Good morning, from the mountains of Kentucky. I hope you’re having a wonderful spring and enjoying the beautiful outdoors. I felt the Lord inspire me this morning to write a post about paths. I love when the Lord inspires me with one word, then encourages me to dig deeper into the word for a better understanding of why He is speaking the word to me. Many times, when a believer says the Lord is speaking to them, it opens up opportunities for others to ask questions. For me, some of those questions include; Are you hearing an audible voice speaking this word or words? How do you determine that it’s the Lord speaking this word? What if it’s not Him? I typically answer with, no, it isn’t an audible voice, but it very well could be. I also reply that the Holy Spirit allows me to know that it is the Lord encouraging me to dig deeper into the word or words. Finally, if it’s not or wasn’t the Lord, then what would be the harm in exploring the word(s), praying about it, and learning from them? God grows us in various ways. The key is that we have to be receptive, willing to hear, and sometimes see what the Lord is impressing on our heart… and then have a willing heart to do something with the word or words. Willingness produces growth.
Growing up in the Appalachian Mountains in a more simplistic time than we now know. There wasn’t always entertainment at our fingertips. We had typically five to seven channels on television if the cable was working correctly. Did that mean we sat in front of the television mesmerized, much like youth are today? No, indeed not. We didn’t spend time indoors when we were home from school unless it was raining or bitterly cold. Were we being punished? No, indeed not. We were typically outside exploring, playing, and enjoying the surrounding entertainment that God provided. We spent most of our days fishing or wading in the creek, creating mud pies, playing in our homemade clubhouses, and making our own fun with what we had available. Were we bored? No, indeed we were not. We enjoyed checking out books from the bookmobile that frequented our house during the summer months. As a child, adventures awaited us daily. Adventures lay within the eye of the beholder, just as they are for me today. Pray for eyes to see, ears to hear, and a heart to receive what the Lord is telling or showing you, then to have the wisdom to apply what He is saying.
I have enjoyed walking and exploring the beautiful mountains of Kentucky since I was a young girl. I still see a path that’s worn by those that sojourned before me and imagine who blazed the first path. Where were they going, and what did they find? Even today, I get lost in my imagination as I walk the path before me. The Lord has piqued my curiosity about the word path countless times. He allowed me to know that paths can be physical paths made by the footsteps of others and that paths can be the remnant of what’s left behind in annotations in Bibles. There’s something about the smell of a path through the mountains that entices me, just as the aroma that fills my nostrils from the time-worn pages of a bible. Both paths arouse curiosity and both have the potential to grow me spiritually, and opportunities to hear from the Lord. I am a firm believer that if we are receptive to our surroundings, objects, places, the word, and the people that He places in our paths, He will grow us. God doesn’t change, we do. I encourage you to dig deep, find that child-like faith, the curiosity of a child, and always the willingness to trust Him when He speaks to you. Again, the key to growth is the willingness to adhere to what the Lord is saying. It’s not about us, but all about Him.
I hope this short post has encouraged you to listen closely, and to not dismiss the repetition of a word or words that surface from various places, and to pray through the experience and allow the Lord to lead you to gain new knowledge, help someone else, or just satisfy a curiosity that lies within yourself. Life is short. Live it… live it for Him. Love life and above all love Him, and resonate His love toward others. God bless, from the mountains of Kentucky. As always, your comments and questions are always welcome.
“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not to thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” Proverbs 3:5, 6.
If you’ve shopped for groceries lately, you have felt the pain of the price of groceries when you checked out at the register. It’s ridiculous how the price of food has increased. So, what are we expected to do? Clip coupons? Use savings apps? Grow as much of our food as possible? Yes, to all the questions above and also learn to be frugal with what we have.
I grew up in the sixties and seventies in a single parent home with two siblings. We didn’t know it at the time, but our mom, who was also a working mom, was very frugal and could make delicious dishes from leftovers. Left over vegetables became delicious vegetable soup. Popcorn was transformed into delicious caramel corn. The list could go on and on. But, one of my favorite transformations was left over potatoes, which became scrumptious potato cakes! I am excited to share my version of my mother’s delectable potato cakes.
After our children married and left home, we have more leftovers than ever before. Leftover mashed potatoes and the dread of emptying them to the dogs, or just going to waste inspired me to make potato cakes! My mom always made what she called depression potato cakes. I remember watching her in the kitchen mix the delicious mix and then frying it to perfection! After pondering on the delectable cakes, I determined that I could make a heather version. As the mix started coming together, I was sure this transformation dish would quickly become a renewed favorite. And so, the experience had begun with cherished memories, a desire, and a little creativity. Finally, the cakes were complete. I was too eager to wait for dinner to try the golden potato cakes. Yummo! They were delicious! I am so excited to share this delicious recipe with you. I hope you enjoy these delicious plant-based or vegetarian potato cakes as much as my family.
