"Let food be thy medicine, and let thy medicine be food." Hippocrates

"One-quarter of what you eat keeps you alive. The other three-quarter keeps your doctor alive." Hieroglyph found in an ancient Egyptian tomb

"It is a matter of common knowledge that any processing that foods undergo serves to make them more harmful than unprocessed foods." McDonald's Corporation legal statement, shown in the documentary Supersize Me.

“Control the oil and you control entire nations; control the food and you control the people.”~ Henry Kissinger

Thursday, May 17, 2012

decisions, decisions...

we've been toying with the idea of urban homesteading this year. i wonder if i could get away with ducks in the back yard? i mean, we do live in a rural area and there's a rooster across the road/creek that "goes off" at all hours of the day. city girl thought roosters only crowed at the break of dawn. wrong. so wrong. :( i do have some funny stories i could share of when i was in high school and we moved to this rural area and all the stupid things i did. how was i to know? i'm sure i'll be doing many more stupid things. LOL

but the "decisions, decisions..." comes from wanting to re-name this blog and share our veggie life and urban homesteading in one place. Since my business is called Prim Rose Hill i think my husband has decided to name it Prim Rose Hill Homestead.

so if there's any lurkers out there in blogland reading :)
i think i will change the name and web address on Saturday May 19 to......


you can just click and go! :)

Monday, May 14, 2012

Meatless Mondays: Easy Black Bean Soup








  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 15-ounce cans black beans, rinsed
  • 3 cups water
  • 1/2 cup prepared salsa
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 4 tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream (optional), (vegans use Tofutti)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until beginning to soften, 2 to 3 minutes. Add chili powder and cumin and cook, stirring, 1 minute more. Add beans, water, salsa and salt. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in lime juice.
  2. Transfer half the soup to a blender and puree (use caution when pureeing hot liquids). Stir the puree back into the saucepan. Serve garnished with sour cream and cilantro, if desired.

Tips & Notes:  Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Garnish with sour cream and cilantro, if desired, just before serving.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Meatless Mondays: Rainbow Stir-fry

Serves 4

30 minutes or fewer

Kids and adults will love this sweet-and-spicy stir-fry. Serve over brown rice.

3 Tbs. frozen orange juice concentrate
2 Tbs. hoisin sauce
1 Tbs. low-sodium soy sauce
½ tsp. chile-garlic sauce
2 tsp. toasted sesame oil
½ lb. green beans, halved crosswise
1 cup thinly sliced purple cabbage
1 15-oz. can baby corn, rinsed and drained
1 small red bell pepper, sliced (1 cup)
1 cup frozen, shelled edamame
1 8-oz. can sliced water chestnuts, drained
4 green onions, thinly sliced

1. Whisk together orange juice concentrate, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, and chile-garlic sauce in small bowl.

2. Heat oil in wok or large skillet over high heat. Add green beans, and stir-fry 3 minutes. Add 3 Tbs. water; stir-fry 3 minutes more. Add cabbage, baby corn, bell pepper, edamame, and water chestnuts; stir-fry 4 minutes. Stir in green onions and orange juice mixture; cook 1 minute more.

~~Vegetarian Times~~

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

making environmental (and healthier) changes...alittle at a time

i have included on the right hand side of my blog a new block called "what i'm reading right now" and that happens to be "sleeping naked is green" by vanessa farquharson.  i love the title of this book. and yes, i admit that when i saw the title, i picked it up out of curiousity. ;) the writer shares her daily changes (and the struggles) when she decided to make one little environmental change for an entire year on her blog. wow. i wouldn't have made it through the first month! i find myself reading a chapter or two when i can...i can't wait to find out the next change that she makes. i might be able to make the changes of showering in the dark, or using recyled paper towels (before she completely gives them up), banning all styrofoam (I hate that stuff anyhow and paper plates too!) or even starting a compost bin (although the thought of worms makes me want to throw up). the real problems for me would be giving up my car (i live in a rural area with no public transportation and it's 30 miles one way to work...over a mountain!), turning off my air conditioner in the summer (this one would kill me for sure, as hot and muggy as it gets here), handwashing all my dishes (oh God no, there aren't enough hours in the day now for everything I try to get done), or not using fruit and veggie wash or rinsing things for more than a second (i am obsessed with scrubbing my fruit and vegetables, especially the ones that aren't organic).

