Talking Flowers

Talking Flowers

People had a “flower language” over 150 years ago. They gave each other bouquets of talking flowers that said a lot without speaking out loud. You could do that, too or use flower names as code language in notes or emails.

Following is a list of commonly used flowers and what the message was from each beautiful flower.

Talking Flowers

  • Amaryllis: “You’re beautiful, but I’m shy.”
  • Apple blossom: “I like you best.”
  • Camellia: “Thank you!”
  • Carnation: “I love you truly.”
  • White Chrysanthemum: “This is the truth.”
  • Four Leaf Clover: “Be mine.”
  • Red Daisy: “You’re beautiful even if you don’t know it.”
  • Wild Daisy: “I’ll think about it.”
  • Dandelion: “I’m flirting with you!”
  • Fern: “You are fascinating and sincere.”
  • Holly: “Did you forget me?”
  • Iris: “I’ve got a message for you.”
  • Ivy: “I’ll be true to you.”
  • Lily of the Valley: “I’m happy again!”
  • Oak Leaves: “We will be brave!”
  • Parsley: “I feel silly.”
  • Purple Pansy: “I’m thinking about you.”
  • Red Rose: “I love you.”
  • White Rose: “I won’t tell.”
  • Sweet Pea: “Let’s get together.”
  • Violet: “I’m your faithful friend.”
  • Zinnia: “I’m sad since you went away.”

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Naturally Colored Boiled Eggs

Naturally Colored Boiled Eggs

There are two ways of achieving naturally colored boiled eggs. Boil them first, then cold-soak them in dyes. Or, boil them with the dye.

Naturally Colored Boiled Eggs

Here are some suggestions on ways you can boil your eggs using all natural foods. Try some – it’s fun!

  • Boil eggs for 30 minutes or more with lots of onion skins; they’ll turn a pale orange to light red.
  • Boil eggs with spinach leaves for pale green coloring.
  • Soak hard-boiled eggs in grape juice; they’ll turn lavender.
  • Boil eggs in tea for pale brown, in coffee for darker brown.
  • Boil eggs with beets or cranberries for lovely pinks and reds.
  • For a golden color, dissolve the spice turmeric into water and soak eggs.
  • To create patterns on boiled eggs, draw on the shells with wax crayons or wrap them in rubber bands before dyeing.

See also:

  1. Healthy Easter Recipes
  2. Whimsical Collection of Free Easter Graphics
  3. The Good Easter Egg Salad Recipe

Summer Time

Summer Time

Summer time came way too late in my neck of the woods this year. It’s been an odd year weather-wise and personally, as well as across my country, a bit of a bitter-sweet time of life.

When things get like this, for me there is nothing better than taking a trip back in time to simpler days, kinder times, and gentler people via a good old-fashioned book.

For my “adventures” this time around, I choose the series of books by “Miss Read”.  I’m currently reading
Village Diary (The Fairacre Series #2).

Miss Read Village Diary Summer Time Ponderings
Miss Read Village Diary

Miss Read (1913-2012) was the pseudonym of Mrs. Dora Saint, a former schoolteacher beloved for her novels of English rural life, especially those set in the fictional villages of Thrush Green and Fairacre.

While reading this evening, a few paragraphs just begged to be shared. These paragraphs share how children amused themselves back in they days of innocence and hard work. How mother nature amused, taught and delighted both child and adult.

I’m going to share those paragraphs in hopes others may enjoy this sweet journey back in time to the goodness of nature.

How lucky country children are in these natural delights that be ready to their hand! Every season and every plant offers changing joys. As they meander along the lane that leads to our school all kinds of natural toys present themselves for their diversion.

The seedpods of stitchwort hang ready for delightful popping between thumb and finger. Later the bladder campion offers a larger, if less crisp, globe to burst. In the autumn, acorns, beechnuts and conkers bedizen their path, with all their manifold possibilities of fun.

In the summer time, there is an assortment of honeys to be sucked from bindweed flowers, held fragile and fragrant to the hungry lips, and the tiny funnels of honeysuckle and clover blossoms to taste.  Outside the Post Office grow three fine lime trees, murmurous with bees on summer afternoons, and these supply wide, soft young leaves in May, which the children spread over their opened mouths and, inhaling sharply, burst with a pleasant and satisfying explosion.

At about the same time of year the young hawthorn leaves are found good to eat. ‘Bread and cheese’ some call them. While the crisp sweet stalks of primroses form another delicacy, with the added delight of the thread like inner stalk which pulls out from the hairier outer sheath.