Leftover cold mashed potatoes ( I used two cups)
Two tbs diced sweet onion
1/2 cup self rising flour of choice
1 cup yellow corn meal
Either one egg white or a flax egg (flax egg is I tbs finely ground flax seed and 2 1/2 tbs water mixed)
Salt and pepper to taste
Process; mix all ingredients together. The mix will be stiff. The stiffer the better. If your mix is not thick enough, add a little meal and flour. Once mixed, set aside and add a little extra virgin olive oil to frying pan. Allow the oil to heat and then either form patty’s or drop by large spoon fulls into the pan. Allow to fry on one side while adding a little extra pepper and or salt. I like to add a sprinkle of turmeric, just because I love the flavor and it’s good for you! It also gives the potato cakes a nice color. Flip, season, and fry the other side until golden brown on both sides of the potato cake
This is a delicious side dish for pinto beans, green beans and also makes a great side for breakfast. My family loves them with ketchup as a side. You can add diced bell pepper in the mix for a bit of Mexican style potato cake. I like to add a little plant based cheese as well for a cheesy potato cake. The possibilities are endless and it allows you to use leftovers to make delicious food that saves money all the while.
I hope our renewed favorite will become a new favorite of yours! God bless from the mountains of Kentucky! As always feel free to leave feedback, ideas, and or comments. Have a blessed week!
Hello, from the mountains of Kentucky! I hope each of you had a wonderful Christmas! We were blessed to celebrate with our children and grandchildren, despite the polar vortex storm that slammed us. That was some crazy weather! We have cold winters in the mountians, but don’t often see it below zero. Even still, we were blessed that our family could spend the day with us. With the new year, my thoughts have been focused on reflection, which helps us learn from the past, while also confirming plans for our future. I want to encourage you to stay the course that the Lord has laid out for us. Even though the world looks bleak around us, let us carry on, love life, live it, and enjoy it. Love Him while always placing Him at the forefront of our lives and we’ll finish the race strong.
Once the planning, decorating, shopping, cooking and all the festivities is complete, the reflecting begins. I take a little time each day and try to reflect on the past months, take notes, reread journal entries, add more notes, take time to meditate and pray, and then begin preparing and planning for the upcoming year. Reflection can include both physical and spiritual reflection as well as reflection of our finances, health, for me my academic growth for my career, time spent with family, but most of all the time we’ve spent in growing our relationship with the Lord. I have found that when my time spent with Him increases… all the other areas are easier and more pleasurable to manage.
So, you may be wondering how I’m planning to reflect and prepare for 2023. After much prayer and meditation, I have laid out a plan for increasing my personal time spent in prayer, meditation time, studying the word, reading uplifting books, and simply abiding in Him. I have added additional time to my already scheduled time that I have devoted for Him each day. This allows more prayer time, meditation time, and the all important quiet time to listen to Him. Last year the Lord spoke to me about sharing the word and Him with my students. It should have been an easy task, but most of the time when the Lord asks us to do something, we are met with opposition from the enemy. Recognizing the opposition was from the enemy, I quickly dismissed the enemy and put him under my feet and began opening class with prayer, and ending it with a scripture. As time went by, the students began giving in prayer requests. Since, many students have thanked me for praying and stated the opening prayer had helped them through difficult challenges and difficult days. It is nothing that I did, no credit for me, but all about what He does. I give God the glory for all. I am just a vessel that is willing to be used. I’m not sure what the Lord will ask me to do in 2023, but I am anxious to hear from Him and look forward to sharing more with you soon.
As for me-time. Upon reflecting on how I made time for myself last year, I do see improvement, but still find myself lacking in that category. So, for this year, I have books purchased and waiting for me to read. I have begun revisiting a book that is among my favorites. I am rereading, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. This book has ramped my mood up to read through the remaining winter days. I am excited to finish it, but will admit that I am also reading a few other books at the same time. Of course I have begun a new year of reading the Bible through with an insightful eye, and also reading a study on Jonah. I love to read Priscilla Shirer’s books. Her study on Elijah was outstanding! I would recommend all of her books for those who are interested in diving a bit deeper into the word.
Finally, my health. I have not made any big changes in my eating other than continuing to reduce the amount of processed foods that I am eating. I am adding more and more whole food plant based recipes into my daily intake. I have maintained a vegan diet for over four years and have found that inflammation is not an issue, my stamina has increased, and my cholesterol and blood pressure have both decreased. I encourage you to explore the many vegan options that are out there. My goals for 23 are to get up and move more, intake more water, and drink more herbal teas. I have recently fell in love with hibiscus cold brew tea. I prefer the Simple Truth organic brand. It’s really tasty and delicious over ice! I have also resumed an old passion of mine… I have rediscovered my love for crocheting. I am currently working on crocheting a temperature blanket. I’ll keep you posted on this project. It’s a fun project that doesn’t consume much time each day. Our daughter is crocheting one also. We’ve both joined a temperature blanket Facebook group that currently has over 500 members who are also crocheting this type of blanket. Again, I’ll keep you updated on the progress.