But as i read her book i realized that i had infact started to make some positive environmental changes in my life without even realizing it. and that made me feel better. so what have i done that is better?

1. no more paper plates, plastic bowls, cups, utensils, etc. instead i bought a thermos and take my tea in it everyday to work. i also bought a thermos for my soup. no more tupperware! ugh, they're bad for your health anyhow! and yes, i like eating with a "real" utensil. i even bought some reusable sandwich & snack baggies...no more ziploc plastic to throw away.

2. no more bottled water. after watching a documentary on the bottled water industry, i realized what a joke it is to buy this stuff. i remember when bottled water was first introduced i laughed and said "who in their right mind would pay for stuff out of a faucet?" turns out i was closer to the truth than i knew.  in an effort to get rid of fluoride from our water and other nasty stuff, we're buying a berkey.

3. switch to organic shampoo, conditioner, soap. omg, do you really want to know what chemicals are in your shampoo? and the body wash you slather on every morning? do you want to know how many of those chemicals are classified as carcinogens? run, don't walk, to the nearest natural foods/health foods place near you and invest in some organic products!

4.  use only non-toxic, phosphate-free dishwasher detergent. i switched over to seventh generation, no dyes, no fragrances. it's safer for you, your family, your pets, and the environment.

5. cancelled cable. Granted our reason for this was to save $$. i mean honestly though, we're paying $50 a month for 50 channels and i rarely find something to watch. ok, when "the walking dead" season 3 starts again in the fall, i'm going to be crying. but surely i can find it on the internet somewhere. oh please oh please. but for now, i am surprised i'm not missing it. in fact, i'm getting alot more productive "stuff" done! and we are signed up with netflix, so when the urge hits, i can watch a drama, comedy, or more documentaries to piss me off at "the government" and "big business".

6. make sure all the lights are turned off before leaving home. a nice, easy environmental change. ok, we did it to not give an extra dime to AEP. their rates are high enough and they're constantly asking for a rate increase. enough is enough! we're on monthly budget rating and can barely afford that.

7. switched to a natural toothpaste. we did it get rid of the floride and saccharin. two very scary ingredients in anything!

8. use stainless steel rather than non-stick frying pan (takes less time to heat up). and along with the environmental element comes the health issue. teflon is like death in frying pan. ditch those suckers and use the stainless steel only.

9. no more ordering food by delivery. yeah, this is another one of those that you can do for the environment, your health, or your wallet! lucky for us we live in a rural area where there's only like 3 places that deliver and the food sucks at all of them! ;)

10. pick weeds by hand rather than with use a pesticide.  we're going organic, baby! this will be our first year using container/square foot gardening and it's all going to be organically grown. the food prices are outrageous for good, healthy, quality, organic food. it's part of  "prim rose hill homestead" that's in the first stage of developement.

11. use cloth instead of paper towels for household cleaning. great way to use rags (old clothing, t-shirts, etc) or dishcloths/tea towels in the kitchen. we didn't use paper towels when i was growing up. my parents/grandparents thought that was too expensive to just use something you throw away after using one time. we need to get back into that mentality of thinking.

12. use the same fork or spoon you stir with to eat with. seriously, how much easier does it get than this? i mean, this is one of those things that you think sounds hokey, but think about how much we dirty up more utensils when that first one really isn't "dirty" to begin with. my dishwasher will fill up slower and that means less water and electricity  and $$ in the long run. not to mention you're an idiot for stirring your tea and then getting another clean one to eat with. ;)

13. use towels several times before changing them. i've been doing this one for years. i mean, how dirty can it be? you just took a shower!

