Grasshoppers! If you can't Beat em Eat em!

In case you haven't heard.....  there is a plague sweeping castle valley.  The grasshoppers are at record numbers and aren't expected to peak for a month. 

Thank goodness we have been spared.  every day I have clients coming in and telling horror stories of how they have eaten EVERYTHING in their path.  Nothing is safe not even the cactus and pine trees.

My friend Jean told me of a spray that she is whipping up that seems to do a good job at killing them.  the only caveat is that you actually have to get it on the hopper.

Hopper spray

3 fingers chewing tobacco
1 gallon water
1 C. Listerine
1 C. dawn dish soap.

She says to boil the water and then put the tobacco in the water.  Take it off the heat and let cool to room temperature.   Strain out the tobacco  and then mix in the Listerine and dish soap.  Put in a weed sprayer and go after them!  Jean says the smell is fresh and lovely.  She swears that this concoction saved her annual horseshoe tournament.  The added bonus is that after the first die off her sprinklers came on and it killed off another wave of hoppers.

Now Sue on the other hand took a different approach.  She said that since they eat everything in her garden.... she was going to EAT THEM.  I have to admire her spirit.

There are a few ways to prepare Hoppers, but they almost always start with freezing them, removing the legs and wings, and then cleaning them.

After that you can place them on a cookie sheet and toast them in the oven.

Garlic Butter Fried Grasshoppers
1/4 cup butter
 6 cloves garlic, crushed
 1 cup cleaned insects*
Melt butter in fry pan. Reduce heat. Saute garlic in butter for 5 minutes. Add insects. Continue sauteing for 10 - 15
minutes, stirring occasionally. 

Grasshopper Gumbo
    Ingredients (6 servings):
    1/2 cup lemon juice
    1 tablespoon olive oil
    1 teaspoon honey
    1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
    2 tablespoon minced fresh herbs -- parsley, mint, thyme and/or tarragon.
    12 frozen grasshoppers, katydids, locusts, or other suitably sized Orthoptera, thawed
    1 red pepper, cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
    1 small yellow onion, cut into 8 wedges
Directions: Mix all ingredients for the marinade in a nonreactive baking dish. Add the Orthoptera, cover, and marinate overnight. When ready to cook, remove the insects from the marinade. Pat them dry, for ease of handling. Assemble each kabob, alternately skewering the insects, tomatoes, and onion wedges to create a visually interesting lineup. Cook the kabobs two or three inches above the fire, turning them every two or three minutes and basting them with additional olive oil as required. The exact cooking time will vary, depending on the kind of grill and types of insects used; however, the kabobs should cook for no longer than 8 or 9 minutes.

Chocolate Covered Grasshoppers
 2 Squares of semisweet chocolate
25 dry-roasted crickets and/or grasshoppers with legs and wings removed.
 Melt chocolate as directed on the box. Dip insects in chocolate place on wax paper and refrigerate.

Fruitcake, Desert
1 cup Cricket or Grasshopper Flour
1/4 cup Cherries, Dried, Chopped
1/4 cup Cranberries, Dried, Chopped
1/4 cup Water
This recipe is very traditional amerindian and does not take into account advances in cooking technology -such as yeast. It
is, however, a wonderful nutrition bar packed  with protein, carbohydrates, sugars, and about 2% fat (better than most
granola). Mix all ingredients together to make a coarse dough. Pull off enough dough to make finger-sized strips and lay
these on a lightly oiled cookie sheet. Bake at 350oF for 20 min or until the outside is deep tan (adjusting for the colour of
the flour) and a toothpick stuck into one comes out clean. Cool and serve as nutrition bars for snacks, hiking, or camping or
store for later use.Var. - Add 1/4 c Rolled Oats and a tad more Water to make this more like a granola bar.
Substitute other Bug Flours for slightly differing taste.

If any one out there is  brave enough to try this please let me know.  I would love to hear about it.


Nasturtium Spread

My nasturtiums are doing great this year.  They are beautiful and they almost grow better the more you neglect them.  Just my kind of flower.   I love having flowers all over the place because they make me happy.  I love it even more when they are edible.  They can really dress up a salad.