I will be posting new recipes, ideas, words of encouragement, and reviews of great books in upcoming posts. For now, I’m off to work on plans for my students next week when we return to campus for the spring semester. Remember, being healthy requires more than a resolution, an exercise program, a diet app, or pre-made diet foods, drinks, or protein bars. Being healthy requires a close relationship with our Heavenly Father, buying and growing healthy food, preparing it in a healthy manner, getting up and moving, drinking good quality water, socializing with positive people, spending time with self, and loving yourself. From the mountains of Kentucky, my prayers for each of you is for a happy, healthy, prosperous, life that includes God. For now, I’m off to work a bit. Feel free to leave comments or follow for upcoming recipes that I know you’ll enjoy! God bless, from our home to yours!
Good morning, from the mountains of Kentucky. Let me first begin by saying, we are blessed! I am not just implying my family, I am saying and proclaiming for all that are reading… “we are blessed!” You might be asking how so, or why did she post that? Deep within, you need to know that if you are physically able to read this post or any other post, you are alive, thus… you have been blessed with another day. Even, if there are things going on in your life, and we all have those days and even weeks, or maybe seasons, if you are breathing, you are blessed. Secondly, accept this day and know Lord has your best interest and will take care of you, walk in it. Make this day count. For every day that passes, is a day that we cannot and will not be able to enjoy again.
My mind often drifts back to a simpler time when life didn’t seem as hectic or as chaotic. The world seemed to be a more simple place. Sure there’s always been trouble, trials, wars, and bad things that happen, but that’s because we live in a real world where both good and bad happen. However, it seems to rein in a more bold abundance than in the times gone by. Is that it? Or, is that we, as a whole, are more connected to the media, social media, and here say, than we are to our savior and His word? Is it that we focus too much on what others are saying, or implying, than what the word tells us?
My heart is leading me in a direction to simplify life, my life. How so? By disconnecting from so much of the media. I don’t mean that I will live in a bubble where all is well and I will not acknowledge that bad things do happen. No, not at all. I mean, that I am being selective of what news I read, that’s right, read. I feel lead to spend much less time on social media, and more time in my prayer closet, in the word, and with the Lord, and with myself. I am doing some soul searching, meditation, deep and close reading, and also spending some quiet time listening to His voice.
I was reminded of how we, as a society, often overlook the simple things and become bored when things begin to calm down, or when there’s no fast paced gratification in most anything we attempt. Have we allowed the use of technology to rob us of the blessings of using our hands to create, our strength to labor, our eyes to actually read a book that we physically hold in our hands, and using precise measurements to create delicious dishes? Have we allowed the clutter in our lives to rob our desire of helping our fellowman? Do we care more for ourselves than the elderly widow who would love to have a home cooked meal, or someone to physically talk to? Have we allowed the convenience of instant almost anything to replace the satisfaction that we once felt by actually taking the time to complete a task?
What tasks am I speaking of? For such as a time as this, almost anything would fit into this category. Anything from baking a scratch cake instead of a boxed cake. From crocheting your own afghan for a friend instead of buying a thoughtless gift. Nurturing a plant from a seed with care and love, rather than picking the finest mature plant from a nursery. Growing your own herbs to dry, rather than buying a cheaper easier version from the store. Canning healthy produce for your family, rather than buying cheap imitations that are full of preservatives? It could be as simple as taking a break from browsing your phone, to watching a squirrel gather nuts. Reading deeper than surface reading the Bible. For such a time as this, this list could continue for far too long. We can’t make a total change overnight with simplification, but we can simplify our life, one habit, one deed, or one choice at a time.
I was inspired by our six year-old grandson to post this blog. While I prepared breakfast a few mornings ago, he was enjoying his pre-breakfast muffins and a cup of milk. He was a bit upset because his tablet battery was low and he wouldn’t have enough battery life to watch a cartoon that he wanted to see. Suddenly, his eyes caught sight of a company’s Christmas toy catalog lying on the table. Immediately he laid the tablet aside and asked what the book was for. I explained how his mommy and uncle used to browse the Sears and JC Penny wish-books for weeks circling their favorite toys in hopes of getting those for Christmas. They were making their choices known. Right away, he asked for a pen to circle his choice of toys, not just for himself, but for his brother, cousins, and friends. Grant it, if the item was given a circle and a check, then that indicated the ranking of interest for that particular item. All the while, he never mentioned being bored, or once stopped to watch his tablet. With excitement, he browsed the pages several times and later declared to his mommy that they too needed a book like Nan’s.
With that being said, for such a time as this, I feel inspired to ask you today, to take time to stop and enjoy what our Heavenly Father has created for us. Simplify your life. Choose wisely how you spend your time. And above all, remember that He gave all so that we could have life and have it everlasting.
I hope that you’ve enjoyed this post. It’s a bit different than many of my other posts, but I am a person of many diverse interests, from crocheting, reading, writing, gardening, thrifting, collecting antiques, baking, creating, singing and so many more things. Above all, I love to tell others about Him. God bless from the mountains of Kentucky. Feel free to follow and comment. May the Lord bless each of you abundantly.
