coconut bowl

Nope, this is not another recipe.  I just wanted to share how the coconut bowl turned out after I sanded all the husk off.  this is the same on pictured here.

I just love how dark and smooth it is.  The light streaks go all the way through and I think that is what makes it beautiful.  One of my clients ask if it was walnut.

I am defiantly going to have make a few more so I will have a set.


Sun kissed skin cream

It has been rainy and awful lately.  Don't kid yourself though, Summer and sunshine are right around the corner! We spend almost every waking moment at the pool and even though I try to cover up the desert sun always has a way of zapping the moisture out of my skin.

This cream will soothe and soften even the most abused skin.  It is my secret moisturizing weapon. It smells so fresh and lovely I even use it instead of perfume sometimes.

The Calendula is in bloom so it is the perfect time to whip up a batch.

Sun kissed Skin Cream

1/4 C. almond oil
2 T. coconut oil
2 T. beeswax
1 T. coco butter
1 t. shea butter
1/4 C. aloe vera juice
3 T. very strong calendula tea
1 T. vegetable glycerin
1/4. t borax
1 t. vitamin E (or two capsules)
15 drops sweet orange essential oil
15 drops calendula essential oil
8 drops vanilla essential oil

In a small sauce pan over low heat the almond oil, coconut oil, beeswax, shea, and coco butter until the beeswax is melted. In another pan, lightly warm the aloe juice, tea, and glycerin, and stir in the borax until it dissolved in the liquid.

Remove both pans from the heat and pour the oil mixture into the blender and allow to cool for 5 to 10 minutes.  It should become slightly opaque.  As it thickens, give the mixture a few stirs to remove any lumps.  Do not let it get too hard or it will be difficult to get out of the blender.  (that is why I have a food blender and a separate potion blender)

Remove the plastic piece of the blender lid and put the lid on.   Turn the blender on high and slowly drizzle the watery mixture through the center of the lid.

Then watch the magic happen!  Almost immediately the cream will turn pale yellow and begin to thicken.  Blend for about 15 seconds and then check the consistency of the cream.  It should have a smooth texture.  Scrape down the sides and free up the blades and then blend for another 15 seconds.  Repeat this until the cream is smooth.

Add the vitamin E and the essential oil and blend for another 5 seconds or so.

Pour the finished product into storage containers and lightly cover with a paper towel and allow to cool for about 30 minutes.   *If after a few hours the water begins to separate from your cream, don't worry.  You can pour the water off and use the resulting product as a foot and elbow cream.  Making creams is an art!  the separation happens if your oil mix and your water mix are not relatively equal and cool when they are blended. 

Try this one, you are going to love it.


Camp fire Sweet Potatoes

I have been in the mood for some dutch oven potatoes lately but it has been too rainy to have a fire outside.  So I thought I would try to do them in the oven.  I was really happy when they turned out great!

3 to 4 sweet potatoes
1 yellow onion
1/2 package of bacon

Preheat the oven to 350.  Cut the bacon into 1 1/2 inch pieces and fry in a pan.  Get them just a bit crispier than you like bacon because they will soften up.  While the bacon is frying cut up the sweet potato and onion in large pieces.  Mix all ingredients together in a large casserole dish and bake till the sweet potatoes are soft.  I had to turn mine once just to make sure they cooked evenly.

These were almost better the next day.  I used smoked bacon and they tasted just like the ones we make up at the cabin.


Soapwort Shampoo

The house that we live in was built by my husbands Grandparents in the late 40s.  I love our home and I love that I can tell a lot about Grandma Ruthie by the things in our home.  She must have been a character.  There were rooms that were red from top to bottom.  The downstairs bathroom is black and white subway tile to the ceiling and who can forget the Turquoise kitchen.  (I would like to) 

When I moved in 10 years ago there was no yard to speak of.  After years of being forgotten and neglected the desert had simply taken it back.  Along the North and the east sides of the house, however, there were two kinds of plants.  I could tell that they were the old flower beds.  It was really important to me to save those flowers at any cost.  I lovingly weeded and watered.  I transplanted some to fill in the bare spots and to my happy surprise they did wonderful.  I just love the idea that the same flowers that Grandma planted are still here and giving us joy.

The tall ones had pink blossoms.  I ask Glen if he knew what they were called and he told me that they were pink bettys.

I was very happy when I came across a page in one of my herb books that said that soapwort and pink bettys are the very same plant.  Other Names: soaproot, bouncing bet, leatherwort, Fuller's herb, bruisewort, crow soap, and sweet betty.

