About admin

I am a wife and mother of 3 lovely young ladies, and I seem to have suddenly turned 50+ (how did that happen?). I have been a substance abuse counselor for several years. My most enjoyment and best part of life is living on a small farm, noticing how nature acts, and relishing what splendor is right at my fingertips. I have began a quest to utilize all that God gave to improve any and all aspects of living in hopes that I can help someone in some way.

homemade prickly pear fruit margarita

If you live in the Southwest, or have the opportunity to visit, get out and about this time of year (late September, early October) when the Prickly Pear cactus fruit are ripe.  I had the pleasure of being in Albuquerque recently and found these in the foothills at the base of the Sandia Mountains.

This is what the prickly pear cactus plant with ripe fruit looks like in the wild

It is VERY IMPORTANT to use gloves when picking, the fruit has tiny, hairlike needles that can hardly be seen, but they sure are felt! These require tweezers and magnifiers to remove from the skin.  Look for the darkest of the fruit, a deep purple for ripeness.  We took them home and, still using gloves, peeled them.

cut out the core end

carefully remove the skin, it feels rough, sort of like peeling an avacado

REMEMBER – USE GLOVES!!! The fruit should be soft, so don’t squeeze too hard in order not to lose juice while cutting out the hard, core end.

 

 

 

While peeling, hold the fruit gently, removing the skin using your personal technique for peeling apples or similar.

Next, slice the fruit or you can quarter it, depending on the size. There are seeds inside that should be removed because they are hard, and have a tendency to stick in teeth. (They are edible, no real taste and not easy to chew).  Try different methods of seed removal that work best for you. We ended up using a pickle spear/fork.

The seeds are the granules you can make out that have a clear texture

Now the fun begins! Take about a cup of the fruit pulp (we used about 6 large fruit), put it in the blender and add 10 ounces of margarita mix (or your own margarita recipe).  This will taste wonderful with or without alcohol!!

Delicious, healthy AND gorgeous

The taste is mild, not sweet. Sort of hard to describe. The texture is similar to mango fruit.  I plan to look into what all vitamins are in these, but it is my understanding that the Native Americans could go for days eating these and nothing else. We put our extra fruit in the freezer and when we thaw it out and try it, I’ll let you know how it turns out.

November 10, 2012. Defrosted the prickly pear fruit and made another batch of margaritas. It separates sort of like tomatoes when frozen. The pulp lost it’s taste because the juice separated, and was somewhat watered down. Still, the margaritas were tasty! And the color was even deeper.

Frugally Sustainable- get info about anything DIY

Tomato Pie, anyone?

This recipe is so simple, easy, and delicious– ANYONE can make it!

a slice of Tomato Pie

I was feeling the need to get out of the same-o dishes, use some of the last of our garden harvest, and found out there is such a thing as tomato pie.  So I decided to try it, and wow, was it a big hit with the family! (even my husband, who is opinionated).

The first attempt, I used the recipe from Simply Recipes, but left out the tobasco. Luckily, I had some fresh Basil in my herb garden. I you want fresh, certified organic herbs, try Mountain Rose (click link on right).

  • 1 9-inch pie shell (see pie crust recipe for homemade version)
  • 1/2 yellow or red onion, chopped
  • 3-4 tomatoes, cut in half horizontally, squeezed to remove excess juice, roughly chopped, to yield approximately 3 cups chopped tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup sliced basil (about 8 leaves)*
  • 2 cups grated cheese (combination of sharp cheddar and Monterey Jack, or Gruyere or Mozarella)
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon (or more to taste) of Frank’s Hot Sauce (or Tabasco)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

*To slice basil, chiffonade them by stacking the leaves on top of each other, roll them up like a cigar, starting at one end slice the “cigar” crosswise in thin slices.

Method

1 Preheat oven to 350°F. Place pie shell in oven and cook for 8-10 minutes or longer until lightly golden.  If you are starting with a frozen crust, you’ll need to cook it a little longer.  If you are using a homemade crust, freeze the crust first, then line the crust with aluminum foil and pre-bake it for 20 minutes, then remove the foil and bake an additional 10 minutes.