Hello from the mountains of Kentucky! I hope your fall is off to a great start. Things are beginning to slow down on our small farm. All of the garden produce is either, canned, preserved, dried, or frozen. It was a lot of hard work, but very satisfying and rewarding work. We enjoy the produce year round. But my personal favorite is making soups with all the different veggies. When the cool fall winds begin to creep into the mountains, I feel the urge to cook. One of my favorite dishes is homemade vegan vegetable beef-less soup, especially on wet and drizzly day like today.
I grew up eating vegetable beef soup. It was always a winter favorite in our house. Our children grew up eating vegetable soup with grilled cheese. Vegetable soup remains a favorite still today. Just because my vegetable soup is vegan, doesn’t mean it’s not tasty. I think you’ll find my vegetable soup to be savory, filling, and healthy.
Half of a large organic yellow onion
1/4 organic red bell pepper
1/4 organic green or yellow pepper
1 tbs organic extra virgin olive oil
1 can of unsalted diced organic tomatoes
2 cups organic vegan meatless chorizo crumbles (I use Morning Star)
2 cups of meatless beef crumbles (my favorite is Simple Truth crumbles)
2 cups organic frozen sweet peas or 1 can unsalted organic sweet peas
2 cups organic frozen corn or 1 can of unsalted organic corn (I use 3-4 ears of frozen corn from our garden and cut it off the cob)
2 cups of fresh green beans cooked or one can of organic green beans (I use a half quart of beans we preserve from our garden)
2-3 medium sized potatoes
2 cups sliced carrots
1 1/2 cups organic vegetable broth
1 quart tomato juice (I use the tomato juice we can from our garden tomatoes)
I like to use good quality organic seasonings. Add salt, pepper, onion salt, garlic powder, turmeric, and paprika to taste. I usually season each layer of the soup while I’m preparing it.
One tablespoon of organic tomato paste.
In a large cast iron stock pot, heat olive oil over medium low heat. Dice onions and peppers and add to oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and sauté until onions and peppers are tender. Add meatless crumbles and add a small sprinkle of salt and pepper and other spices. Sauté for ten minutes and then add diced tomatoes.
While this is simmering peel and dice potatoes, and slice carrots. Add the potatoes and carrots to a pot of boiling water. Add a drizzle of oil and season the potatoes and carrots with salt and pepper. Cook the potatoes and carrots until they’re semi tender or a tiny bit al dent-e, which will prevent them from overcooking when added to the soup.
While the potatoes and carrots are cooking, begin adding the remaining ingredients one at a time. If you choose to use canned veggies, drain the vegetables and rinse well before adding. If you use frozen, allow them to thaw first. Once the vegetables have all been added, season to taste with remaining seasonings and add salt and pepper if necessary. Allow the vegetables to come up to heat and add tomato juice. Allow the mixture to begin to cook and add vegetable broth. When potatoes are the desired tenderness drain and add to the soup. I like to add a tbs of organic tomato paste at this time and add any additional seasonings. Allow the soup to simmer on low for 30 minutes. Serve with your favorite crackers or organic dairy free grilled cheese! Anyway you serve it, your family will love it!
I hope that you and your family enjoy this savory and delicious soup as much as my family does. Feel free to leave comments or ask questions. I love to hear from my readers. If you are not already following my blog, feel free to follow and receive notifications each time I post. For now, so long from the mountains of Kentucky! God bless each of you!
Hello, from the mountains of Kentucky! I hope you’re having an awesome and blessed day! Things have been quite hectic in our neck of the woods! As a college professor this is one of the busiest times of the year as we are deep into the fall semester. Each year brings growth and change, which are both welcomed, but not always easy. As famers, life has been extremely hectic as we are harvesting, preserving , and canning the remnants of our garden. As a part of a church family, it’s been a busy time of growth, and a sense of urgency to pray more for our country and family than ever before. We’ve also felt the need to preserve and can more than in years past. With that sense of urgency, we’ve actively been growing our pantry, and stocking our shelves with a little more than usual this year.
Making time for self-care, especially when life gets crazy is a must. I have found that taking the time early in the morning hours to sit quietly, reflect, meditate, pray, and journal has proven to be very therapeutic and healthy for my mind and spiritual well-being, which helps to maintain a healthy mind, heart, and soul. I enjoy crocheting, which is also very therapeutic. After prayer, devotion, and Bible study, a few minutes of crocheting is one of my times to reflect and meditate. Mornings are great for me as the house is quiet and the farm outside hasn’t come to life just yet.
Holistic living is healthy and very satisfying way of life. I am often asked how I made the decision to lead a holistic life. I have been an advocate for clean eating for a great number of years, which made the transition somewhat easier. I chose clean eating for my health. My health was declining at a young age. My cholesterol was out of control, my blood pressure was extremely high, I was over weight, and I was border line diabetic. So, the journey began there! I decided that I would take back my health! I chose clean eating as many fad diets just didn’t work. Day by day, week by week, with the help and support of my family, church and friends, changes started happening! One by one I was able to stop taking meds for all of the above health issues, I lost 75, yes 75 pounds! I was finally in control of my diet and my health!