This salad  has baby greens, raspberries, nasturtium leaves, flowers, and raspberry vinaigrette.

Nasturtiums have a sweet peppery taste that goes well with lots of different flavors.  It is a little like watercress.  Since I have such an abundance this year I thought I would do some experimenting.  I came up with this spread and I think it goes well with veggies as a dip.  It kind of reminds me of those cheese balls you have a Christmas parties so if you make any kind of primal crackers it would be great on those too.

Isn't it pretty?


2 C. raw cashews, soaked min. 2 hours
3 T. cold pressed, extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 C. fresh lemon juice
1/2 t. sea salt
20 nasturtium blooms, chopped finely
2 T. chopped chives
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend into a smooth cream.
Add just a few tablespoons of water at first, and add an additional tablespoon at a time as you blend until you reach the consistency that you’re aiming for.
Chill in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Whip some of this up and have a party!


Mulberry Crumble

In our orchard there is a wild mulberry tree that is just beautiful.... and messy.  This year it had a lot of fruit on it and I thought I would figure out some way to use it.

My father-in-law said that mulberries taste bad and the only thing to do would be to remove the tree and plant something better. 

It is true, they are little and not very sweet.  I think that is just fine as I am trying to cut my sugar intake even from fruit. 

The color is just lovely!  It is kind of a cross between a black berry and a raspberry. 

This is what my hand looked like AFTER I washed up. 

After a little digging I learned that the ancient Romans thought the common mulberry had the power to make you "Wiser than all others" and have clarity of thought.   Having a mulberry tree on your property is said to protect the children and expecting mothers.

From Chinese medicine I found that mulberry is cooling in nature, builds the yin fluids and blood.  It is most helpful for strengthening the liver and kidneys but the list of ailments that it helps is a long one.  It includes such things as: anemia, grey hair, insomnia, ulcers, diabetes, dry cough, ringing in ears, poor joint mobility, and vertigo.    They recommend putting a few mulberries in your tea in the morning and take as a tonic.... for all of the above mentioned problems.  I bet that does taste really good and I just may try it.

Mulberry crumble

1/2 C. walnuts
1/2 C. pecans
salt, just a pinch
1/4 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. cardamom
1/8 t. nutmeg
1 T. butter, cut into small pieces
1 T. vanilla
3 C. berries of your choice  (I used 1 C. each of mulberry, blueberry, and raspberry)

Preheat the oven broiler on Low.

In a food processor grind the nuts so they are finely chopped.  Add the salt, spices, and butter.  Pulse till just blended.

In a small pot bring the berries and vanilla to a boil for 5 to 10 minutes.  Make sure the berries are well heated.  Drain off any liquid that the berries have released and then place them in a baking dish.

Spoon the nut mixture on to the top and put under the broiler and heat for several minutes.  Keep a close eye on it because the nuts can burn easily.

Drizzle a bit of coconut milk on top and enjoy this yummy treat!


Color Enhancing Herbal Shampoo

I bet that I am ask at least 20 times a week what kind of shampoo I use on my own hair.   I can always tell when my friends use my bathroom that they check out my personal care products too.  I think that is a normal girl thing to do.  Plus it can be confusing and expensive to try everything.  Even in my own salon there are so many choices.

It is not really a secret that I don't shampoo any more and there are only two professional products that I feel good about telling my clients to get.  Those two products will cost an arm and a leg.

The happy news is there is no need to break the bank.  You can have beautiful healthy hair for just pennies.  The things I have already discussed in this blog are basic NoPoo, how to get your hair clean, cleaner, and conditioned.

Today I want to share how to use your shampoo to enhance your hair color.  This will work for all hair types, however, the more porous your hair is the faster it will work.   If you have permed hair this may not be a good option for you as the results will be really unpredictable.

Basic Shampoo mix
(2 teaspoons Herbs)

8 oz distilled water
3 ounces liquid castile soap
3 Tablespoon aloe vera gel
¼  teaspoon of jojoba oil (for oily hair)  3/4- 1 teaspoon jojoba oil (for dry hair)
30 drops of pure rosemary, chamomile, lavender, or sage essential oil  (or what ever you want to smell like)

Herbs for everyone
Rose petals

Herbs for Blonds
sunflower petals
chamomile flowers
calendula flowers
lemon rind

Herbs for Brunettes
crushed black walnut hulls

Herbs for Red hair
hibiscus flowers
red clover flowers
rose hips
red rose petals

First you need to pick 2 or 3 herbs you are going to use and place them in the bottom of a glass jar.  Boil the water and pour over your herbs.  Immediately put a lid on the jar and let it steep till it is completely cool.