2 Squeeze as much moisture as you can out of the chopped tomatoes, using either paper towels, a clean dish towel, or a potato ricer.

3 Sprinkle the bottom of the pre-cooked pie shell with chopped onion.  Spread the chopped tomatoes over the onions.  Sprinkle the sliced basil over the tomatoes.

4 In a medium bowl, mix together the grated cheese, mayonnaise, Tabasco, a sprinkling of salt and freshly ground black pepper.  The mixture should be the consistency of a gooey snow ball.  Spread the cheese mixture over the tomatoes.

5 Place in oven and bake until browned and bubbly, anywhere from 25 to 45 minutes.

The second attempt, I didn’t bother to squeeze the moisture from the tomatoes, and the only difference I could tell, was that it seems to have more flavor. Some people just don’t have a taste for the mayonaise flavor, so, I decided to try cream cheese in order to eliminate the ‘twang’ flavor from mayonaise that some people, (like hubby) just don’t prefer.  I used 1/2 cup cream cheese and sour cream instead of the mayo, and it was; according to the hubby “a definite improvement”.  The cream cheese made it distinctly richer, so smaller portions were in order. For a healthy, tasty side dish (or entree), I highly recommend you try this!!  Low fat mayonaise, low fat cream cheese, could all be used for less calories, but not take away from taste. Gluten-free flour can easily be substituted in the crust.

 I got to use some of my fresh, home grown tomatoes and basil, and now have a family-approved quick, easy, simple side dish.  🙂

 

 

 

 

“Perpetual Pessimists Need Not Apply”

This ad appeared in a newspaper employment classifieds. It is a perfect reminder of how easy it is to see what’s wrong with anything, anywhere we look. These times are difficult.  The economy is making us face a need to be self-sufficient.  Employers face these same challenges and can easily become discouraged when seeking employees who are willing to meet the goals of the business, only to spend time and energy filtering through the ‘perpetual pessimists’ who expect something for nothing. That’s my perception of what this ad means.  What, exactly, does pessismist mean? According to Merriam/Webster:

1: an inclination to emphasize adverse aspects, conditions, and possibilities or to expect the worst possible outcome

2: the doctrine that reality is essentially evil b : the doctrine that evil overbalances happiness in life
pes·si·mist noun
It is an implied topic throughout the Bible also.

JAMES 3:16 TEV  Where there is jealousy and selfishness, there is also disorder and every kind of evil.  When we look around, where is there NOT jealousy and selfishness? That is what the pessimist tunes into. The trick is to turn it around: “Making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:16).

That’s why it is important to make an extra effort to seek the good. Dont’ give up.

“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”
-Leo Tolstoy

I would never dream of going to a potential employer, filling out an application, making an interview appointment, arriving at the appointment (already put forth effort), only to loudly speak through my attitude in some way that I’m thinking “they won’t hire me, anyway” or that I’m too good for the job, or that I’m worth more than they offer. If that’s what I’m thinking, it will show in my demeanor.

Perpetual Pessimism is a state of mind, but it represents self destruction. I interpret this photo representing the act of chopping away at our own foundation.

You can choose to be a pessimist or just refuse to be negative.  That’s what  the quote in this blog title by George Bernard Shaw means to me. For inspiration and advice so that the difficult times we face don’t become overwhelming, I recommend Gretchen Rubin’s book “Happiness Project” and you can follow her on Twitter or Facebook.  Also, author Larry Winget (he calls himself the “Pitbull of Personal Development”).  You can find these and many, many good books at BetterWorldBooks. Look for encouragement, and you can find it!!

freezer tomatoes

The height of the garden season is coming to an end. So, what can you do with those last tomatoes? Even through the summer drought, it seemed that tomatoes came on in bulk, so I got sauce canned, salsa made and plenty to go in salads. I found out about freezing them years ago, so each year, I put some away in the freezer.  This is SO EASY Here’s how:

1. Select tomatoes without many blemishes, and cut out the core.  DO NOT PEEL

2. Just put in a freezer zip lock bag, place in freezer and WahLah!!

When you are ready to serve, after they thaw partially, the peel comes right off. They are soft just like canned, but fresh and ready to add to chili, pasta, stew, whatever your taste desires.    SO EASY!!!