With the wonderful effects that clean eating had on my health, it evolved into my decisions to become a pescatarian, then gradually that evolved to becoming a vegetarian, which both added vitality and a new zeal for life in my thoughts and my body and evolved into an even cleaner diet. I’ve had trouble with digesting diary for years and had gradually made the change to almond milk and plant butter and cheese, which again made the transition easier. For nearly five years now, I’ve enjoyed a vegan/plant based diet, which has lead to an increase in my overall health, and a peace and satisfaction that I am making a difference in my overall well-being.
I am also a herbalist, and enjoyed growing our own herbs for cooking, making teas, and also for minor medial problems for years. I also love sharing them with family and friends. The most recent addition to living a cleaner and healthier life, was the decision to become a doTERRA essential oil consultant. I’ve used essential oils for years, and finally decided that I would become a consultant and purchase from myself rather than online markets. This line is the best that I’ve used thus far and it’s also a nice little supplemental income as well. With a holistic lifestyle come lots of questions. The primary questions I am asked are, why and how.
The first question is the most common question. What inspired you to lead a holistic life? I always answer that question with a question. Why wouldn’t I? Then I begin to explain I chose this lifestyle for my health, my peace of mind, and simply put, for my life. I also add some details about the astounding amount of research revealing the high level of toxins, preservatives, and additives that basically poison the human body and our environment. These toxins are found in food, fast foods, shampoos, soaps, toothpaste, makeup, perfumes. detergents, cleaning products, air fresheners, candles, and even in our pet’s food. I’ll share another story in a different post of how we nearly lost my canine baby due to additives in what was supposed to be healthy doggie treats. That was a real eye-opener!
I always share one of the most informative books that I’ve ever read was, How Not to Die, written by Dr Gregor. There is so much information revealed within the covers of this book that confirmed my reasons for eating clean, and eating cleaner than I had been eating. His research also solidified my thoughts about why I had been food poisoned by fast food on more than one occasion, why we nearly lost our house dog, and why cleaning products and certain air fresheners lead to smothering and irritated sinuses. He exposes much about how these horrific toxins are actually allowed to be in our foods, pet foods, cleaning products, and even in medicines and vitamins that we think are helping us.
Secondly, I’m asked if it was a difficult transition. My answer is no. You don’t have to make the plunge and change everything at once. I made changes over a period time with my diet and I did the same thing with household items, hygiene items, and even my car air fresheners. I didn’t see the need to waste products that I already had on hand, so as I would empty an item, I would replace it with plant based, organic, and a cleaner item. First on the list, I would begin eliminating the toxins from my our home and our vehicles. My first elimination was laundry detergent. To prevent waste, after exhausting the last of my stock, I began using organic plant based detergents that didn’t require fabric softeners. There were some products that I had in my home that I could not convince myself to continue using. Those plug in air fresheners were tossed in the garbage, empty or not!
With the various air fresheners gone, I replaced them with diffusers for essential oils to help clean and purify the air and also bring a wide array of wonderful scents into the house. One by one I replaced our cleaning supplies with either organic plant based cleaning supplies or homemade supplies from natural ingredients. It’s quite amazing how many options are on the market and what’s even more amazing is the number of cleaners you can make using essential oils! I’ll share my bathroom cleaner soon! It cleans great, easy to make, and also prevents those toxic fumes that no one likes.
The next change was hair care products and tooth paste. doTERRA made that change easy for me as well. They have a wonderful plant based shampoo that incorporates essential oils, and a fantastic plant/based conditioner, and leave in conditioner that is excellent! I can’t even explain how wonderful my hair feels after using these products! My hair shines so much more than before and it feels less weighted. I also made the transition from usual tooth paste to a clean toxin free tooth paste from doTERRA. I chose this toothpaste simply because I’m a doTERRA consultant, and after trying it… it works! My teeth are clean and white and after reading the list of ingredients in my old toothpaste, it was an easy transition and one that I am happy I made.
Finally, vitamins was the next item to begin changing. It was easy to switch vitamins with doTERRA. The vegan vitality pack is on my monthly auto order. I love these vitamins as they’re all plant based, no additives, or artificial colors added, and they’re in veggie capsules. Essential oils, homegrown herbs, and homemade teas helps with common cold symptoms, allergies, scrapes and minor abrasions. I could go on forever with the reasons why I chose a holistic lifestyle.
I’m asked if I miss fast foods, soft drinks, and what in the world do I do about coffee. Number one, I don’t miss fast foods. As a matter of fact, the cleaner you eat, the less you even want fast foods. My husband and I now prefer food prepared at home ten to one over restaurant foods. I gave soft drinks up over twenty years ago for my own personal health and have never looked back. I’ll be honest, coffee change took a while. It took a little while and a lot of different coffees to find a good organic coffee that I truly enjoyed, but have finally found one that is very satisfying. I have also replaced much of the coffee that I drank during the day and evenings with organic and my homemade teas.
Finally, I’m asked if I feel better physically since making so many changes. Simply omitting meats and dairy from my diet was a game changer with my cholesterol and inflammation. Omitting artificial colors, scents, and toxic preservatives really made a positive impact on my allergies. Plant based vitamins, a good clean diet, and the removal of toxic smells in our home has made a positive impact on my overall health, stamina, and lead to a much more simple life that makes me happy knowing I am doing something to improve my quality of life, my families, and decreasing the chances of disease in our bodies.
