambiguous conditions, which may or may not manifest, to do the things you want. Use your money wisely so you CAN do all those things in your dreams. Help others. Be involved. Never stop learning. Love the people in your life with everything you have.

If you feel so moved, she asked that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the facility where she worked and served on the board, which helps people with major mental illness. Contact me to get that information.

I have also decided, and started to get the wheels moving, on upgrading my blog. I hope to debut the new site in early 2014.

Hail to you, Mom. May your star in the sky shine brightly. I love you.

*To explain, since he is notably absent from my account: My father passed away in 1982, less than two weeks before my 8th birthday. I loved him, and still do, but he was not a very active person in my life.

Soli’s overloaded muesli

Back in the summer, when it was super hot and muggy and I needed some inspiration for meals I could make without heat, I put together this list of meals to cover the gamut from breakfast through dessert. One which captured my interest was a simple recipe Wardee had shared in her podcast at that time.

Homemade muesli. All I could say was wow, what genius! Soak some oats (gluten-free in my case) overnight and then add in whatever I may want to eat with it in the morning.  Even with the oncoming autumn and drop in temperatures, I think I am going to continue using this method of preparation instead of making hot oatmeal for myself.

Two of the big ingredients I try to include whenever I make the oatmeal are chia seeds and powdered gelatin. Chia seeds are a good source of fiber and protein, minerals, and beneficial fatty acids, while gelatin is also rich in protein and collagen, beneficial for joints. I am partial to Great Lakes brand gelatin, as it is made from animals which are grass-fed and pastured.

These instructions will make a single serving of muesli. If you want to prepare for several people eating this, use Wardee’s instructions in the link above.

Museli!

Soli’s overloaded muesli

Part 1

1 cup rolled oats

3/4 cup raw milk (if milk is not raw add 1 tablespoon of an acid like raw apple cider vinegar to ferment)

The evening before ou plan to eat, combine the above ingredients in a bowl and cover with a towel. Let sit outside overnight. The acid in the raw milk (which is what you find in whey when the milk separates) will break down the phytic acid in the oats to make them more digestible.

Part 2

In the morning, uncover oats. I start by stirring in

1 T chia seeds

1 T gelatin powder

Generous sprinkle of cinnamon

Milk kefir

Raisins

Small amount of honey

Stir the above into the muesli. Add in any more add-ons. I am partial to fresh berries, bananas, and crispy nuts.

Serve and enjoy! Happy eating!

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I’m sharing this post at Motivation Monday, Traditional Tuesday, Party Wave Wednesday, Real Food Wednesday, the Homesteading Hippy, Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways, Tasty Traditions, Simple Lives Thursday, and Fight Back Friday!

Storing real food and emergency prep: the monthly ebook bundle!

NOTE: SALE IS NOW CLOSED

I’m really excited about this month’s ebook bundle. Given the bad weather of the last few years, with multiple hurricanes, heavy snow, and blizzards, being ready for such problems has become more important for me.

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The August eBook bundle theme is Food Storage and Preparedness!

cover Food Supply Plan JPGHave you ever wondered how you’d feed your family if the retail grocery store system failed? Do rising prices and declining food quality make you want to take matters into your own hands? Getting Started on a Food Supply Plan: Sourcing, Preserving, and Storing Food for Tomorrow’s Uncertain Times by Marie from Rural Living Today, will help you create a system that will raise your level of preparedness, increase your self-sufficiency, and provide peace of mind. Topics introduced include raising your own food, finding local sources, home preserving, and storing food.

36 pages/Retail Value: $5.99

Follow Marie on Facebook.

RealFoodStorage-OuterCoverReal Food Storage by KerryAnn Foster from Intentionally Domestic is the original preparedness ebook for traditional and real foodies! This eBook contains an overview of how to store foods without going off of your traditional foods diet plus over 200 recipes to get you started. No matter what your real food diet, whether you’re real foods, gluten &/or dairy-free, paleo, GAPS or more, you can begin and build a successful food storage program as food insurance for your family.

All of the recipes have been kid-tested and are family friendly. Recipes include sourdough baked goods, breakfast, quick breads, side dishes, main dishes (meatless, chicken, beef, salmon, turkey, lamb), packaged and processed replacements and desserts.