The summer time brings flower games, the heads and red satin skirts made from the turned-back petals. ‘He loves me, he don’t’ counted solemnly as the daisy petals flutter down, and ‘Bunny’s mouth’ made by pressing the sides of the yellow toadflax flowers which scramble over our chalky Fairacre banks.

And always, whatever the season, there is a flat ribbon of grass blade to be found which, when held between thumbs and blown upon, can emit the most hideous and ear-splitting screech, calculated to fray the nerves of any grownup, and warm the heart of any child within earshot.”

On so on it goes. Imagine living in such times, when nature was all that was needed to amuse and delight. When people treated each other with respect and kindness. When the body was far more than a mere sex object…

It sounds so wonderful.

Natural Teeth Whitening

Natural Teeth Whitening with Strawberries

Strawberries can actually whiten your smile!

Fresh Strawberries for Natural Teeth Whitening
Fresh Strawberries

Combined with baking soda, strawberries become a natural tooth-cleanser, removing stains from coffee, red wine and dark sodas.

Natural Teeth Whitening Recipe

1 ripe strawberry
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Crush the strawberry to a pulp, then mix with the baking powder until blended.

Use a soft toothbrush to spread the mixture onto your teeth. Leave on for five minutes. Brush thoroughly with toothpaste to remove the berry-baking powder mix.

Floss to remove any seeds and rinse. Use once a week.

Note: Be careful not to use this too often as the acid could damage the enamel on your teeth.

Strawberry Nutrition

Strawberries are high in vitamin C and other cancer-fighting antioxidants. Strawberries also boast a lot of fiber, plus some iron and potassium. At just 45 calories per cup, strawberries provide 85 mg of vitamin C and bioflavonoids.

Did you know?

Historically, strawberries were used as a medicinal plant. Inside the body, the berries were said to remedy digestive upsets, while the leaves and roots were used for gout. Externally, the berries were used as to treat sunburn and blemishes. The juice was even used for discolored teeth – as noted above.

Love strawberries? Consider trying our recipe for Yogurt Popsicles  – strawberry-luscious!

 

Evaluating Flexibility

Evaluating Flexibility

Evaluating flexibility is important. Flexibility is the ability to use a muscle throughout its maximum range of motion. The loss of the ability to bend, twist, and stretch is often a result of muscle disuse. Disuse can come from long periods of sitting or standing.

Sedentary living habits can lead to shortened muscles and tendons. This can cause lower back pain and imbalance in the strength of opposing muscles. The shortening of the hamstrings (back of the thighs) is a very common disorder. Long periods of sitting or standing lead to poor muscle and tendon adjustments and a loss of flexibility in these muscles. This loss of flexibility limits your ability in the following activity.

  1. Walking smoothly.
  2. Sitting down or standing up gracefully.
  3. Performing efficiently in recreational pursuits.

Is Extreme Flexibility Best?

Extreme flexibility has no advantage. If your joints are too loose or flexible, you may become more susceptible to injuries of the joints. Many people are able to stretch one or two inches (plus or minus) from the man. In other words, too much flexibility may increase the chance of injury.

Although no single test will provide adequate information about the flexibility of all the major joints of the body, the following two tests provide a reasonable indication of your ability to stretch.

Trunk Flexion for Evaluating Flexibility

Trunk Flexion for Evaluating Flexibility
Evaluating Flexibility

 

Purpose: To measure the amount of trunk flexion and the ability to stretch the back muscles and back thigh muscles (hamstrings).

Procedure: Sit with your legs fully extended and the bottom of your feet flat against aboard projecting from the wall. Now extend (stretch) your arms and hands forward as far as possible. Hold for a count of three while your partner uses a ruler to measure the distance (in inches) between the board and your fingertips. Distances before the edge (not able to reach your toes) are expressed as  negative scores; those beyond the edge are expressed as positive scores.

Improper Procedures:

  • Not holding the flexed position for a count of three.
  • Bending at the knees.

Trunk Extension for Evaluating Flexibility

Trunk Extension Stretch
Trunk Extension

 

Purpose: To measure the range of motion (flexibility) of the back.

Procedure: Lie in a prone position (face down) on the floor. Have a partner kneel and straddle your legs to hold your buttocks and legs down. With your hands grasped behind your neck, raise your upper trunk (chest and head) off the floor and hold for a count of three. Another partner measures the distance from your chin to the floor.

Improper Procedures

  • Not holding the measuring device in a perpendicular position while measuring.
  • Raisin the hips off the floor.
  • Not holding the extended position for a count of three.