If you’re interested in holistic living, start slow. Remove one thing at a time. Don’t try to do it all at one time! You’ll become overwhelmed, which might result in giving up. Make one change and allow that change to become a routine. Once you feel grounded and content with that change, make a second change. As you empty or exhaust a supply of one particular item, replace it with a cleaner wholesome item. Read the labels, do the research, do a little soul searching, meditate, pray, and take holistic living one day and one change at a time.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this post. Feel free to leave comments. I enjoy reading comments and answering questions. For now, God bless from the mountains of Kentucky! Happy Fall!!!
Good afternoon, from the mountains of Kentucky! I hope your Labor Day weekend is already off to a great start! It was a quiet morning in the mountains in our neck of the woods this morning. A big music festival has been going on in our small downtown area for the past three or four days. But, for myself, I would rather be in the peace and quiet of our small farm. This morning as the fog lifted and the dew glistened and clung like diamonds on the green leaves, I enjoyed the mountain air with a hot cup of coffee. As a result of the scattered showers last night, damp leaves lay scattered over the still damp ground. A feeling of fall was surely in the air. With thoughts of the inevitable season swiftly approaching, I felt an unction to walk through the herb garden that would all too soon be gone.
With the sounds of the hummingbirds feeding and crickets still chirping, a peaceful feeling filled my being. The smell of the herbs filled the air as I brushed past the holy basil, rosemary, lavender, and my favorite Italian basil. The mint caught my attention. It was still thriving as a result of quenching their thirst with organic mint teabags this year. There was such a harmonious feeling being in the midst of the bright and fresh herbs that would soon hang in my kitchen to dry. I felt an anxious feeling for the aroma that the herbs omit while they’re drying. Our entire kitchen would be filled with scents of lavender, basil, and mint. Yet, another indication that fall is near.
My thoughts lingered in many places this morning as I enjoyed the surroundings that I so love. Lingering thoughts of our cemetery service yesterday where we gathered to have church on the graveyard. This is an old tradition that still lingers in the Appalachian mountains. It’s a time to pay respect to our loved ones, worship together in song, preaching of the word, and prayer. It’s also a time when the world outside with all the doom and gloom seems to stop… and family gathers together to remember and celebrate the lives of our family who have gone before us.
The songs that were sung on the cemetery still felt alive in my mind. While sitting quietly among the herbs, one of my favorite morning fragrances enticed my senses. The earth was alive this morning! The aroma of the rich soil was thick in the air. The smell of the soil after a rain instantly transported me back to my childhood. Rising early to the sounds of our mother singing. I would eagerly follow the sound of her soft voice. Many mornings I found her sitting on the back porch drinking coffee, enjoying the mountain morning air, and other times she would be shucking corn or stringing beans she had picked earlier that morning while my brother, sister, and I slept. The aroma of strong black coffee filled the kitchen and the cool morning air. The scent of damp soil enticed me to run barefoot between the rows of corn, but the freshness of the garden vegetables sustained me. I loved stringing beans, or chopping corn, even as a young child.
After a slow and thoughtful walk through the aromatic herbs, reality called my name. It was time to go inside and enjoy a little time with my latest adventures in writing. I’m excited to share more news and details as the project approaches completion. Also, upcoming posts include canning crushed tomatoes, preserving like a pro, vegan zucchini bread, and an update on our fall adventures in the mountains. For now, may the Lord bless you each with a wonderful and restful Labor Day. Feel free to leave a comment. I love hearing from my readers. God bless from the mountains of Kentucky!
Good evening, from the Mountains of Kentucky. I hope wherever you are this post finds you blessed and well. It’s been a bit of a strange summer in our part of the world. We’ve encountered extremely dry weather that resulted in hand watering our garden, to extremely wet weather that is resulting in our picking buckets of tomatoes as they start to ripen to prevent them rotting on the vines. We’ve been laying our tomatoes in the sun and allowing the sun to finish ripening. We’ve juiced the majority of the tomatoes and will begin canning whole tomatoes next. With the diverse extreme weather our grape tomatoes have flourished! The weather don’t seem to have affected them. We’ve enjoyed them with salads, sides, and more. We’ve had so many of them that I’ve already started freezing them to use in stir fries, sautéed dishes, and for one of my favorites, sautéed basil tomatoes!
Our cucumbers are still coming and we’re still picking them! We’ve blessed others to have cucumbers to make pickles, relish, and also to enjoy eating. We’ve canned spicy kosher, pickle relish, and enjoyed them as sides with all meals… and they’re still producing.
So the question became… what can we do with those lingering cucumbers? It suddenly came to me. Garlic pickles, I would can garlic pickles! You’ve probably ate those delicious big crunchy garlic pickles that you can pickup at gas stations, convenient marts, and several other businesses at some time in your life. If not, you’ve missed a real treat. We usually pick one up when we visit our local Tractor Supply. It’s enjoyed to its entirety on the trip home. So, with the thoughts of those delicious pickles… I decided to try my hand at making them myself. And, it turned out quite well! I’ve already consumed nearly a quart of them by myself! So, for you pickle lovers… here you go!!!
