Turmeric Powder Tincture 

When I first met my now husband he introduced me to herbs to help with skin issues. He suffered a skin injury that required almost a year of medical attention but wanted to help his skin in any way he could. So he looked to herbs. The best way to get the herbs he chose to help in his opinion was to ingest them. Now we use many of the herbs he loved in our food and tisanes frequently. Turmeric is one we go through a lot of. It helps with inflammation and many skin issues are the product of other health problems such as this. Check out the link at the end of this post for more in depth information.

When a neighbor/friend asked if I wanted her bag of turmeric she didn’t like (it has a peppery taste that isn’t appetizing to some) I started brewing up ideas for usage. More than putting it in almost everything we eat. Which poses an issue with my toddler who ends up staining her clothes with any food saturated with it. I decided the first thing I wanted to make with it was a tincture. 

Most recipes I found suggested using the root. Fresh or dried in slices to help the alcohol base saturate it more easily. Well, I didn’t have a root. I had powder. So I did a 1:5 concoction to test it out. 1 part turmeric powder to 5 parts alcohol. It worked great! It was also really fun to work with and see the lovely color changes. The powder is a gorgeous yellow color and once it settled it created a red hued liquid. Later I saw it was more orange when not stacked the way it was but still lovely. 

One small pint jar creates a ton of tincture in my opinion. So unless you have a large family using it, are taking the tincture several times a day or are creating to share this should work great to start with. I filled two 2 oz dropper bottles to last me a while and barely made a dent in the tincture. I left the rest to continue brewing until I needed to strain some off again for use. 

This is what I used: 

I filled roughly 1/5 of the jar with powdered turmeric then filled it up with the alcohol.

After mixing gently and being sure to scrape any bits off the bottom I noticed the amount of product went down.

So I topped it off with a bit more alcohol. 

Then I added the lid and shook it up! Making sure to get any clumps out. 

It WILL settle and you will notice that it may look something like this:

It will definitely still brew perfectly fine so no worries! What you need to do though is shake vigorously every day at least once until the day before you decide to strain it. 

Typically, you would leave this for 14 days then let it rest on the 15th day before straining. That’s the bare minimum needed. I let mine brew for almost 3 months. Many saw the longer the better with tinctures. 

When the time came to strain I got out my sterilized bottles, a funnel, a bowl to catch any spillage, a measuring cup and a magic eraser sponge because I’m bound to spill something! 

I poured off some of the liquid from my jar into a measuring cup. Purely for the ease of pouring from it. I made sure to let the jar settle so I would get the least amount of powder in as possible. You can strain your concoction if you wish but I found that powders can be tricky business to work with. So I decided to use just the liquid from the top of the jar. 

Once I filled my bottles I put the leftover tincture back in the jar to save for a future pour. Letting it continue to brew.

I put some in my iced tea to test out immediately. A few drops definitely effects the flavor! If it’s too much to sip a drink with it then use the dropper to squirt directly into your mouth then chase with a drink or food if needed. Or add it to your food. 15-30 drops a day up to four times a day is the highest recommended dosage. Though I am not a doctor or certified herbalist so please do your own research! 

I then labeled my bottles and put the jar back in the dark cupboard. 

For an in depth look at the uses and side effects of turmeric feel free to check out this article: http://www.m.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-662/turmeric

Making Sugar Scrubs! 

Sugar Scrubs are one of the easiest homemade body products you can make! For a very basic recipe you need a sugar of your choice, essential oils and then a carrier oil base. Clays, herbs, blends of different sugars, etc can also be added. Sugar Scrubs are great for removing dead skin naturally and for moisturizing the skin. They can also be very inexpensive to make! I am making a Lavender Sugar Scrub today! 

Lavender is not only calming but is used medicinally as an anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antidepressant, anti-fungal, anti-microbial and for detoxing to make a few things. If you’re magically inclined lavendercan be used for love, peace, happiness, to attract a lover, sleep (dreams/rest/etc), to relieve sorrow, purification, and OH so much more! It’s one of my favorites!