Check Your Results

Norms for trunk flexion (inches from fingertips to bottom of feet).

  1. Normal range. Women: -4 to +8. Men: -6 to +6.
  2. Average (mean. Women: +2. Men: +1.
  3. Desired range. Women: +2 to +4. Men: +1 to +3.

Norms for trunk extension (inches from chin to floor).

  1. Normal range. Women: 12 to 30. Men: 4 to 27.
  2. Average (mean). Women: 21.  Men: 15.
  3. Desired range. Women: 21 to 25. Men: 15 to 20.

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Orange Juice or Milk?

Milk Calcium vs. Orange Juice Calcium

Is the calcium  you get from supplements or fortified orange juice absorbed as well as the calcium from milk?  Scientists at Tuft’s Mineral Bioavailability Laboratory say, “Yes”.

The results of an experiment done by Tuft’s showed that blood and urine tests proved that calcium from all three sources was equally absorbed.  This is good news, especially for people who do not like or cannot drink milk. A glass of orange juice can make up for the milk many people get in their  daily morning cereal.

Reduce Dairy Fat with Low Fat Milk

However, it is worthy to note that this doesn’t make the three calcium sources nutritional equals.

Milk, for example, contains protein, vitamin D, vitamin B12, riboflavin and phosphorus. Orange juice has vitamin C and folate. Supplements are great if you need to get calcium, but overall, it is always best to get it in food if possible.

In other words, building a healthful diet is not just about getting enough calcium. It is important to construct and eating plan with a wealth of vitamins and minerals, which is why fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, low-fat dairy and other low-fat protein sources should all be figured in.

Since fruits are a favorite among many and rightfully so, how about a very enjoyable, refreshing fruit treat? And since we can’t leave out all-important vegetables, consider the quick recipes below the fruit-sweet treat.

Island Party Kabobs Recipe

Star Fruit  Sweet orange for Orange juice
Mangoes
Bananas
Oranges (but not if too juicy)
Kiwifruit Slices
Assorted Melons

Assemble on kabob sticks and serve.  Chill in the refrigerator before serving for a tasty cooler on a hot summer day.

Veggie UP Tuna or Egg Salad

Let’s not forget our vegetables!

Serve tuna or egg salad a new way by cutting off the top of a hard roll,  hollowing  it out and filling it with the salad. Add fresh onion, tomato and lettuce and put the top back  on. Enjoy.

Chili Bean Pita Pizzas

Black beans, corn, plum tomato and green chilies in a pita. This one packs a wallop of vegetable goodness!

Spread 1/4-cup fat free salsa over two small (6-inch) unopened pitas.  Divide 1/2-cup canned black beans (rinsed and drained), 1/2 cup corn kernels, 1 chopped plum tomato, and 1-tablespoon chopped green chiles between the two pitas.  Top with 1-1/2-ounce 2-percent Monterey Jack cheese.  Bake in a 450-degree oven for eight to ten minutes.

Home Grown Herbs

Home Grown Herbs Uses and Storage Ideas

Many home grown herbs will freeze beautifully to extend their shelf life. For best flavor, use herbs fresh out of the garden whenever possible. Always pinch back basil, thyme, oregano and chives so that you get fullest production out of the season.

Home Grown Herbs
Home Grown Herbs

Plants like rosemary need a good cutting now and then to keep them from getting too woody. If you haven’t planned a meal around your pruning, try some of these ideas to preserve your herbs.

Freezing Herbs

Wash herbs very well and gently pat dry with paper towels. Wrap leaves or sprigs in freezer paper or place in freezer proof zip-lock bags. Seal and freeze. These herbs can be chopped and thawed for use in cooking, but are not suitable for garnish. They will become limp when thawed. Flavor is best if herbs are used within a few months.

Herb Cubes

This is a very convenient way of storing herbs. Put the clean, dry herbs into the bottom of an ice cube tray. Fill the compartments with water or stock. Then when you need herbs, just pop them into soups, stews or sauces. You can mix and match to make combinations that you use in your recipes.

Drying Fresh Herbs

One thing to remember when using dried herbs as compared to fresh, is that you want to use 1/3 teaspoon powdered or 1/2 teaspoon crushed for every tablespoon of fresh.

Dried herbs for fresh herbs
Dried herbs for fresh herbs

Air drying is the simplest method requiring only rubber bands to secure the stems of herbs together.  Just hang upside down in a dark, airy area with good air circulation until dry. This method takes the longest time.