14. not consuming anything that contains or is manufactured with genetically modified corn (ie. high-fructose corn syrup, corn starch, ethanol, corn-fed beef, most tea bags, etc). this is really a health issue for us. after you watch a few documentaries on corn, you will become a paranoid freak, throwing out everything in your kitchen cabinets that contain any form of corn. yep, if it's not "organic" you can bet it's a gmo. we've gone as far as to not buy anything corn, soy, or canola that's not organic. wow that eliminates processed food in a hurry!

15. Only buy beans dry, in bulk. as two vegetarians, we now eat alot of beans. i do buy some organic ones in the can occasionally, but i've been trying to freeze a few bowls here and there so i always have some cooked and ready to use in the house. much better than buying the heavily-salted ones in cans.

16. drink only organic teas. i LOVE numi teas. they are organic and the tea bags are NOT made from gmo-corn. yeah really. most teabags are not bio-degradable and that's why. so now i am spoiled by their aged earl grey & it's all i will drink.  i like that they are an pro-environment, use only organic teas, and no gmo bags. and the best way to show that is to purchase their products. yep, money speaks louder than words. you vote for a product every time you buy it. you tell that company that you approve of their product and you want them to continue making more. sometimes that's good and sometimes it's not. i'm trying to make it more "good".

17. signed up with freecycle.org. well, who knows what i can rid of instead of sending to the dump or dropping off at goodwill. maybe we'll find some ducks or composting worms. ;)

18.  Empty lint traps, cleaning filters on a regular basis. ok, this one i got. i always clean the dryer trap before using it. yep, each and every time.

Changes we'll be making within the next month:

1. buy or grow only local (US only) organic produce. much easier to do in the summer months when  the farmer's market are open again. what we don't grow, we can buy locally.

2.  use tote bags, no more plastic bags. really now. i should already be doing this. i bought the bags at wal-mart when i shopped there but kept forgetting to bring them with me every time i went to the store. i tried to put them in the car. then i'd get to the checkout counter and realize the darn bags were still in the car! ugh. i am going to have to get better about this. especially when i'm at the farmer's market or natural foods store.

3. switch to recycled toilet paper and paper towels. how bad can it be? of course, i never have to buy either since my in-laws stock up on both like there's a crisis coming. ;) everytime they come to visit, they've made a stop at sam's warehouse and bought oodles of paper. so when i finally have to buy it, i'm buying recycled! maybe i can convince them to change now...

4. switch to natural deodorant. i am in the process of doing this one now. oh man. i bought this "fresh apricot" smelling deodoarant & thought how wonderful! after about two hours, i smelled like rotten apricots. no joke. ok, maybe next i'll buy the unscented or order one a different brand online. ugh. this is a hard one.

5. find a pvc-free shower curtain liner. surely i can find one online! you can find anything online!

6. quit using nail polish (or nail polish remover). this is hurting me now. i'm trying. really i am. i've been wearing nail polish since i was 13 years old. i think my hands look better with those mauve-colored tips. i know it's bad for me and yes, it takes my breath everytime i paint  or remove the old polish. it makes me feel feminine.  i feel so blahhhh without it. i really hate this one.

7. use "green" and "natural" cleaners. ok, baking soda. vinegar. those are the two biggies i know about. i'll have to some research on green cleaning. one thing i know for sure: better for the environment and better for our health.

8.  no buying plastic ever again.  self explanatory. :)

Changes to make over the summer:

1. find a natural, safe, vegan, cruelty-free cosmetic company that isn't outrageous. this is going to take some time. I've been looking online and doing some research.

2.  compost. yuck. i will have to get over my queasies. i have been saving our tea for the compost pile/bin that jeff will be building soon. i will start saving our food scraps too.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Meatless Monday: Easy Green Coconut Curry

Serves 4

30 minutes or fewer 30 minutes or fewer

Prepared Thai curry paste is available in the Asian section of most supermarkets. If you can’t find green, feel free to use red or yellow. Since the paste is quite spicy, taste a little before you add it and use more or less as preferred. Garnish with chopped roasted peanuts and cilantro if desired.