Soapwort is a perennial European native herb which has become thoroughly naturalized in the United states.  found growing in moist ditches, along road sides, waste places,near old home sites, in meadows, and as a planted ornamental.

Propagate Soapwort with seeds or by division done in early spring.  Soapwort spreads vigorously it has many attractive and aromatic flowers and can be used as a ground cover.  Succeeds in any moderately fertile well drained soil in sun or in semi-shade.  It prefers a neutral to alkaline soil.  The fragrant flowers have five white to pinkish petals, each notched and refluxed, about an inch in diameter and are borne in large clusters sin axils of leaves and at the tip of the stems.  Flowers bloom from June to October.  It colonies from underground rhizomes.  The root is harvested in the spring and can be dried for a later herb use. Use the flowers and leaves fresh as a body soap.

A soap can be obtained by boiling the whole plant (especially the root) in water.

It is a gentle effective cleaner, used on delicate fabrics that can be harmed by synthetic soaps. The best soap is obtained by infusing the plant in warm water. 

Take care when using it as a shampoo because it can irritate the eyes.  (just like most shampoo does) 

Pretty Betty shampoo

2 1/4 C. water
1 T. soapwort
2 t. chamomile flowers or rosemary

Bring the water to a boil and them remove from heat. Add the chamomile and soapwort.  Cover and allow to steep for 10 minutes.  Strain into a bottle and use as shampoo.  It is just that easy!

Other alternative shampoos I use are baking soda  and yucca.


The Wesak moon

Right now at this very moment in the Wesak valley high in the Himalayan mountains there is a rocken party going on.  It is the high point of a 3 month spiritual time of service for the Buddhists.

One of my dearest friends in the whole world is there now with her family.  She has saved for years to go to this thing and was kind enough to explain it to me.

She said it a lot more beautifully... but here is the short of it.  (or at least what I was able to understand)

Once a year (today)  Buddha comes back to the Earth to bless it and all the human beings on it.  It is considered really hard to come back so it is a Huge sacrifice on Buddha's part and a gift that we should be grateful for.  He is here to assist his Spirit brother....  Christ.

**Did you know that Buddhists believe in Christ too?  I didn't.   Unlike us Christians, they believe he is still here with us helping us and guiding us to do the right thing.

Jeani wrote to me  "He  [Buddha] and His great brother, The Christ, work in the closest cooperation for the spiritual benefit of humanity. In these two great Sons of God have been focused two aspects of divine life, and They act together as Custodians of the highest type of spiritual force to which our humanity can respond. Through The Buddha, the wisdom of God is poured forth. Through The Christ, the love of God is manifested in humanity, and it is this wisdom and love which pour forth upon humanity each Wesak full moon."

Isn't that beautiful?

The reason it is This full moon in particular is that it represents the time of year when both Christ and Buddha were born and when both left the Earth.

This is what the Wesak moon looks like from my house.  As I look at it my thoughts are with my friend who is on day 3 of  5 days of silence and fasting.  She is doing a once in a lifetime thing that may just be the most incredible Spiritual journey she has had.  I can only imagine how it would feel to be with a large group of people who are all being very disciplined with their bodies and focusing on prayer  for the Healing of us all.  It just makes me feel really grateful.  Grateful for my beliefs, the atonement,  for friends, and everyone who is doing their best.

So in support of her I will hold steady in the light.  I will do my best to have Divine Wisdom and Love in my heart.   I will help to make my part of the world a better place.


Easy Fruit Salad

Are you kidding me???

That is what Jim said when we dug into our Bountiful basket (thanks mom and Katie)  and saw 21 yellow onions and .... wait for it....  6 more Mangoes!!!!

Jim hates onions and he is beginning to get sick of all my attempts to Cook with mango.  hee hee.

See how big and beautiful they are?

I thought it may be worth showing how to cut a mango.  Mangoes have a really large flat seed inside and the fruit doesn't pull off of it like other fruits.  So the best thing is to cut it out.  Just slice the mango down the middle. 

Use your knife to cut cubes into the mango, taking care not to cut through the skin.  Then push the skin like you are folding a sock.  Cut the little cubes off and toss the skin.

Fruit Salad

1 mango
1 pineapple
1/2 honey dew
fresh mint

Cut mango, honeydew, and pineapple into cubes all the same size.  Finely chop the mint.  Toss all ingredients in a medium bowl.  Make sure to be careful not to squish the fruit.

This is a beautiful and tasty dessert.  It is really hitting the spot on these hot afternoons we have been having. 