Strain out the herbs and put the liquid into a pretty bottle that has been washed out.  Add the castille to the container and then the jojoba and essential oil.  Last add the aloe to the bottle.  Put the lid on and give it a good shake. * Shake it back and forth like windshield wipers not up and down.  You will get a better mix.

This shampoo will stay good for about a week.  If you are going to take longer to use it store it in the fridge.  Make sure to shake this up before every use.

These make cute "any time" gifts for the ones you love.  If you do give them out make sure you rite down what herbs and oil you used because you are going to be asked to do it again.

Have fun and enjoy this one!

*note:  castille soap is made from olive oil and can easily be found at the health food store.


Pork and pineapple

 This is quickly becoming one of my favorite breakfasts.  I can't really call it a recipe... It is more like leftovers with flare.


1 left over pork chop or ham
fresh pineapple, sliced
1 small zucchini shredded
1/2  small onion, diced
coconut oil
salt and pepper

Slice the pork chop and the pineapple so they are about the same size.  Put some coconut oil in a frying pan and heat up the pork chop.  While that is cooking shred the zucchini and dice the onion. Mix together and set aside.  Take the pork out of the pan and put in the pineapple.  Heat it through and just brown a bit.  Place it on the plate with the pork.  Add the zucchini to the pan and more coconut oil if needed.  Cook it through and salt and pepper everything to taste. 

Something about heating up the pineapple is just divine.  The acid taste goes away and it gets really juicy......mmmmmm!

This is very quick and easy.  The best part is it all cooks in one pan.  Quick clean up is a beautiful thing!


Bottled Apricots

Last year for my birthday I got myself a water bath caner.  Basically it is just a huge stock pot with a lid and a basket for holding the bottles.

My mom caned food all my life but for some reason I never learned how.  So I decided that it was about time I did learn.

Lucky me! Apricots are one of the easiest things to bottle.

What you need:

1 caner or stock pot
bottles that have been sanitised.  I run mine through the dish washer
new lids and rings
syrup mixture   (I used apple juice)

First fill your caner with enough water to cover you bottles. Put it on the stove and start to heat it up.

While it is heating clean your apricots.  I just filled the sink with water and a splash of vinegar.  Cut them in half and place cut side down in the bottle.  Pack in as many as you can because they will take up less space once bottled.

Then fill the bottle to the neck (not the brim) with your syrup.  If you are using traditional heavy syrup you will need to have that already mixed up.  I just juiced some apples and used that. In about half I mixed in some crushed pineapple and that looked beautiful!

Make sure you wipe down the top of the bottle with a paper towel so there are no bits of fruit that would cause it not to seal.

Put the lids and rings on the bottle.  Leave the rings just a little loose so the bottles won't break.  Put them in the basket and make sure your water is boiling.  Lower them into the water and put the lid on the caner.  Let them cook for 20 minutes.  While they are in the caner lay out a towel on the counter that you will set the bottles on to cool.  Keep another towel handy that you will cover the bottles with so you AC doesn't cool them too fast and cause a bottle to crack.  You should have plenty of time to fill your next bottles and have them ready to go.

And that is all there is too it!  Once they are cooling on the counter they need to set for a few hours.  You will hear the lids pop as they make a seal.  If any bottles have not made a seal after a day then you need to use that fruit right away.  Clean everything else off and place on the shelf.

I just think rows of preserved fruit are so beautiful and it feels really good to know exactly what is in my food.

Give this a try!  It is super easy.    **note:  It is just as easy to do 2 or more batches as it is to do one.  The mess you clean up will be the exact same no matter how many you do.



I have been meaning to post about the chickens for a while now. 