Getting Started! 

First off you will need a container. Glass is best in my eyes. I use jam jars as they are thick and easy to dip your fingers in to pull out the scrub. I also use the wide mouthed jars that are shorter. If you’re worried about dropping glass in the shower I would bring in a hand towel to hold it firmly. You could use plastic but it’s porous and will absorb oils as well as not keep as long. 

For sugar I used raw Tamarind sugar in this blend. There are various sugars on the market. Ranging from exotic and expensive to cheap white cooking sugar. They all work! Having a variety is nice as well as having them in different sized granules to aide in exfoliating better. I would fill up your container about 3/4 full. You need space for the oil as well as some air in case the oil starts to pool. You don’t want it to leak!

With your oil you can use olive oil or look into other types of carrier oils. My preferred base is pure sweet almond oil with added vitamin E oil to increase the shelf life. Apricot oil, jojoba, coconut oil, etc also work well. There are various kinds and wash gas its own properties in healing so I would study up first!

I used lavender infused jojoba that I made using a cold process method (aka letting it soak for weeks in a dark cool place). I prefer using herbal oils to just essential oils but you can do what you would like. I left my lavender buds in but you can strain them out if you choose this method. 

You can still add essential oils to increase the scent or essential oils alone with a plain carrier oil. Less is more. Please do in depth research into EO’s before using them! 

Mix well and package! I would leave them at least a day to “mingle” before use. Though they are ready now. To use just take a small bit at the tips of your fingers and start scrubbing away! You can do this in a bath or shower. Be aware it may make your floor slippery so please be extra careful. I am not responsible for anything that may occur. I am simply suggesting uses. 

Naturally Protein Rich Smoothies – Protein Powder Alternative 

Recently, I have been working out more using weights like a steel rod for strengthening my hands and wrists, weights strapped to my ankles while walking and two different kettlebells. Even my toddler has her own 1lbs dumbbell so she can work out with me and her dad when he’s home. It’s adorable! Before this my main form of exercising was walking 5-10 miles a day, yoga (with a toddler thinking it’s fun to climb on me and fluff up my hair) and some arm movements my husband uses that he was taught in boot camp over 10 years ago and still uses today. A friend is helping me with plus size and pregnancy friendly/safe kettlebell routines and was talking to me about protein shakes. My husband offered to share his but the smell of his boat that permeated the shakes was too much for me with my recently heightened senses. To make sure I’m getting what I need until our recently ordered powders come in the mail I have upped our protein intake in our food.  

We already eat a really good amount of protein rich foods. Mostly, just because we like these foods but also because we rarely eat meat. There is more protein in many plant based foods than meat but we watch what we consume just to make sure we’re getting what we need anyway. I have been craving fruit smoothies since the weather warned up. So I decided to see what protein rich ingredients we had that I could use in a post workout naturally protein rich smoothie. What I am sharing is just some suggestions on making a protein shake alternative. There are actual charts to show you what amount of ingredients you should (or could) use as well as lists of food that one could use as well. I’m working with what I have. Protein powders tend to have much more protein than what this may have but it’s great for those with food sensitivities, those who eat more naturally, those who need to work with what they already have, etc. I also share with my toddler because it’s just plain tasty and she loves it. I have even made homemade Popsicles with the mixture. 

Fruit: I have a container of frozen fruit I used in water kefir fermentation. They are slightly more tangy and have underwent a bit of fermentation while the liquid ate through some of the sugars in the fruit. While they may not be super fermented I’m hopeful some of the benefits of fermented goodness are in them. I also had fresh bananas that I precut and froze so I don’t need to use ice in my smoothie. The fruits in my smoothie include bananas, dark cherries, blackberries, strawberries, peaches, raspberries and blackberries. Most of which are on the leaderboard for protein rich fruits. 