Didn't it turn out pretty?   Something about the mint makes this really lovely.


Artichokes and butter

Don't ask me how I got to be this old and never cooked an artichoke or eaten one.  I have tried the bottled artichoke hearts... Katie makes a really good  dip out of those.

We got 3 of them yesterday and since I have no idea how long they will keep in the fridge I thought I better cook them.

I got out some of my cook books.  Betty crocker, Whole food healing, and the Garden of Vegan all agree.  That is a first!

I was instructed to cut off the top one inch of the choke  and the stem as well.  Then snip all the spines off any leaves at the bottom.  Quickly rinse the artichoke under cold water and then dunk it in lemon juice so it will keep its color.

Chop a couple of cloves of garlic in to large pieces and put in 5 quarts of water to boil.   Add the left over lemon juice to the water as well. 

When the water is boiling put in the artichokes in.  Turn them every so often for 30 to 40 minutes.

When the leaves pull out easily drain them up side down and let cool a bit.   Then remove the fuzzy choke part in the middle.

I melted butter mixed with a bit of garlic powder for dipping.  Other suggestions included mustard and mayo.

They were very pretty sitting on the plate.  They looked like green flowers.  I soon found out that there is no lady like way to eat these things.  We all had butter running down our chins and hands.  If I ever throw a real medieval party where you eat with your hands and toss the turkey leg on the floor for the dogs to fight over... I will defiantly have artichoke on the menu. 

I have decided that the poor guy that discovered how to eat artichokes must have been starving to death.  It wasn't hard to cook but,  for the taste and the amount of food that you get, I think it is not worth doing again.  Just buy the bottle of hearts already cooked and save yourself from the mess!


coconut adventures

Any one who knows me knows I have a love affair with coconut.  I love coconut oil.  I cook with it, I eat it right out of the jar , I put it on my skin and hair.....   I also use coconut milk every day in my tea.  If I get the munchies I snack on shredded coconut.

I was so happy when my mom gave me a coconut!   Then I got to thinking...

How do you open a coconut???

My vote was to smack it with a hammer.  That is how I fix a lot of things around the house.  Luckily, my hubby had a better idea.  Power tools!   That is how he fixes everything around the house.

He took the dewalt drill and made 3 holes in the top.  I had no idea how much coconut water would come out.  It turns out that it was about 13 oz.   Have you ever tasted coconut water?  I'll tell you the truth, it is really gross.  It is like drinking sweet salt water.

Then he used the table saw to chop the top off.  The coconut meat was so moist and yummy.

I used a spoon to scrape out the coconut.  Now I have a cute little bowl.  I think when it dries I'll use the dremal tool to carve it up a bit and make it really cute.


Ear infection relief

It is spring time here and the weather is lovely.  We have been spending time outside in the sun and fresh air.  So why are so many of my friends and family so sick?

It is the pits to be sick just when you can finally get out and have some fun.  Here are a couple potions to help you get some real relief.

Oil for Ear infection

5 cloves garlic
4 oz olive oil
20 drops eucalyptus oil
15 drops grapefruit seed oil

Chop the garlic very fine, place in a small baking dish with the olive oil and bake in the oven on lowest setting overnight.  In the morning strain oil through a cheese cloth and press well.  Add the essential oil and mix well.  Store in an amber bottle

Use a clean glass dropper to suction up the oil.  Place 2 drops of oil in each ear as often as needed. 

This oil is very warming and not only will heal infection but will ease the pain.

Mormon tea is related to chinese ephedra.  It is thought to be much safer but still has a lot of the same medicinal properties.  It is used by the natives as a cure for colds, flues, allergies, and any ear nose and throat type illnesses.  It works just fine all by its self, but when added to these other ingredients packs a real punch.

Herb tea for colds and ear infection

1 oz. mormon tea
1 oz. rose hips
1 oz. elder flowers
1 oz. licorice root
1 oz. peppermint leaves
1 quart water

Roughly crush all the herbs.  pour boiling water over the herbs and steep until cool enough to drink.  Consume as hot as you can stand.  I think this tastes really good all by its self, but if you need it sweetened use raw honey.

The mormon tea is a decongestant, the rose hips are slightly astringent, anti-inflammatory, and high in vitamin C, the elder flowers are slightly sedative and reduce fevers, the licorice root gives it a sweet taste, is antiviral and antibacterial, the peppermint helps to reduce fever, decongests, and is calming.

Every one drink up and be well!