Microwave Drying Herbs

Helpful Healthy Herbs Variety
Healthy Home Grown Herbs

Try this simple microwave drying method with herbs such as parsley, basil, thyme and oregano. Wash and gently pat dry herbs picked in the morning just after the dew has dried. This is when your herbs will have the most oils in the leaves. Spread them out on a microwave safe dish in a single layer between two leaves. Spread them out on a microwave safe dish in a single layer between two paper towels. Place in microwave and cook on high for about a minute Check them. Continue cooking for about 20 seconds at a time until the herbs are just crisp.

Drying Herbs in a Conventional Oven

When drying with a conventional oven, begin by placing the clean herbs on shallow trays in the oven. Leave the oven door ajar and turn the heat to the lowest setting. This would be about 150 degrees. Allow the herbs to dry, testing after each hour. A small electric fan placed to circulate air into the oven cavity will speed the drying time.

Storing Fresh Herbs

When storing, place herbs in airtight jars, out of direct sunlight.

If you’d like more in-depth information on home grown herbs, might we suggest the book, Your Backyard Herb Garden: A Gardener’s Guide to Growing Over 50 Herbs Plus How to Use Them in Cooking, Crafts, Companion Planting and More.

This herb-helpful book by Miranda Smith will teach you everything you need to know about growing your favorite herbs using safe, natural, all-organic methods!

Helpful Healthy Herbs

Helpful Healthy Herbs: Ancient Healing

Humans have always longed for good health and vitality. Even prehistoric cave dwellers searched for relief from their various ailments. Many ancient Egyptians had arthritis. Medieval people experienced all kinds of infections and sicknesses. And don’t forget the great plague, which wiped out a large part of the world’s population!

What did all these people do before the dawn of multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical companies with their thousands of synthetic medications?

They turned to the plant kingdom.

Helpful Healthy Herbs Variety

Through trial and error, the earliest humans discovered that some plants have medicinal properties. These properties, they learned, could help to purify, normalize and energize the body. They also found that many plants could enhance the body’s ability to heal itself.

Of course, humans have always looked for other – perhaps more sophisticated – methods to heal illness and promote health. Some of these methods were downright dangerous. Like using leeches to “bleed” a patient. Other methods were ineffective. Sorcery, for example, probably didn’t cure too many sick people…except through the power of suggestion.

Today we have sophisticated surgical procedures and a positively mind-boggling array of chemical treatments. We have lasers, laparoscopes, lithotripsy. Intensive care units, pacemakers and in vitro fertilization. And, of course, we have the countless pills, capsules and injections.

Still, throughout the evolution of medicine, one treatment has remained constant: The use of plants as a natural remedy. Leeching, sorcery and other “weird science” techniques have come and gone, but herbal medicine has withstood the test of time.

In fact, half of all our modern-day drugs come not from a laboratory test tube, but from plants! Aspirin and digitalis are just two examples. Aspirin, for instance, comes from two herbs: White willow bark and meadowsweet. The “modern” decongestant pseudoephedrine was discovered by Chinese herbalists more than 5,000 years ago.

Helpful Healthy Herbs First Known Recordings

The first written record of herbal medicine dates back to the Sumerians – more than 5,000 years ago. After that, we find many other historical traces of herbalism, including Chinese herb books from 2700 B.C., Old Testament references to herbs and a first century A.D. Greek encyclopedia of 500 herbs.

Sixty-seven healing herbs are mentioned in the 4,500-year old Rig Veda, one of India’s four books of wisdom. Herbs were a big part of ancient India’s Ayurveda medicine.

The world’s oldest surviving medical text, the Ebers Papyrus, mentions 876 herbal formulas that were used by Egyptian herbalists. This document dates back to 1,500 B.C.!

When monasteries were formed after the fall of Rome, the Church looked askance at herbs. However, “underground herbalists” flourished…and many of them were women.

Hippocrates, the father of medicine, used herbs. So did Thomas Jefferson. Likewise for most Native Americans. And the founder of the Kellogg cereal company was a naturopath who frequently turned to herbs in his practice.

Simply put, an herb is any plant that is known to have medicinal qualities. The great advantage of herbs is that they are natural. So they do not produce side effects. However, an herb may cause an allergic reaction, but that’s rare. It’s also possible that an herb may interact with a medication. Check with your doctor before taking herbs if you take prescription medication(s).

How fast do helpful healthy herbs work? Keep in mind, they are not like synthetic medicines. Their primary action is to balance and restore the body’s normal processes. That may take some time. But for the millions of people who have been helped by herbs, the benefits are well worth the wait.

Will herbs work for you?