Nuts and seeds: Nuts are a great source of protein in many cases. We have a ton of different nuts/seeds for baking and cooking so I have a lot to choose from. I ended up soaking raw cashews overnight (makes them easier to blend) then added freshly ground flaxseed, chia seeds and raw pine nuts. Adding nut butters is an easy way to add in certain ingredients. I am out of all our homemade butters except commercial peanut butter so I went with plain seeds and nuts instead. Be aware of salt in nut butters as they can effect the flavor of the smoothie. I sometimes put my nuts in liquid to blend before adding the fruit. Then I blend them again with the added ingredients. 

Liquid: I plan on using fruit infused water kefir in some smoothies and homemade nut milks in others. Other options include: dairy based kefir (yogurt drink), coconut water and REAL juice. Adding juice may be a bit much for sugar but working with what you have is an option I know all too well. 

Other ingredients: Some other ingredients you can use are Greek yogurt, honey, silken tofu, oats and more. Some more for texture and flavoring than anything else. Many people won’t eat or drink something that doesn’t taste at least decent so experiment with flavors! I didn’t add any of these this time around. 

Here is my smoothie: blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, peaches, banana, dark cherries, the last of our chia seeds, raw cashews, pine nuts, ground flaxseed, dark cherry water kefir and homemade almond milk. 

I have nothing against protein shakes but for now this not only has protein but also fiber, vitamins, probiotic goodness and is generally healthy. 

Quick and Easy Blackberry And Chia Jam 

Blackberries grow in wild abundance where I live in Washington State. Growing up in the city in San Diego I never saw these kinds of things unless we went camping or on vacation out of state (or country). Sure, I saw farms with strawberries, pumpkins and other edibles but wild blackberries? Never. Not any wild fruit actually. We have only lived here as of last July and didn’t find out about the blackberries until the season started to wane. No wild harvested jams or pies for us this time around! I did get to eat a few fresh berries however and my baby got to try her first blackberry straight off the bush thanks to new friends here. 

The other day we went to the store and I decided to make jam since my husband didn’t have interest in the mandarin and honey marmalade I made. What does go for? Blackberries. Well, he went for them after not finding plums. Out of season but still available. Part of me wants only to support in season foods grown locally or on my own land someday. The other part of knows that even though out of season these green house grown berries will make him happy. I suspect I will have to do the same with my children if they develop a fancy for a particular food. Though, I will always encourage and educate them on eating in season. 

So today I am making jam. Blackberry and Chia Seed Jam with Honey! We tend to have an abundance of chia since my husband consumes some daily. I am usually not a huge fan (he usually will take a spoonful with just water and hold it in his mouth before swallowing it. No thank you.) but I think along with the berries it will be good! It also will boost the healthy goodness of the jam! Everything in this jam in fact is pretty healthy! A quick Google search of the ingredients will give you lists of all their amazing properties. 

This particular recipe wasn’t made for canning though I will have plenty of those in the future! It will last a week or two in the fridge depending on how often you take it out and how tight you deal it. You can even freeze it for the future though that can alter the taste and texture. This recipe can also easily be made VEGAN if you prefer (it’s also naturally gluten free of you need it to be). Just swap the honey for maple syrup! 

Ingredient wise you will need: 

1 pound of blackberries (I am using fresh but frozen is fine and generally cheaper!)

3 tablespoons of chia seeds (We got ours from Costco)

3 tablespoons of honey (we use local) or maple syrup. You can alter this to taste. We like things on the sweeter side. 

You can also add a dash (I tend to eye things but I would say this would be around a teaspoon or less) of vanilla extract.

OPTIONAL: a tab of butter (noted later)

   

 
After I took this picture I discovered my daughter is tall enough to reach onto the table. There she grabbed the honey and attacked it happily like Winnie the Pooh. I finally managed to get it back and she joyfully bounced next to me as she sucked on her hands after. Oh parenthood. 