This spring my mom decided that it would be really fun and to have chickens to teach the grand kids about having chores and animals.  We are all on board.  (the adults anyway)

I remember having chickens as a kid.  I was really afraid of the rooster and for some reason getting eggs always made me itchy.   (I just found out this year that I have an egg allergy)

Jim made this cute little chicken house.  See the side door where you can reach in and get the eggs?  Pretty smart...   I think he did a good job.  This is just where the chickens sleep so they are safe.  The rest of the time they are out in the yard. 

These are the little babies that are not quite ready to be out all the time.

Here are the momma chickens.  There job is to eat the bugs out of the garden, but no on told them that so they like to hang out under the pine tree.

It has been fun getting eggs.  We also learned that there are raccoons that would like chickens for dinner.  Grandma has caught several in a live trap.  I bet the chickens are happy they have a house!


Natural Mosquito Repellent

Well it is mosquito season here in the desert.  The mosquito abatement lady is running around desperately trying to save us all from the west Nile virus.

It seems that when the sun starts to go down giant clouds of mosquitoes come out to play..... and we all hide in the house so we don't get carried away.

There are a few natural things you can do to keep them away.

Avoiding sugar: some say that sweet blood attracts mosquitoes. Mosquitoes actually do rely on sugar from plants as their main source of energy. Female mosquitoes only suck blood when they are about to lay eggs. Otherwise, male and female mosquitoes get their food from flowers.
Avoiding bananas: This goes along with the sugar theory, but the consumption of bananas is blamed in attracting mosquitoes.
Eat garlic: Many people claim that regularly eating raw garlic keeps the mosquitoes away. Of course you have to weigh the pros and cons here. You may keep the mosquitoes away with garlic but you may also keep your friends and family away too.
B Vitamins:  B vitamins, especially thiamine, can deter mosquitoes.

Herbs high in thiamine include: alfalfa, bladderwrack, burdock root, catnip, cayenne, chamomile, chickweed, eyebright, fennel seed, fenugreek, hops, nettles, oatstraw, parsley, peppermint, raspberry leaves, red clover, rose hips, sage, yarrow, and yellow dock.
Foods high in thiamine include:  Brown rice, egg yolks, fish, liver, peanuts, peas, pork, poultry, rice bran, and wheat germ.

For some thing topical try this spray.  You will be so happy you did! 

Yarrow Catnip bug repellent
  1. Yarrow (either fresh or dried flowers and leaves)
  2. Alcohol (vodka works fine)
  3. Catnip Essential Oil
  4. Water

If you are using fresh flowers fill the jar all the way full.  If you are using dried herbs fill it only half way.

Fill the jar with vodka and let set for a week or so.

Then strain out the yarrow and fill spray bottles half way with the liquid.  Top them the rest of the way off with distilled water.
Place a few drops of catnip essential oil in the spray bottle. Catnip essential oil has been shown to be more effective than DEET at deterring mosquitoes. You could also try using lavender or sage essential oils.

There you have it! A wonderful mosquito repellent.  This works best when applied every few hours. 
There are many variations to this recipe so I encourage you to experiment with what works best for you.
You could simply make a tea out of yarrow and use that as a spray. This will not keep as long as an alcohol extraction.

There are a variety of essential oils that you can use besides the ones listed above.

Have a safe and fun summer!


Vanilla Honey Lip Balm

This recipe is super quick and easy!

I use this on my lips everyday this time of year.  I love how smooth and shiny it makes my lips.  You can also use it any ware you need a little moisture like heels and elbows.  In a pinch you can use it on minor cuts and scraped to prevent scarring.  It is mildly antibacterial.

1 T. honey
1 T. almond or jojoba oil
1 1/2 t. beeswax
7 drops vanilla essential oil

*You can substitute any essential oil of your choice.  Peppermint works really nice.

In a small sauce pan over low heat warm the oil, honey, and beeswax, until the wax is just melted.

Remove from heat, add the essential oil, and stir to blend.  Set the pan in a shallow ice-water bath.  Using a whisk, stir rapidly for 30 to 60 seconds until the honey is incorporated and the formula is like thick peanut butter.  It should be a pale amber color.

Spoon mixture into a storage container and let set for 2 hours before use.

No refrigeration is required but you will want to use it all up with in a year.

You are going to like this one!  (((kiss)))