Approximately three pounds of cucumbers
3 cups white vinegar
3 cups water
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/4 cup white sugar
8-12 cloves fresh garlic
5 tbs dried dill seeds
7 tsp minced garlic
5 tbs whole black peppercorns
7 sprigs fresh dill
7 tbs Pickle crisp
Sterilize seven quart jars, rings, and flats and set aside on a clean folded towel. Wash, scrub, and dry cucumbers. Trim the ends of the cucumbers and set aside. (We add these to our chicken’s feed) They appreciate it! Happy chickens lay more eggs! Cut clean cucumbers into spears. You can change the cutting to the type of cut you prefer.
In a stockpot, I prefer to use an enamel coated cast iron stock pot, add vinegar, water, salt, dill seeds, and peppercorns. Bring to a boil slowly. While brine is coming up to a boil, divide garlic cloves, sprigs of dill, and minced garlic to clean jars. Add sliced cucumbers to jars. I usually lay the jars on their side with dish cloth folded beneath the ring to create a bit of slant. This prevents all of the garlic from being one-sided and prevents spills. I then carefully stack the cucumbers in jars until tight. Remember, there will be shrinkage as the pickles process. Now add a full tablespoon of pickle crisp to each jar.
After the brine comes to a rolling boil, remove from heat and ladle the brine over the cucumbers leaving at least a half inch space for headspace. Make sure all cucumbers are covered. Run a butter knife or spoon handle around the jar to remove any air pockets. Wipe the rims with a paper towel that has a bit of vinegar on it and add the flats and rings.
Add warm water to the water bath canner until about half full. Turn the stove on medium high heat, and add the filled jars to the canner. Finish filling the canner until the water is at least an inch over the jars. When the water in the canner comes to a rolling boil, set a timer for ten minutes and allow the pickles to process for the full ten minutes. When the time has exhausted, turn the stove off and allow jars to sit for about five minutes until the water simmers down. Using the jar lifters, remove the jars from the canner and set aside on a folded bath towel or wooden cutting board. Soon you should hear the ping from each jar letting you know the jars are sealed.
I hope you and your family enjoy these delicious crispy garlic pickles as much as we do. I have a feeling they’re going to quickly become a family favorite. Please feel free follow and leave feedback. I love to hear from my readers. I enjoy answering questions and reading comments. For now, may the Lord bless each of you. I’m off to can more tomato juice today! God bless from the mountains of Kentucky.
Good morning, from the mountains of Kentucky. I hope your Saturday is off to a wonderful start! It’s been a busy day already for our household. Early morning prayer and meditation with our Heavenly Father, devotion, and studying His word and enjoying fresh perked coffee. God is so good. I love seeing His fingerprints on the small things in our lives as well as the big things. We are truly a blessed people. As you can see from the picture above, it’ll be bean picking time this week!
I was amazed to see so much new growth in the mint garden this morning. I created a weak mint tea from teabags yesterday and generously watered both the peppermint and spearmint. Wow! This morning both mints were strutting and showing off lots of new leafs that were healthy and shiny. Don’t throw away those used teabags or tea that might be out of date. Create your own fertilizer that is a rich organic treat for your herbs. I’ll try to make a post later about the uses of tea in the garden. Now, let me share our favorite relish recipe with you!
So, for this delicious pickle relish you’ll work in two a two complete this relish in a two day setting. You’ll need the following ingredients for day one;
Two or three gallons of fresh cucumbers washed and dried.
One medium yellow/sweet onion.
One small red bell pepper washed and dried.
One tablespoon of salt.
Process for day one; dice cucumbers, yellow onion, and bell pepper into very small diced pieces. Put in a bowl that has a lid. Sprinkle the tablespoon of salt over the veggies and gently toss. Put in the fridge over night.
Wash and sterilize pint jars, rings, and flats. Allow them to drain and dry on a clean towel. If you use the dishwasher to sterilize you can bypass this step. Next, remove the veggies from the fridge. Line a colander with either cheesecloth or sturdy white paper towels. Put the colander in the sink bowl and pour the veggies into the lined colander and drain well. You may use additional paper towels to blot and gently squeeze the veggies to help remove the excess liquid. Allow veggies to sit and drain while you make the brine.
For the brine you will need the following ingredients;
Three cups of distilled white vinegar
One cup of water
1/4 cup kosher salt
1/4 cup white sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons diced garlic
1 1/2 tablespoons of mustard seeds
1 1/2 tablespoons of course black pepper
One tablespoon turmeric
A couple sprigs of fresh deal
One teaspoon of dried dill weed
Combine the ingredients above other than the fresh dill along with the diced veggies in a large pot. Bring slowly to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer on low for ten minutes. Put a little fresh dill in the bottom of each jar and then add the relish mixture to clean jars. A funnel makes this process easier and less messy. Wipe the rims of the jars and add the flats and rings. Place jars in water bath canner with the water covering the lids. Bring the water to a hard boil, and set timer for 10 minutes. Turn the stove off when ten minutes has passed, and remove jars with a jar lifter. Set them aside on a folded towel or cutting board and listen for that wonderful pinging sound to assure you that your jars have sealed. Once the flats have cooled, write the date on them with a permanent marker.