1 cup reduced-fat coconut milk
1 tsp. green curry paste
1 ½ lb. frozen mixed Asian vegetables (mixes with peas are good here)
2 Tbs. teriyaki sauce
4 cups cooked brown rice

Combine coconut milk and curry paste in wok or large saucepan over medium heat, and bring to a boil.

Stir in frozen vegetables. Simmer over medium heat 10 minutes.

Stir in teriyaki sauce, and serve over rice.

~~Vegetarian Times~~

Monday, March 26, 2012

Meatless Mondays...it's a great start!

I had heard of this movement, but didn't know they had a website until I stumbled across it in another blogger's post.  Meatless Mondays encourages folks to eat vegetarian for one day a week.  I think it's a great start. I remember back 15 years ago when I didn't think I'd make it as a vegetarian, it never occurred to me to try just one day a week. Like 99.9% of all meat eaters, I thought I needed a lot of animal protein or my body would shut down. ;) It seems rather funny now, but that's what our media and USDA have us brainwashed into believing.  I think I will go sign up with this website and start a Meatless Monday posting here. I did notice there are alot of vegetarian and vegan websites listed. :)

I wish everyone could realize the benefits that could come from everyone doing a Meatless Monday even if you can't take the whole plunge. :) Many benefits include our health, our environment, we could support local farmers (love those farmer's markets!), we would need to slaughter less animals and could be more humane to the ones we do, and let's not forget our wallets. Go Veg! :)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Strong scientific evidence shows that eating berries benefits the brain

As we age, one of the functions that can often deteriorate dramatically is our mental function - our brain power, if you will. The good news is, researchers may have discovered a way to prevent this kind of decline: Eat more berries.

That's right. According to research published in the American Chemical Society's (ACS) Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, eating more blueberries, blackberries, strawberries and other berry fruits may help prevent age-related memory loss and other mental status changes.

In the journal article, Dr. Barbara Shukitt-Hale, PhD, and Marshall G. Miller note that as we live longer on average, there are increasing concerns about the social and monetary costs of treating Alzheimer 's disease and other forms of mental decline. That concern will only grow as the U.S. population continues to age.

Keep your brain healthy and functioning as you age

According to the research, eating more berries can have benefits for the aging brains. "To analyze the strength of the evidence about berry fruits, they extensively reviewed cellular, animal and human studies on the topic," said a press release from the ACS.

A review of the data found that there was strong scientific evidence that berry fruits help the brain remain healthy in a number of ways. For example, berry fruits contain high levels of antioxidants, "compounds that protect cells from damage by harmful free radicals." In addition, research shows that berry fruits alter the manner in which neurons in the brain communicate.

"These changes in signaling can prevent inflammation in the brain that contribute to neuronal damage and improve both motor control and cognition," said ACS, a nonprofit organization chartered by Congress.  "They suggest that further research will show whether these benefits are a result of individual compounds shared between berry fruits or whether the unique combinations of chemicals in each berry fruit simply have similar effects."

'Berry' good benefits

The ACS research isn't the first to suggest that antioxidants in berry fruits are beneficial to your overall health. The Global Healing Center also says berries are high in antioxidants and "have been shown to be some of the healthiest foods on the planet."

The antioxidants in berries and other fruits act as "scavengers" of free radicals, which create a destructive process on the cellular level, causing molecules within cells to become unstable, according to Dr. Edward Group.

"They may even be a big player in the formation of cancerous cells by a 'chain-reaction' effect, causing other cells to become damaged," he writes. "Because of the inherent instability of free-radicals, they try to attack other healthy cells to get stable themselves. This then causes the once-healthy cells to react in the same way, attacking others in [a] never-ending attempt for cellular stability."

Sources for this article include: