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Grain Silos and Wind Turbines are both common sights in eastern Washington. Loco Steve. Horse Heaven & Shepherds Flat. Used under Creative Commons License From Flickr.

If you live in farm country, you’ve probably seen cement or metal grain silos dotting the landscape. But did you ever think about how all that grain storage actually works? Read the rest of this entry »

IMG_20181221_151229290watermarkI love following food/health trends. I get a huge kick out of how things come into vogue, and then fall out of vogue. I’ve enjoyed the whole coconut oil and kale trend of the last 5 years (or maybe its been 10. Seems like forever.) I even sometimes poke fun at the million and one things you can do with coconut oil, including remineralize your teeth (um, yeah, not getting on that band wagon, but if it works for you, more power to you).

One of the latest trends is all things turmeric. You can google this spice and read all about its amazing abilities, some of which are actually backed up by real science (anti-inflammatory,  Alzheimer reduction). Used in Indian cuisine, and as part of the ancient practice of Ayurvedic Medicine, its a fairly uncommon spice in the American kitchen, except as part of that 17 year old bottle of curry powder in the back of your cupboard.

But because of its rising popularity, this cousin to ginger is often now available fresh at your local grocery store. Evidently the whole “golden milk latte” trend was started by Gwyneth Paltro on her website Goop (which was almost enough to make me never try it – because Goop is what you get when you have way too much money and way not enough science between your ears).

But I kept seeing the fresh turmeric roots at the grocery store. And with the increasing aches and pains of age and its reputation for being anti-inflammatory, I finally decided to give golden milk a try. My biggest worry, soon put to rest, was that it would taste like liquid curry. It does not.

Recipes vary. A lot. But the three things most have in common are turmeric (fresh or powdered), ginger (fresh or powdered) and black pepper. You’ll often see cinnamon, cardamon, star anise and clove included. I based my recipe off of one from Epicurious. Because yes, even they have gotten on the band wagon. And of course, coconut milk. Because for the love of all things holy, we need more coconut milk. Wink.

You can just throw all of these powdered spices into a hot milk of your choice (cow, nut or otherwise), stir and drink. In fact, you can buy premade mixes that do the combining for you. But the spices don’t tend to stay suspended in the milk, and like hot cocoa, if you don’t keep swirling your mug between sips,  you have a really gritty mouthful at the end. Other recipes have you simmer the whole spices in milk. But who has time to do that on a daily basis? And the milk tends to separate during the long simmering.

So I take the same approach I do with my chai concentrate, and make a turmeric/spice concentrate with water, strain and store in the refrigerator, and then mix it half and half with my milk of choice when I want a mug. The concentrate will store in the fridge for at least 3 or 4 days.

Miles Away Farm Golden Milk Concentrate

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

An anti-inflammatory turmeric tea worth sipping.

  • 2 small fresh turmeric roots, skin on, sliced thin (it has a lovely spicy earthy grassy smell)
  • 2 inches of fresh ginger root, skin on, sliced thin
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1/2 tsp whole peppercorns
  • 4 cups water

Bring mixture to a low simmer, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes to an hour. Short on time? Bring to a boil, turn off heat, and let it seep on the stove until its at room temperature.

Strain and store in the refrigerator.

To make a mug of “golden milk”, use equal measurements of milk of your choice (honestly, I like regular old cows milk) and spice concentrate and heat in the microwave or in a pot on the stove until hot. Stir in a spoonful of canned coconut milk (I just can’t do actual coconut oil here – its just an oil slick on the surface) and sweetener of choice if desired. I prefer honey.

Note: Turmeric STAINS. Which you know if you’ve ever made curry and stirred it with a wooden or rubber spoon. It’s actually used as a natural colorant in soaps. So, be careful not to spill and assume your cutting board will look a little weird after slicing fresh turmeric.

© Miles Away Farm 2018, where we’re miles away from jumping on every band wagon, but think this one might just be worth doing. Turmeric milk is evidently an Indian mother’s equivalent of a Jewish mother’s chicken soup for curing what ails you. And who am I to question mothers! AND, after 9 years, I’m finally able to embed recipes for easy printing. Now to go back and do that to all the ones I’ve written. Ugh.

Whole30-Timeline-COLOR-SmallerUp until my early 30s, I weighed a ridiculous 105 lbs and could eat pretty much anything I wanted and not gain weight. I was on the low end of normal for the standard body mass index chart. Yeah. It wasn’t fair. But it was kind of awesome.

As I aged (and learned to cook) my weight slowly climbed. By my mid to late 30’s, I’d hit the 120-125  range (really about right for my 5’3″ small boned frame). And by my early 40’s I was between 125 and 130 pretty consistently, with occasional bouts of South Beach dieting or 3 day Detox smoothie resets to reign in the weight gain.

I’ve long had an interest in local food systems and health, and so our diet (I do most of the cooking) has shifted to more and more from-scratch cooking and less and less processed foods over the years, including knowing where our meat comes from. No longer do I look forward to making the Pillsbury pop-n-fresh Cinnamon Rolls on Sunday mornings like I did in my early 20’s. You won’t find boxed mac & cheese in our cupboards or frozen hot pockets in our freezer or fast food wrappers in the car. I literally can’t remember the last time I drank a full sugar soda. So compared to the average American diet, we really were eating pretty “clean” and had been for a very long time.