There is only one way to find out. Discover for yourself what herbs have to offer. Look for their healing secrets! Visit our sister site’s herbal section, Herbal Bytes.

Stuffed Vine Leaves Recipe

Stuffed Vine Leaves Recipe

This stuffed vine leaves recipe celebrates the goodness of onions, carrots, tomatoes and rice. Seasoned with parsley, dill, coriander and white pepper.

This recipe qualifies as a vegetarian recipe. It creates a mouth watering dish, especially for the vegetable lover. In Georgia, fillings wrapped in vine leaves are very popular.

Stuffed Vine Leaves Recipe Ingredients

Stuffed Vine Leaves Recipe
Stuffed Vine Leaves

2 onions
2 carrots, grated
5 tomatoes, peeled and diced
2 cups rice
1/2 cup parsley, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh dill, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh coriander, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground white pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 cup sunflower oil
1 pound vine leaves

Directions

Wash the leaves in cold water and add (individually) to a pot of salted, boiling water.

Mix the vegetables, rice and herbs. Add the lemon juice and some of the oil. With a sharp knife, remove stalks of vine leaves and reserve. Spread each vine leaf on a smooth surface, shiny side facing down. Place a pencil-thin amount of the vegetable mixture in each leaf. Fold in the right and left sides and roll up tightly.

Put the vine stalks in a pot and place the stuffed vine leaves closely packed on top. Cover with salted water and the remaining oil. Cover and simmer gently over a moderate heat for 30 minutes. Remove vine leaves from pot and place on a platter.

Yield: 24 stuffed vine leaves.

Recipe Note: If desired, you could melt a bit of parsley butter over the top. We’ll share our sister site’s recipe for homemade Parsley Butter.

Homemade Parsley Butter Recipe

Ingredients:
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup fresh parsley, minced
Freshly grated black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 or 2 cloves garlic, minced

Directions:
Combine all thoroughly. Cover tightly and refrigerate up to 2 weeks.

Parsley butter is good on any meat, fish, chicken, bread or vegetable.

Parsley Butter Recipe Card

(Click image to enlarge)

Parsley Butter Recipe
Parsley Butter Recipe

 

Homemade Almond Flour

Make Your Own Homemade Almond Flour

Almond flour is expensive. Perhaps you’d like to try making your own homemade almond flour? We’ll tell you how. It is not that difficult and the reward is a great tasting flour.

Homemade Almond Flour sack
Make Homemade Almond Flour

For sweet treats, it is best to make your almond flour without almond skins, because the skins have a bit of a bitter taste.

First, you need to have blanched almonds. Blanching is a process in itself; we recommend you purchase Raw Blanched Almonds ready to be made into almond flour. Raw is important because in 2007, the U.S. passed a law requiring all almonds to be pasteurized. Unfortunately, this is often done with the use of proplyene oxide which is a toxic substance originally used as racing fuel. Other almonds are pasteurized with steam.

Making Your Homemade Almond Flour

Do this in batches of no more than 1-cup of almonds at a time. Use your food processor, coffee grinder or blender and be sure your almonds are at room temperature. Place the almonds into your device and pulse 3 to 4 times, about 10 seconds each time. Do this up to a total of 30 seconds, as you don’t want the almond to release too much oil (you’d have almond butter instead of flour). Now sieve the flour and place the pieces that can’t make through the sifter back into the mixer or blender; pulse another 3 to 4 times and sieve again. Pieces that remain in your sieve can be used as almond meal.

Storage. Put the almond flour into airtight zip lock bags or containers and keep in the fridge. Your flour will stay good for 3 to 4 weeks. For longer storage (up to 2 months), store in your freezer. Use as needed for baking.

Now How About Homemade Almond Butter?

Almond butter can be made from your raw nuts; however, roasting the nuts just prior to making the butter considerably enhances the flavor. To roast the almonds, spread them in a thin layer on a baking sheet at 300 degrees for about 20 minutes. Stir a few of times to assure even roasting.

To make your own homemade almond butter, you’ll need:

Fresh Almonds
Fresh Almonds

1 cup roasted almonds
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon unrefined vegetable oil

Combine the almonds and salt in a food processor, blender, meat grinder or nut butter machine and process until the nuts are finely ground. Add the oil and continue processing until the butter reaches your desired degree of smoothness, adding more oil if necessary. For chunky butter, stir in 1/4 cup chopped almonds. Store, tightly covered, in the refrigerator. Makes about 3/4 cup.

Almond Butter Variations: Substitute Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts or macadamia nuts for the almonds. Or combine two or more of these nuts in any proportion.