I hope your family enjoys this relish as much as we do. We add it to chili dogs, hot dogs, and hamburgers. My husband loves it on beef burgers and I love it on plant based burgers! Using organic ingredients creates an even tastier and healthy choice for dishes. You may also add a jalapeño in the diced veggies to create an extra spicy relish. Both are a great addition to your summer dishes! This relish is also quite tasty in potato salad or egg salad. Experiment and feel free to let me know you how used this recipe.
Feel free to leave comments or ask questions. I love to hear from my readers. God bless from the mountains of Kentucky.
Good evening, from the mountains of Kentucky! It’s hard to believe that we are nearing the end of July. It seems we were just welcoming spring in only a few weeks ago. Summer time is a time of lots of work, fun, and more work, but one of my favorite seasons of the year. I love to plant seeds, water them and watch them grow. I love to work in our flowers, herbs, and vegetable garden. I love the smell of fresh plowed dirt as much as any summer smell I can think of. The aroma of the fresh earth takes me home to a much more simple time growing up in the mountains. I loved the garden even as a child. I loved to walk through the garden barefoot. I have a confession, I’m guilty of this at times right now. Enough reminiscing, as I promised, I am exited to share my Savory Indian Relish recipe with you. This is one recipe that I plan can each year! It is awesome, and it is relatively easy to make.
Let’s get started! You’ll need the following ingredients;
Two large zucchini
one large yellow onion
One large red bell pepper
One green or orange bell pepper
One medium size yellow summer squash
Two tablespoons salt
Two jalapeño peppers
Two cloves whole garlic
One tablespoon course black pepper
One tablespoon red pepper flakes
One tablespoon ground turmeric
One teaspoon cayenne pepper
One pinch nutmeg
Two teaspoons of mustard seeds
One cup of white sugar
Three cups white vinegar
Two cups of water
You’ll need a large bowl that has an air tight lid. Wash and dry zucchini. There’s no need to peel the zucchini or squash. After drying them dice them into small pieces. You can remove the seedy part of the zucchini if it’s a real big zucchini. Dice the onion, peppers, and squash into the bowl with the zucchini. I removed the seedy part of the squash and used primarily the meaty parts near the peel. Mix gently with hands and then sprinkle the salt over the diced veggies and toss gently again. Cover the bowl and put the veggies in the fridge over night. This will allow the moisture to come out of the veggies.
Wash and sterilize your jars, rings and flats. The dishwasher will sterilize them or boil them in the canner. Remove them with your tongs to prevent contamination. Next, take the bowl of veggies out of the fridge and using a colander rinse the veggies well two times and thoroughly drain. Dice garlic and jalapeño peppers into the veggies and toss. Be sure to wash your hands after slicing the jalapeño peppers. Avoid adding the seeds of the peppers as this might make the relish hotter than desired. In a large stock pot bring the water, vinegar, diced veggies, and remaining spices to a rolling boil. Reduce heat and simmer for ten minutes.
While the brine and veggies are simmering, set up your work area with the jars, flats, rings and a ladle. After ten minutes of simmering ladle the veggie and brine mix into the sterilized jars. Run a knife around the mix on the inside of the jar to remove any air bubbles. Be sure to leave at least a half inch of space for headspace. This will allow the jars to seal appropriately. Wipe the rims of the jars and place the flat and ring on the jars. There’s no need to tighten the lid really tight. A snug fit will be fine.
Place the jars of relish in the canner of warm water making sure the jars are covered with water. Allow the water to come up to a boil slowly. When the boil is rolling, set the timer for 25 minutes. When the time exhausts, turn the burner off and allow the water to reduce to a simmer on its on. After 15 minutes using your jar lifter, carefully remove the jars of relish and place them on a wooden cutting board or on a folded towel on the sink or table. Soon, you’ll hear that lovely sound of the jars sealing one by one. Once the jars have sealed, and cooled, you may choose to remove the rings for future use. Some people remove the rings and others leave the rings on jars, either way is fine. It’s the flat that seals the jars and once the flat is sealed, the ring really doesn’t serve a purpose. This is a great tip from the days of the depression when canning rings were hard to come by. It’s a great money saver.
Don’t forget to write the date on the lids. You’ll appreciate this date in the future when trying to determine which jar of deliciousness you should select for a tasty side for supper. I always like to use the jars with the oldest dates first. Most flats have a seal date of 18-24 months. Most will stay sealed longer though. I’ve opened jars that were six, seven, or eight years old that were perfectly fine.
I hope you enjoy this zesty and tangy relish. It is family favorite around our house. It’s great with soup beans, chili, tacos and many other dishes. Feel free to leave feedback. I love to hear from my readers. God bless from the mountains of Kentucky!