But this year, my weight hit 135. 135! I’m now officially just a few pounds from officially being overweight. With menopause kicking in full steam, I could no longer ignore the numbers on the scale or the paunch around my middle, despite our generally healthy diet and decent level of activity. And I could definitely not just eat whatever I wanted and not gain weight. My body seemed to hang on to every bread calorie like it might not ever see food again. Read the rest of this entry »

JenHairAug2011

This is my hair in August 2011. Probably the longest it had been in years. There’s probably some off the shelf semi-permanent hair color in there. I can’t remember. The gray is starting to show just a touch.

When I learned to make soap, a whole world of natural DIY products opened up for me. If I can master the chemistry of making soap, what ELSE can I make? Lotion? Toothpaste? Natural Deodorant? Shower Gel? Sugar Scrubs? Lip Balm? The list was almost endless, and I’ve tried a LOT of things. Some of which I continue to make, and sell, and some of which I don’t.

One of the products I no longer make is a true soap shampoo bar. Why you may ask? Isn’t more natural always better? In this case, no. Read the rest of this entry »

ClayTestAllSamplesSome people exclusively use essential oils to scent their soaps. I don’t, for a couple of reasons. 1) They are medicinally active and you really need to know what you are doing to use them safely (see this post for more on essential oil safety). 2) They tend to be quite a bit more expensive than fragrance oils and your options are limited by price and availability (there just isn’t an essential oil that smells like coconut or pears, for instance). 3) Often times, the scent tends to fade rather quickly in your bar. That grapefruit essential oil soap that smelled amazing when you cut it six weeks ago? Three months in it now smells like, well, soap. I DO have several all essential oil soap offerings though (Lavender-Lemon, Fresh Lemon, Rosemary Mint and Peppermint, and occasional seasonal mixes like Orange-Patchouli), and am always looking for new combinations to try that won’t break the bank and will hold up over time.

When the “how do I get essential oils to stick in my soap” question comes up in soap making groups, the answer from the soaping brain trust is almost always “use clay to anchor the scent”. I’ve seen it repeated over and over and over in the last 8 years. And so I started asking, has anyone ever done a side by side comparison with and without clay? And the answer was almost always no, or an anecdotal “I can tell the difference”. Read the rest of this entry »

DrOz3DaySo, if you know me at all, you know I’m not one to go in for fad diets or super trendy detox fasts. Because, well, science. Read the rest of this entry »

Banana Oatmeal Chocolate 1

Ready for the freezer.

Well, I’m on the annual “try to take off some of the holiday weight gain in the month of January” ritual. For me, this is as much about getting off of the sugar indulgence band wagon and regaining some control over my snack cravings than anything else. Though seeing the scale move to a number higher than I’ve ever seen before was certainly additional motivation. I’ve been doing pilates at home and swimming three days a week. I started out doing a three day smoothie detox, mostly to clean out my system (the smoothies are basically a giant fiber bomb). We’ve been eating lighter, eating WAY more vegetables, and mostly eating much smaller serving sizes. Read the rest of this entry »

LavenderLemon

Lavender 40/42 (a standardized blend), folded Lemon EO (for strength) and Litsea Cubeba (also known as May Chang)

Back when I started making soap, I wondered about using essential oils to scent it. But the only EO’s I had ever seen for sale were the Aura Cacia brand found at the natural food stores. The bottles were typically .5 oz (about 1 tablespoon) and expensive. Read the rest of this entry »

LiquidSoap

Coconut, Sunflower and Castor oil. A nice combination.

For those of you with no interest in making your own liquid soap, you can stop reading now. Next week we’ll be back to our regularly scheduled programing of gardening, homesteading and cute animal pictures. Wink.

Edited 4/25/15 to add: This blog is MY opinion and MY experience with liquid soapmaking. I’ve had several readers point out that they have had different experiences from mine (with adding salt to thicken, and with the Soaping 101 glycerine liquid soap video, for example). Please note: YOUR MILEAGE MAY VARY. Feel free to experiment! Please share your differing experiences and understanding of the chemistry in the comments. That’s how we all learn from each other. This isn’t meant to be the final word on the subject. It’s just my own personal understanding and experience.

Questions about how to get started with liquid soapmaking come up a lot on some of my soap making groups, and I remember how hard it was to get a handle on it all when I started making my own, despite the fact that I’d been making cold process bar soap for years. I find myself writing out long-winded answers over and over again. So I thought I would do a bit of a brain dump on some of the fundamentals to get new liquid soapers started. Note: what this is NOT is a step by step guide to making liquid soap. If I were going to do that, I’d write an ebook. Also, apologies for lack of pictures. This is mostly an informational post. Read the rest of this entry »

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Carrots. Healthy, nutritious and cheap.

I recently ran across an article in my Facebook feed, about a reporter taking the “Food Stamp” challenge. He attempted to eat only what he could purchase with the “average” food stamp allotment for an able bodied adult with no dependents, which is $29.69 a week. I had a bit of a rant about it on my personal Facebook page, pointing out that SNAP (the new name for food stamps) stands for SUPPLEMENTAL Nutrition Assistance Program. It’s not meant to be your sole source of nutrition if you are an able bodied adult. I also pointed out that the reporter had made some poor food choices, such as prewashed salad greens and nutritionally empty white bread. I proudly claimed that while it would be tight, I could certainly do much better nutritionally, and that I could ABSOLUTELY feed myself for $30 a week. Read the rest of this entry »

Jennifer Kleffner

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