Glazed Carrots

Nothing complicated for this candy like vegetable side.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ lbs carrots sliced ½ inch thick
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley

Directions:

  1. Place carrots in a large pan and add 2 cups of water. 
  2. Bring to a boil and then allow to simmer for 10 minutes or until carrots are tender.
  3. Drain any excess water.
  4. Add remaining ingredients, except for parsley to the pan and stir to coat the carrots.
  5. Cook for 5 minutes on medium high heat. Stirring occasionally until a syrup like sauce has formed. 
  6. Top with parsley and serve.

 

Did You Know?

Some links are affiliate links. I receive a small commission from these but it does not affect your purchases.

Did you know that you can start your garden even if you are on food stamps?

Yes, any seeds or plants that are edible can be purchased with your EBT card. You can use containers and such you have to start your seeds. Compost and newsprint to start your no-till garden.

What seeds to buy to start

Some things are easier to grow from seeds than others. For the beginner I recommend peas, beans, cucumbers, lettuce, squash and melons from seed. They will grow in anything. And are great for direct sowing.

I recommend bush varieties so that they are easier to care for and take up less space. A few well tended plants will provide enough for your family.

Herbs that grow well from seed are basil, parsley, dill, and coriander. If you are feeling adventurous you can pot a few peppercorns to grow indoors. This is one of my experiments this year. We will see how it goes. My family just loves fresh ground pepper.

What plants to buy

Tomatoes, peppers, brassicas, and cabbages all do best for beginners if purchased as started plants. They will give you a bit of a headstart on your summer garden.

Many grocers offer a limited selection of plants. Go with what you can find. It is money well spent since vegetables are so expensive in the grocery store and there have been so many recalls recently. Another option is to use some vegetables that are in the store already.

Many times you can save the roots from bunching onions, celery, lettuce, tops of pineapples, etc. Place them in water to get the roots started again and you can then place them in pots.

Starting plants from seed

If you cannot find started plants then you will need to start from seeds. I have been lucky enough to have a small greenhouse. If this is not in your budget you can either purchase the seed starting kits or make your own.

The key is to find a sunny spot that you can leave the seeds in to grow. You also need to make sure that the growing medium stays moist. Too much water and mold will grow. Too little water and the seeds will dry out and no longer be viable. I love the self watering cells that come with starter pellets. They make it very easy and do come in window sill sizes as well.

A quick note on soil

Plants need healthy well drained soil to grow. A quick easy way to do this is to use newspaper and/or cardboard and compost. I like to layer with cardboard in the fall to kill weeds. I lay the cardboard down and cover with compost.

Spring I will use newspaper and compost. I can plant directly and weeds will be controlled at the same time. I do like to add straw over top when possible to help maintain moisture.

One tool that I have found invaluable when I am doing a no-till garden is a cultivator. It will help keep the soil loose and aerated throughout the growing season. It is a pricey investment but has saved my back, knees and hands in countless situations.

 

Switching to Infused Oils

I have been doing research on essential oils vs infused oils a lot lately. I have come across several websites, one in particular that has inspired me, that explain the difference. There is also the cost involved in obtaining either one. I primarily use them when I am making homemade soaps, lotions, and other similar products. I have used some in medicinal products I have made for my family.

Why am I switching over?

There is not enough information on the long term use of essential oils. They are highly concentrated oils extracted by distillation. It is always recommended to dilute them for topical use and not to take them internally. They are often preferred because of their concentrated aroma. I have noticed that the soaps and lotions that I market do better if they have a strong scent. However, I am willing to forgo the strong scents for a gentle scent and a safer product.

There is also the issue of sustainability. It takes so much more  plant matter to create essential oils that over harvesting of plants takes place. Wildwood Apothecary has an excellent article regarding why she is EO free and what it takes to make EO. There are plenty of other articles around the net as well that explain this very well, such as the one over at Evolutionary Herbalism.

So what is going to happen?

Well it means that I need to grow more of my own herbs and flowers and other useful plants. Such as chore, you know. Then I will start producing more of my own infused oils. The cold process takes 4 to 6 weeks to produce. For a faster result and a little more aroma I will also be doing a hot process which only takes about an hour but has the same shelf life.

As for the investment in EO, I cannot stand waste. I will continue to use these oils in things until the run out. They will be replaced with the items that I make. I am hoping to eventually offer my own line of Enchanted Infused Oils on my etsy shop.