154 Pages/Retail Value: 29.95

Follow KerryAnn Foster on Facebook.

strfk-top-spiral-250Stock the Real Food Pantry- Second Edition by Millie Copper of Real Food for Less Money, is a 55 page handbook designed to help you make the most of your pantry. We’ll cover exactly what the pantry is, how you can use it to stretch your food budget, and why you might want to enjoy a well stocked real food pantry. This version (the second edition) has been expanded to include not only stocking your pantry but more options for food storage and other ideas for beyond the well stocked pantry. You’ll love the practical, budget-focused concepts and ideas presented in this handbook.

55 pages/Retail Value: $7.95

Follow Millie Copper on Facebook.

Gettign-Prepared-Book-Cover-FinalGetting Prepared from Angela of Untrained Housewife, is a beginner’s manual for how to get started feeling more confident and self-reliant during life’s unexpected happenings. While we all certainly hope that nothing bad will ever happen, we all secretly know that it could. From emergency grab-and-go bags, to a 30-day food plan, this book will walk you through all the elements to consider. You’ll find words of wisdom from someone who’s done it all and can guide you step-by-step without overwhelming you. If you’ve thought about trying to get better prepared and develop an emergency plan, but have been unsure about where to start, this is the book for you!

176 Pages/Retail Value $7.99

Follow Angela on Facebook.

4 eBooks, retail value of $51.88, for only $10.95!

 

Remember – this sale is for ONE WEEK ONLY! It disappears forever on August 26th at 11:59pm PST!

 

Chicken Buy Now

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase items through my site I will receive a small commission. These funds go toward developing and maintaining the blog. I thank you from the bottom of my heart if you support the blog in this way.

Friday Reviews: Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead

FatSickDead

If you’re a foodie type person, you may have heard of this week’s selection. Fat, sick & nearly dead chronicles the journey across America of Joe Cross, an Australian who was once very heavy and suffered from an autoimmune disorder. In a quest to reclaim his health he started juicing and spoke to people around the country about dieting. He also tried to get them to start juice fasts. Along the way he found a few, including another heavy man with autoimmune disease named Phil Staples. During the film both men lost weight, and in Cross’s case, he was able to go off his medications.

First, I am going to give my review of the movie and then tell you why I feel that way. In a thumbs up/down sort of way, I give this movie a down, but I still would advise you to watch it. Juicing has become quite popular, and I disagree with many things said in this film. Now that I have seen it, I can tell you why I feel that way.

Juicing is not a panacea

I am well aware of the popularity of this method of getting plant matter in to the body. I like plants, I eat them every day. But I EAT them. While juicing in the short term may be a good idea, especially for people with digestive issues, chewing is a vital part of the digestive process. This is how we build both saliva and stomach acid which helps the body to take in all those nutrients. Plus I wonder how much of the fiber gets taken in with this method. If you can tell me for certain, feel free to comment.

Second, can someone please explain this fetish to put raw, cruciferous vegetables into their juice? Uncooked kale, spinach, broccoli, cabbage, and their cousins are rich in oxalic acid, which can cause kidney stones. Not something I would consider to be a healing food when consumed in large amounts. You are much better off cooking them. In fact, there is evidence that cooking food is a big reason why hominids evolved bigger brains.

Show me your agenda

A group called the Nutritional Research Foundation was a big influence in this film, and Cross is a member of said organization. You can see from their “About us” page:

Although the NRF recognizes that a vegan diet is not always necessary for everyone, we thoroughly believe in conducting our work with a humanitarian spirit and the utmost of scientific integrity.

I’m pretty blatant in my thinking that an omnivorous diet is the best option for the majority of humans, which is why I write this blog. I’m also up front about it, and will note that I receive no money from anyone to state my feelings. We’ve got a nice promotional piece from them here.