poison ivy natural remedy tips

Did you know that all you need is”Jewel Weed” which grows right next to the poison ivy.  Pick off a leaf and rub the sap onto the area that touched the poison ivy. You can apply it later, also when the welts appear.I found fantastic information from frugally sustainable about the many ways to treat poison ivy.  As easy and simple as Apple Cider Vinegar, a banana peel or a blended up raw potato applied as a poultice.  There is a post by Andrea on Frugally Sustainable that gives many ideas to try. Such as: Drying paste. In the palm of your hand, make a paste with a tablespoon of bentonite clay, essential oils(10 drops total of either lavender, tea tree, chamomile, or geranium), and just enough water to moisten into a paste. Apply to rash and allow to dry before rinsing off. Use as often as needed. Also: Herbal compress. Make a strong tea using either burdock root, plantain, comfrey, or jewelweed — or any combination of these herbs. Apply to the skin by soaking a clean cloth in the tea and then placing the cloth on the affected areas. Let it dry and re-apply as often as needed. It should relieve the itching immediately.  Witch hazel: Spraying the affected area with witch hazel will help to ease the itch and dry the blisters.

If you want to have on hand herbs like these, or any fresh, organic herbs or teas, you will be sure and find them at Mountain Rose Herbs.

Get a good picture of what poison ivy looks like, so you can easily identify it, if you come across it.

Get out there and enjoy the outdoors!!! Don’t let a little plant ruin it.

 

 

 

 

Surprisingly easy homemade Shea Moisterizer

So, I surprised myself when I discovered how fast and easy it was to make my own shea butter moisterizer.  I love the natural ingredients products that are available out there from spas, but since I can’t afford them, I decided to save money.  Getting started was even easier than making the cream. First, I ordered the ‘unrefined Shea Butter’ and ‘almond oil’ from Mountain Rose Herbs.   They have fantastic quality and selection of just about any organic herb, butter, oil, anything that nature provides, with reasonable prices and quick shipping.  I chose Almond Oil because even though I have normal skin, my forehead tends to get oily, and Almond oil absorbs real well. I even got the recipe from them.  Shea is the ‘butter’ from the nuts of “Karite” tree, ground by hand as the livllihood for women in Africa. It has fantastic, nourishing qualities, as well as edible! I have to mention that, because my daughter, the esthetician jokes in a serious manner, that if you won’t put it in your mouth, why would you put it on your skin? You can find out tons of information on Shea, natural ingredients, and many, many health tips at: Care2 Make a Difference.

Next, Measure out: 2 ounces of unrefined Shea Butter and 3/4 ounce of oil.  I put them in a pyrex measuring cup in a hot water bath to melt. (This took like 2 minutes).  Then add a capsule of vitamin E, 4 to 5 drops of essential oil of your choice and whip it until it starts to set.

If it has a grainy texture when it cools, NO WORRIES, just re-heat it and whip it again. I have been using it on my legs after shaving, and I gotta say that it does wonders!!!  Mountain Rose Herbs also has several types of containers that you could put this in to impress and share with your friends as gifts. Give this a try!!!

I have been using this during the extended heat wave, temperatures over 100 and have NOT gotten sunburnt!!!  It’s true!!!

www.frugallysustainable.com  get information on anything homemade, money saving tips, just about anything you can imagine!

 


 

Recovery Tip for addicts about spring fever

What, exactly, is spring fever? That’s kind of an age old question. Poets and songwriters write about it, people talk about getting it every year. The fever part means ‘ a rise in temperature’.  That goes along with the change of season, it means that now the dreariness of winter wears off, the gray skies and constant cold turn to blue with warm sunshine. It doesn’t sound like a sickness to me.

Some medical studies indicate there might be a link to the longer days that provide vitamin D with more exposure to the sun, which increase endorphins. (These make a person feel good) So is spring fever a bad thing? If you look the definition up, it refers to a “lazy restlessness”.  I don’t know about you, but these words seem to me to conflict. Perhaps the lazy refers to a desire to lay out and soak some sun and the restlessness means there’s been a change in energy.