Spinach Mango Salad

As promised, here is another delicious meal you can make with mango!  I really love this one.  The combination of sweet and savory really hits the spot.

1 (10 oz) bag baby spinach
1 1/2 ripe mangos, peeled, pitted, and cubed
1 medium tomato, cored, seeded, and finely chopped
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
1/3 cup green onions, sliced
1/3 cup crumbled blue cheese
1 chicken breast, chopped
freshly ground pepper to taste

Mango Vinaigrette
1/2 mango, peeled, pitted, and pureed
3 tbs extra virgin olive oil
3 tbs white balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp salt

Mango Vinaigrette: Combine mango, extra virgin olive oil, white balsamic vinegar and salt in a blender container or small food processor; blend until smooth.

Place spinach, mango, tomato walnuts and green onions in a large bowl. Drizzle with Mango Vinaigrette and toss well to coat. Add blue cheese and chicken and toss again very lightly.
Serve immediately with freshly ground pepper.

Vinaigrette may be made several days ahead and refrigerated until ready to serve.  My daughter decided this was her new favorite thing to dip everything in.  I'm not sure if she liked the color or the flavor more.


Walking stick

I made this walking stick one weekend while we were at the cabin.  It is made from an Aspen branch.  The carving is pretty easy as long as you do it in one setting.  One time I tried to carve half of an walking stick one day and the other half the next day.  By the next day the stick was SO hard I almost couldn't scratch it.
I admit it!  Most of the time this just hangs in the beauty shop behind the hood dryer.  I use it more to spank mean dogs off the lawn than I use it for walking with.  Sticks seem to be more helpful in the mountain than on the slick rock.  I do like it though.
My walking stick has just turned from a bright green to this amber color and I think it is really pretty.   It seems  it is true... some things get better with age.

It is spring now and this is the perfect time to make a new one.   It is best to cut a branch off the tree while it is still cold enough for the tree to be dormant.  I could send Jim and Dad to get me one next time they try for "one last snowmobile run".  Bur who am I kidding?  They would forget all day and then half way home in the dark just grab the closest thing to the road.    

Part of the fun, anyway, is going for the hike to find it. 

How to make a walking stick:
Go for a long walk in the forest.  Follow the sound of the water and the birds.  When you get completely lost in your thoughts is about the same time you will be turned around enough to feel lost for real.   This is the time you find the right stick.                                                                       

If you are afraid to be alone and lost just grab the first thing you see on the ground and make a lot of noise.  If you are not afraid then just take out your knife or hand pruners and cut your live stick off the tree.  This will give you enough time  to remember your way home.      

Your walking stick should at least go up to your elbow if not you shoulder.  Too short of a stick will hurt your back.  Too long will get in the way.  It should be big enough to really hold a lot of weight and small enough to be held in you hand easily. 

Decide which end is going to be the down end and use it on the way back.   You will know by then if it is too short or to long. 
Find a comfy chair by the camp fire a sharp pocket knife and carve what ever moves you.  You can leave it just like that or decorate with paint or feathers...whatever you like.  Mine has a citrine on it that  Jim and I found on our Honeymoon.  It always reminds me to find the Joy.


Bacon-Wrapped Pork Chop with Spicy Mango-Basil Relish

A few weeks ago I was the lucky recipient of 8 (yes eight) mangoes.  The first two were gobbled down by me and the family.  We soon realized that if we ate all of them like that we would loose feeling to our tongues.  So this month is going to be an adventure in mango recipes.  The first one still uses the raw mango but the protein somehow seem to save the taste buds from being burned off.

Bacon-Wrapped Pork Chop with Spicy Mango-Basil Relish


4 boneless pork chops, 1 1/2-inch thick
8 strips bacon
1/2 cup brags
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2-3 cloves fresh garlic, minced

Mango-Basil Relish
1 mango, peeled, pitted, and, chopped
2 tbs fresh lime juice
2 tbs fresh basil, chopped
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Wrap 2 strips of bacon around the outside edge of each pork chop, securing in several places with toothpicks. Mix together the brags, lime juice, cayenne pepper and garlic. Reserve half of the mixture for basting and place half in a shallow baking dish.

Add pork to dish and turn to coat both sides. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, turning pork occasionally. (Marinate longer for more flavor.) Remove from marinade, discard marinade, and place pork on grill over medium coals. Cook for 12 to 16 minutes total, basting with reserved marinade several times.

Serve with a large dollop of Spicy Mango-Basil Relish.

Spicy Mango-Basil Relish: In a small bowl stir together mango, lime juice, basil and cayenne pepper.