Food is not your enemy

I think this is my biggest issue with the documentary but also the best reason to watch it. We are seeing documentation of the warped, dysfunctional relationship people in our culture (and spreading around the world) have with food. Even the word “diet” carries a lot of weight. No pun intended. Diet, in its basic form, describes the type and amount of food consumed by a person on a daily basis. At its core, it is not a restricted eating plan meant to keep us skinny but also obsessing about what is “good” and “bad” to go in to our mouths. Incidentally, the subtext of this movie seems to be that meat and processed food-like products are both equally horrifying and should be avoided at all costs. Meat is not junk food! Consuming fat does not make you horrible! In fact, you’re going to need that fat for your micronutrients.

The doctors in the film loved praising micronutrients, and I will agree there. Getting vitamins and minerals in your diet is essential to health. But somehow they missed that some of these vitamins work best when consumed with a fat. Vitamins A and D are among the fat-soluble group, meaning you need to taken in a fat in order for them to function best. Also, no one must have told them about foods like oysters, rich in vitamin B12, or butter packed with vitamin A, or liver and its iron, or heart meat with CoQ10.

They also seem to forget the necessity of the macronutrients: protein, carbohydrates, and fat.

I also HAVE to cover the food relationship aspect more. One, that dieting bit I mentioned above? Has been proven not to work. Don’t believe me? Stay tuned to these reviews and I will give you a list of reasons why in a few weeks. Second, only relying on juicing for calories throughout the day seems like a great way to limit calories. Which also means sending your body into starvation mode and setting up the triggers which could make you gain more weight. But if we eat, we could eat too much too easily in this society (on that I will agree, again, more on that later this month), and if we eat too much we could get fat and that’s such a sin.

I don’t care how much I spoil the upcoming review. Thin does not automatically lead to good health, nor does being heavy mean you are doomed to a lifetime of health problems.

There was one scene in which a stomach was shown to have a small quantity of (liquid) oil in it and another full of produce. Both supposedly being equal to 400 calories and supposed to show that eating plants all the time will nourish you. Again, why the demonization of fat? Or the implication that a small amount isn’t filling? I don’t know about the rest of you but a small portion of protein and fat rich food does a great job of sating my hunger. Paté anyone?

“I’m tired and craving meat”

Some of the realities of the juicing shown in the movie sent up red flags for me. One of the women who was doing the juicing, who said she was not a big fan of meat in general, found herself craving barbecue during her fast. Several participants said that they were feeling low energy doing the fast. When your eating plan has you wanting to spend all your time in bed, there is a problem.  A woman interviewed on the street in the film said she had tried fasting but it did not work for her.

Not all fasts are created equal.

Cross mentions that some religions have a tradition of fasting during the year. This is true. We’re right at the end of Ramadan right now, the time when Muslims fast while the sun is in the sky. In a few weeks there will be Rosh Hoshana, when observant Jews maintain a similar fast. Lent for Catholics and Eastern Orthodox Christians also come with some strict rules as to what can be consumed.

But I don’t see juicing in any of those fasts. Nor do I see any of the people juicing in the movies taking time for spiritual reflection and retreating from the world. Cross has also said that he does his juicing plan (known as Reboot) several times a year. I have to wonder what kind of stress this can put on his body over the long term.

Which leads to another problem I have with this plan. People need to eat and need calories. A limited diet like this could lead to later problems, like the previously mentioned diet fail or even malnutrition.

How much is that juicer?

The tag line for my blog is “real food is for everyone.” Meaning that I think all people can eventually eat in this way and benefit. In the film, Phil Staples goes in to a few stores to buy his daily vegetables, ostensibly to prove how affordable it is.

How nice that he was given a juicer and did not have to drop a few hundred dollars for one.

Final thoughts

One, someone please find the man who was eating liver and onions in the diner!

Two, no one eating plan is going to work for everyone. I know plenty of people who have had great results following other diets, like gluten free, primal, paleo, dairy free, et cetera. You need to listen to your body and determine which foods benefit you and which cause problems.

I want to see some long-term tracking on Cross and Staples. Do they stick with the plan? Do they ever “cheat”?

Have any of you seen this movie? What do you think of it?

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A sweet treat for your face

Alright ladies, I am sure the question I am about to ask will bring up a sea of hands. How many of you read teen fashion magazines when you were younger and loved it when they did at-home spa articles? You know the ones, with beauty treatments coming out of your kitchen?

I never stopped loving those.