To make the jam you will need to add your berries to a pot (I use a slightly abused enameled cast iron pictured here. I promise I clean the crap out of this thing.) and heat on low while you mash lightly (leave some chunks!). They will create their own juice so there’s no need to add anything else just yet. 

  

After mashing I keep mixing on low for about 5 minutes. You may start drooling now when the smell hits you in the face. A dish cloth can be used to sop up the mess. 

    
 

Now you can add the chia seeds and the honey (or syrup). Stir continuously (be sure to scrape the bottom) for another 5 minute or so and watch it thicken delightfully. 
If it begins to froth a tab of butter helps. You can try coconut oil if making it vegan but if I remember correctly it is something in the dairy that helps. It doesn’t harm the jam so leaving it for thing is fine. 

   

 
 

Afterwards, turn off the heat and let sit for a minute or two before adding the vanilla extract. Now, you could can this in your preferred method if you want but due to the lack of pectin, et cetera it still won’t stay much longer. I let mine cool completely before putting it in a mason jar and setting it in the fridge.

  

You can put this in Tupperware as well. For a mason jar use a ladle and if you can there are different tools to help reduce splatter and waste. 

   

 

I love easy to make treats like this. It is great for the beginning homesteader to a seasoned one. Perfect when you don’t have a lot of time and/or don’t want to wait for good eats. Plus, just because it is easy doesn’t mean it isn’t delicious. 

  

Planting Roots – Starting Seeds In Washington State

My husband has started working really long days as of today. So he ran the family to the store yesterday to pick up some seeds and a peat moss soil seed starter in case we can’t get to it for a few weeks. We eventually want to buy seeds as local as possible but for now these work. You have to start somewhere! This is exactly how we started seeds growing up. Sometimes we would use egg cartons and a starter soil. However, my mom was a single parent for much of my childhood so this was cleaner and more convenient! 

I have always been fascinated by gardening. Though, I have tended to be more of an herb gardener in the past. I still have quite a collection of dried herbs from our previous home. In working to be more self-sufficient we want to grow and raise as much of our own food as possible however so veggies it is this time around! Starting small in our new home (as in area not actual home) is a good way to learn how gardening works here. Weather, environment, etc. Where I am from in Southern California if you didn’t mind having people give you dirty looks for using a lot of water you could pretty much grow year round. Here, it is very different. 

We used a peat moss seed starter and planted our seeds the day after the Full Moon (today). My trusty Farmers Almanac says this is shops time for planting root vegetables. If you believe in such things. Age old wisdom could be a good thing to listen to. We planted red kohlrabi, radishes, beets, carrots and turnips! Yum! I wasn’t sure how veggies that grow above the soil would do with the animals here so we thought root vegetables were the way to go. Kohlrabi may grow on top-ish but it’s so delicious we are willing to risk it! 

  

  

Usually, I only put a pinch of seeds into my starters but many instructions say three seeds will do for medium to larger seeds like many of these veggies produce. I added a little extra because frankly I am kind of insecure about growing here! I only know what I have learned from books and not first hand experience like I did back home. 

   
   

I emptied each packet into bowls I borrowed from my baby. Much easier to pinch and drop into the netting than straight from the paper envelope! The leftover seeds I will be giving as an offering to the local land wights/spirits later today. 

  

Afterwards I covered the seedlings and made sure the soil was still damp from the night before.

  

Then I put them in the sunniest part of my home with a place to set the mini green house. That just so happened to be the laundry room. It’s always warm in there even when nothing is on so it is a good place for the little babies! 

  

Now we wait. 

Due to where we live we will be growing things out of a tub in a few weeks. I got the idea from another Heathen friend who lives in a apartment in the South. She had a magnificently magical little garden on her back patio that inspired me to grow in this way as well. 
The only addition to hers is that we may put up something to protect it from animals as well since our home is a few feet from the forest. Here’s to hoping the deer don’t eat it all! 
I can’t wait to share progress of our tiny garden as we get it going. Thank you for being a part of our journey by reading my blog!