Light, Love and Peace

Tammy ~SSM~

Calendula Flowers

Common Name

Standardized: calendula
Other: marigold, pot marigold

Latin name

Calendula officinalis L.
Plant Family: 
Asteraceae

Overview

Calendula is a well-known herb and garden plant that has been used topically, ceremonially, and as a dye. It is also used as a companion plant in many vegetable gardens. This is an edible flower used in teas, tinctures, and various other recipes. Used in home crafted skin care products it helps with dry skin.

Flower Background

This is a self sowing, annual that will come back year after year once you establish it in your garden. It is a member of the Asteraceae family and produces a daisy-like flower with orange or yellow petals and pale green leaves. Though it can now be found through out the world it was originally native to Europe, the Mediterranean, and Middle East.

Cultivation and Harvesting

There is no need to start this plant in a green house it has simple requirements and does well as part of a garden or a pot. Simple spread the seeds or mix with other wildflower seeds and cover lightly with soil. They require full sun and well draining soil. They bloom from early summer and until early fall. Mid summer is the best time for harvesting flower to dry. The middle of the day when the resins are high and the dew has evaporated, clip the flowers just below their base. Place them on a screen to dry, avoid high temperatures and direct sunlight when drying to keep the bright colors.

Common Uses

  • Dried
    • Teas
    • Tinctures
    • Infused Oil
    • Skin Care
  • Fresh
    • Salads and other dishes (was once known as the poor mans saffron)
    • Teas
    • Tinctures

Medicinal Uses:

  • Anti-inflammatory to skin and mucosa
  • Lymphagogue (moves lymph)
  • Vulnerary (promotes healing of damaged tissue)
  • Anti-fungal
  • Anti-bacterial
  • Emmenagogue (stimulates menstrual flow)
  • Cholagogue (stimulates bile)

Indications:

  • Gastrointestinal: Purported to help with gastrointestinal disorders and discomfort. Use as a tea.
  • Lymphatic: Used for various infections of the respiratory system and localized infections. Also used to boost immunity by stimulating the lymphatic system. Use as a tea or topical salve.
  • Gums and mouth: Make a tea to gargle with for sore throats, periodontal disease, inflamed gums.
  • Emmenagogue: May help to stimulate menstrual flow.
  • Topical applications: rashes, stings, wounds, burns, sunburns, abrasions, swellings, eczema, acne, surgical wounds, scrapes, chicken pox, cold sores.

Disclaimer:

If you have a known allergy to other members of the Asteraceae family such as feverfew, chamomile, or Echinacea species be cautious when using calendula.

Always consult with a qualified healthcare practioner before using herbal products. If you are pregnant, nursing or have medical conditions and are on prescribed medications this is essential.

This information is for educational purposes only not to be used to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease. None of this information has been evaluated by the FDA.

Single Sustainable Mom vs Enchanted Farmstead

There has been some question as to why there are two different names floating around. I am Single Sustainable Mom and my farm name is Enchanted Farmstead. It really is that simple. I use SSM for Facebook and Twitter and Pinterest. For farm business I use the farm name.

Single Sustainable Mom

I have spent the last few years establishing an online presence as SSM. I talk about family life, farming, work, basically my entire life. The trials and tribulations of being a single mom, trying to be eco-friendly, and life as an adventure. I am a mom, nurse, farmer, crafter, and so much more. I want to inspire other people to look at life as a journey, adventure. I want people to realize that no matter the cards you are dealt you can always discard and pick up new cards and take off with it. That is Single Sustainable Mom.

 

Enchanted Farmstead

I own the farm. It is not a person but a place, my home. It is part of the lifestyle of sustainability that I am creating for my family. I am creating a home that is a sanctuary, a life that I do not need a vacation from. The end goal is that the land pays for itself by providing most of what my family needs. Whether it be food or products to sell. It is a business, escape from the world, and a place of peace all rolled into one.

 

Light, Love, and Peace
~Tammy~SSM

 

Potato Soup

potato soup
Photo courtesy of Bing Search

 

Ingredients:

  • 8 potatoes peeled and cubed
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 whole onion
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 3 stalks celery
  • 1/2 pound of cubed ham
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 4 potatoes peeled cubed
  • salt and pepper to taste

Steps:

  1. In a heavy pan saute garlic, celery and onions in butter.
  2. Add in ham and potatoes, cover with water and bring to a boil, 10 minutes.
  3. Lower heat and allow to simmer, add in heavy cream.
  4. In separate pan boil the other potatoes. Once they are fork tender drain and mash.
  5. Slowly add mashed potatoes to the broth to thicken it.
  6. Add salt and pepper to taste.