Yes, some of it was the deep desire for acceptance and to do things like everyone else, but most of all I just liked doing those treatments. I had some acne and “combination” skin, so anything to make it better.

With my increased focus on green living and health I want to either make or buy beauty products which I could conceivably make in my own house. Better for my skin, my health, the land, and my purse. And it’s fun!

For a while I have used the oil cleansing method for my skin. It’s been alright for me, but I have never varied it enough, either in ratios or in types of oil, to find a good mix for me. Then I got reminded of another method which I have heard about occasionally in the last few years,

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Honey. One of the most delicious things I eat. And now I also put it on my face!

Trying it out as a wash was just another of my whims. It felt so good! My skin was smooth as anything when I was done, and it glowed. Among the various benefits of using honey to wash your face are:
*moisturizing while also being slightly drying (great for oily skin too!)
*naturally antimicrobial
*repairs the skin
(sourced from Crunchy Betty)
I also swear it acts as a mild exfoliant, because my skin feels much smoother when the process is done.

Before you wash. be sure of the source of your honey. You do want the read deal and not something coming from bees fed high fructose corn syrup.

To wash your face in honey, you will need just a few things.
*A small amount of honey from a trusted source, about 1/2 teaspoon. (I put it in a small dish and take it in to the bathroom)
*Warm-hot water
*A clean washcloth
*Something to keep your hair out of your face

To Do
1. Take the honey in hand and start rubbing it in to the skin on your face.
2. Let the honey sit on your skin for a minute or two to recapture that “masque” feeling.
3. Soak the washcloth in the warm-hot water and let sit on the face. Repeat until all the honey has come off.
4. Rinse off the washcloth then soak it with cool water. Apply to the skin to tighten up the pores.
5. Admire your beautiful skin!

What do you use to keep yourself beautiful? And do not forget, all of you are beautiful!

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I’m sharing this post at Traditional Tuesday, Hearth and Soul Hop, Real Food Wednesday, Party Wave Wednesday, Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways, Tasty Traditions, and Simple Lives Thursday!

Friday review: Yes, Chef

A memoir about one of the best chefs around who happens to come from my family’s hometown? You bet I would read that?

yeschef

Yes, Chef begins with the story Marcus had been told of how he came to be a child in Sweden. His mother took him and his older sister with her to a hospital during an outbreak of tuberculosis in Ethiopia in the early 1970s. Mom did not survive, which is how her children became eligible for adoption. The couple who would become mama and papa were in their early 40s and lived in Göteborg with another adopted child. Reading his stories of youth took me back to my own many visits to the country in my youth. While my full knowledge of the city’s geography is not perfect, I was able to ask my mother (who read the book before me and loved it) where specific places were. I also understand the ethos in which he was raised. It’s not something I can explain, but you know it when you meet someone who is Scandinavian. I loved that sense of familiar.

I also loved reading about Marcus growing up cooking with his mormor(maternal grandmother), because the only grandparent I ever knew was my own mormor. Despite the fact that Swedish food was apparently quite boring in 1970s, Marcus still caught the bug for cooking and making the best food he could. He kept cooking and would wind up in the one cooking school in Göteborg. His ambition far outstripped the food culture of the country at the time too. While his first internships kept Marcus within the city, he kept working and asking, and eventually got what all potential chefs dream of: “sent away.” This means that the chef or manager thinks so highly of you that they will send you to another restaurant (and country!) to learn new skills and develop talent.

This sending away would take him to Austria, and hunting through France, making friends, working his way up from gathering vegetables in the garden, and trying to find a a space in a more prestigious restaurant location, like France or the United States.

Which is how he wound up at Aquavit in New York City. And would become one of the youngest executive chefs in the world.

One thing which impressed me about both the book and Marcus is something which I have not found in other restaurant-related memoirs: no drug or alcohol abuse. His professionalism shines through in these pages.

The book wraps up with Marcus’s appearance (and win! Hurrah!) on Top Chef Masters and opening up Red Rooster in Harlem. In between he has also discovered his Ethiopian family and gotten married… but I don’t want to spoil too much more.

This book is a swift and engaging read, and worth every minute. Thumbs up!

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