There’s that word, “change” again. For addicts, it’s uncomfortable, scary, but in reality, it is inevitable.  When God created the earth, he created seasons that change with time. We know it, we can count on it. Spring represents renewal, new growth. So, what does this have to do with recovery? The ‘conflict’ in feelings we experience with seasonal changes, is dangerous in regards to relapse.  When you made the decision to be clean, you decided to change, to begin a journey of renewal- physically, emotionally and spiritually.  It’s that restlessness, a desire for something different (new) that you should focus on.

Mark Twain talked about spring fever through Huckleberry Finn who said; “It’s spring fever. And when you’ve got it, you– oh, you don’t quite know what it is you want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!”

You can see the renewing change of spring in the bright, green of budding leaves, grass turning green, beautiful colors of blossoms and budding flowers. Oh, and the pollen… which means hayfever/allergies. What to do when THAT strikes? Well, I have a couple suggestions; first, Neti pot (but please, follow the directions for saline solution, NEVER use strait tap water). The tiny molecules of pollen need to be flushed out of the nasal passages, or they irritate, build up and cause allergy symptoms. Second, try natural ingredient remedies. Do whatever you can to avoid taking drugs-even over-the-counter ones.

Now that the dreariness of winter is over, it doesn’t seem like as much sleep is needed, the extra layers of clothes can be shed, kick off the shoes and go barefoot (or at least slip on some flip-flops), the days are longer and the sun feels oh-so-good. It isn’t that hard to find what is positive about the change in seasons, but it is necessary to keep looking for the positive in every change.  If you want more information on recovery, self-help, addiction or just about anything, go to Better World books, they have a fantastic selection, very reasonable prices, fast shipping, and even buy back books.

Look around at all the beauty in the spring changes, fever or not, embrace the renewing!

 

 

Tip for Recovering Addicts- Emotional Health

Does life ever get you down? Yeah, it can, plus trying to stay in recovery is hard enough. So, what do you do to get ‘over the humps’?

Pay attention to the areas where balanced strength are important:

1. Physical Health           2. Emotional Health                 3. Relationships     4. Job Satisfaction        5. Help Your Community

In this post, we will provide suggestions for emotional health. Your spiritual strength leads the way whenever you feel weak in some area of life. Pray, knowing that God is ALWAYS there for you.

Identify what- exactly- you are feeling. Ask yourself questions to help you figure out the truth of your emotions.  Honestly consider if your perceptions are accurate.  For example, if you are struggling within any of your relationships, do you really understand the other person, or are you assuming you know?  Are you trying to please him/her and your efforts are unnoticed?  Our emotional well-being relies heavily on our interactions and true communications with others.  If you are feeling self pity, shame, guilt, or apathetic, dig deep within and figure out the real source, then honestly consider what would help to remedy that?

If you are reading this because you feel overwhelmed with life in general, please contact someone who can help; professional services are available.

Find this at Better World Books

If you have doubts about your ability to STAY in recovery, reach out to someone in your support circle.  You will have doubts, moments of weakness, but there is always help.  Face your doubt head-on. What is the worst case scenario? Can you live with it?  YES! Sometimes the worst case scenario is that we might have to bite off some humble pie. That is actually, healthy, believe it or not, so that we don’t get too cocky.  A daily inspirational or motivation book might be helpful.  You can find countless helpful books for very reasonable prices with free shipping at Better World Books.

Or maybe you think you should care more about something that you do, acknowledge what it is, how important it is and if it’s important to someone that is important to you, ‘act as if’ you care.  Remember that from treatment? Acting as if you are the good person you used to be before you changed with addiction is the best way to re connect with that person. It won’t hurt to listen, ask questions and give some of your time and attention to someone else. Remember, somebody did that for you!

This blog can’t even begin to address all problems we face, only YOU can.  If you are reading this because you are so overwhelmed that in spite of everything you know, you still want to use, call your sponsor, another person in recovery, or a hotline. But don’t wait!