 

Butternut Squash Soup

Butternut Squash Soup

Ingredients:

  • 2 Carrots cut to 1 inch pieces
  • 1 chopped sweet onion
  • 3 lbs butternut squash (or pumpkin) chopped into 1 inch pieces
  • 6 cups of chicken broth
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • 3 TBS White Wine Vinegar
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper (omit for pumpkin soup)
  • 1/2 tsp hot sauce (omit for pumpkin or if you do not like spicy food)
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup heavy cream

Directions:

  1. Saute carrots and onions in dutch oven (heavy stock pot will work as well) on medium high heat until lightly brown.
  2. Add squash, broth and orange zest and bring to a boil.
  3. Cover and lower heat to medium and simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. Stir in cream and remaining ingredients. Allow to cool.
  5. Process with a handheld blender or put into a regular blender. Blend it all until smooth and creamy.
You can serve this cold or piping hot.
Light, Love and Peace!

Check Your Local Code Before You Get Urban Chickens

IMG_1197Looking to keep poultry in town? Here is an example of our local code that says yes, we can keep chickens within certain limits, such as keep your chicken house clean. It even says that pygmy goats would be permitted as pets. So are you allowed to milk pets to keep them healthy? Hhmmm…something my urban and town living friends need to look at. I just wish we could do it in our apartment complex!

While most of us would like to do what we want but when you live in town or a city it doesn’t hurt to check out the local codes. Avoid becoming a news item because someone who doesn’t like gardening and such turns you in, become a news item for doing it according to code or working to change code so that everyone can enjoy gardens and such.

Busy Mom Menu Planning Tips

mom cooking

Pre-planning your menu will do several things for you. It will force you to double check your calendar. It will force you to go through your pantry, fridge and freezer (helps keep things fresh). It will also force you to make a grocery list (which will help you stay in budget). Quick note about budgets, I know they are hard but we will discuss those another day. 

This is where I start. I get paid every two weeks so typically that means 42 meals (3 meals per day for 14 days) need to be planned out. You guessed it, breakfast, lunch and dinner all need to be planned. So now that we have figured that out I check out what I have on hand. If I am lucky I have some things left from my last grocery shopping. I try to add one or two extra meals to my budget each week and/or bulk items. 

Next I get out my calendar to see what is going on during those two weeks. What is my work schedule, what is on tap for the kids, what is on tap for Daddy aka Papa. That will also determine what gets made on what days. 

By now I am using what limited “extra” brain power to see what I have on hand to make and write down those meal ideas. I have a habit of starting with dinner ideas. Now I take a piece of paper and divide it in thirds. One column I put the day of the week with the appropriate date on it. List what I know I have for dinner, list what would work on each particular night depending on our schedules. Now in the third column I start writing my shopping list. 

The next thing I do during the school year is pull out the lunch calendar. Lunches are frequently left overs when school is out but in honor of going back to school I am going to add this tidbit. I ask the kids which days they are buying and which they are taking. From there we get down to the nitty gritty and figure out what they want for those days they are taking. I write these down on the calendar so that I know what they have planned (yes they some times change their minds, too bad it gets carved into stone). I make sure to add any extra items to the grocery list. 

Next we look at breakfast, ours is usually pretty basic. I need to have pancakes on hand (make them and then freeze them for future use). Eggs, bread and/or biscuits, cereal and the like. Though honestly if there are “favorite” left overs they will get eaten for breakfast as well. Mac and cheese anyone? If I am running low on any necessaries they get added to the grocery list as well.

Ok, so dinners are on the calendar, lunches are on the calendar and breakfast is fly by the seat of our pants. It really all comes down to schedules. Are these plans written in stone no, except for planned school lunches, those are written in stone. Now you have not only planned out your menu for two weeks, you have a realistic working grocery list and perhaps a budget!

Light, Love and Peace!

What is Your Favorite Seed Company?

Time to plan next year’s garden!

It is that time of year for me, I am going through my left over and saved seeds (not many this year) so I can plan my garden next year. I have a ton of heirloom and old fashioned plants to grow for next year but I can’t help myself. I have started making a wish list for next year already. I tend to order from a variety of places. A few of my favorite companies are:

I am also very big on getting together with friends and neighbors to trade seeds. I think I might be able to start a small seed exchange program for this spring, I need to assess what I have and what I can purchase.
What are your favorite seed companies?
Light, Love and Peace!