Tip for Recovering Addicts- Help Your Community

Do you want your life to be better? Then focus on what you can
do to make life better for others. This post is for motivating social responsibility.

In your recovery journey, have you experienced that sense of being a part of something bigger than yourself? Wonderful, that means you are moving forward in the right direction. Being a part of your community is more than being with your family, it extends way beyond your front porch. But that is a starting point, because, really, what IS your community?

Yes, it’s family, which extends to other family and their involvement. For example, your children’s school has activities you can be part of, their friend’s have parents you can get to know, their teachers and coaches. Do you know your neighbors?       PHILIPPIANS 2:4 NLT 4 Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.       This means everyone you have regular contact with, co-workers, anyone you do business with, people who live in your neighborhood, and of course, family.

Speaking of family, there might be some family members that are struggling in life, maybe even with addiction of their own. How can you help? (I have to point out here as a reminder, that you can’t save them, but you are called upon to help).

By becoming a responsible member of your community, you can find so many ways to give of your talents, time and friendship. People everywhere are struggling with something, and unfortunately, resort to using in order to cope. I have heard so many testimonials from clients who have had loved ones die from overdose and that is so heartbreaking!  You never know, your experience can reach someone before it’s too late.

None of us want our children to end up addicts. There should be contacts, networks, links from your own support circle that can point you in areas where help is needed. Here are just a very few starters:
MAMA- Mothers Against Meth Assoc. www.mamasite.net                        www.notevenonce.com or www.not-even-once.com          These are organizations to help empower parents so that their children do not end up on drugs or dead.  They welcome testimonies from recovering addicts and support. Here’s an idea (even if you don’t live in Oregon, I bet there is something similar in your city.)

Your local church will have many activities/missions/outreach projects that you could become involved with, also. Pray for those in their addiction, their families and the organizations who exist to help others in need. When you begin to help others, it is amazing how your own
problems seem to shrink.

None of us can help everyone. But all of us can help the one in front of us. Even if it is just giving a smile, a word of encouragement, or a helping hand.

Do you want your life to be better? Then focus on what you can
do to make life better for others.

 

Tip for Recovering Addicts- Job Satisfaction

Even if you love what you do, chances are there are days you hate your job, or vice versa. Do you feel satisfaction in your job duties? The time, energy and effort you put into your job is a big investment towards your overall well-being.  Your job defines the kind of person you are, affects the people in your life, and can give or take away motivation to continue in recovery.  How you feel about your job should be aligned with the other 4 areas of Tips for recovering addicts- #1- Physical Health, #2- Emotional Health, #3- Relationships, #5- Social/Community

First, consider how you feel each day about going to work:  Do you dread it? Now, think about this further, is it the work you do that you dread, the people you work with, or just getting up early in the morning to get there?  If you truly enjoy your work, chances are, your employer appreciates that. Do you appreciate the place you work?  I was at a masters graduation ceremony recently, and the president of the university said in her speech that the most important thing for career success is to appreciate where you work.

You can find this and thousands of other books at Better World Books

Let’s consider some other factors that can make or break your job: Is your boss too demanding? Are there unrealistic expectations of your duties? (Be careful, here, because many times the expectations ARE realistic, but we prefer to think it’s too much because in reality, we just don’t like it.) Do you feel other co-workers might be skeptical of your abilities because you are a recovering addict? What is the main purpose of your job? Make a concentrated effort to meet the purpose. You can do this when you understand the mission of the business, and have appreciations for that.

Pay too little? The Bible says; “where your treasure is, there will your heart be also”.  God will provide, believe it, and you will be able to live within your means.  Have you compared what you make to similar positions elsewhere? Are you meeting the job duty expectations? Do you have a consistent, positive attitude?  If you answer yes to these questions, maybe you would be happier somewhere else if at the end of each day, you are unsatisfied.  That brings up a whole other issue- where, what, how to get another job?

Know your talents, what you are good at. Then start searching for other places, fields of interest within your circumstances and your means.  Maybe you have physical disabilities or don’t want to work with people face to face. If you are needing training, or are currently in the job hunting market, there is a wealth of services out there. Just google it! I found this, for example, it looks kind of exciting: follow your passion by blogging