Last night the Minnesota Governor’s stay home order went into effect. Honestly we have been home for a couple weeks already, so at the beginning of the official stay home order I am already feeling antsy. In a lot of ways things have settled a bit and I am hoping with more Minnesotans staying home things will settle down at the grocery stores and some missing items will be stocked.
But in times like these I am falling back on my comfort foods. I did buy a 25 pound bag of white flour and some smaller bags of whole wheat flour when this all began. While I have been trying to eat more gluten free, Keto meals I rested comfortably in the fact that I could easily make my own bread, noodles, crackers, cakes, cookies, etc. with just this small staple.
So this week I was already tired of chicken breast and ground meat so I decided to do a traditional German dinner with some homemade sausage a friend had given us.
I used to make Spaetlze regularly but finding the right tools to get the egg drop shaped noodles right isn’t so easy. I used to have a pot with a strainer that fit inside and I would push the dough through with the bottom of a cup. Admittedly not the best method and then when I had to throw the pot away I though “no more spaetlze.” Of course at the time I was young and broke and it never occurred to me to buy a spaetlze maker. But then I remembered I had a potato ricer. It worked beautifully, now I am thinking I will have to bring this back.
2 eggs, beaten 1/4 cup milk or water 1 cup all-purpose flour 1/2 tsp salt Dash of pepper
Mix eggs, milk, flour, 1/2 tsp salt and pepper. Batter will be thick. Heat 2 quarts of water with a teaspoon of salt to boiling. Press batter through colander a few spoonfulls at a time into the boiling water (I used the potato ricer). Stir occasionally to prevent sticking. Cook until dumplings rise to surface and are tender, about 5 min. then drain (or use a slotted spoon to remove if you need to keep cooking). Garnish with butter and parsley (garlic is also amazing!)
Of course everyone has different types of food that bring comfort. It is still cold and damp in Minnesota and soups/stews are what I crave. Proeun puts up with my cravings and I do try to make some foods that are comforting to him as well.
This week I will be working on sourdough with all that white flour that I have. And luckily our 4H cheese order from Ellsworth Creamery still came in. So plenty of good comfort food around here. I can’t wait till the nettle and dandelions are up and my comfort food can switch to some fresh items as well. What foods are bring you comfort right now?
After winter comes mud season on Crazy Boy Farm. While it is not my favorite time of the year with the extra laundry and drying the dogs off before they can come in the house, I am thankful for the warmth. And this year I am extra thankful for the business of spring with the animals and life on acreage that becomes our own park.
Proeun and I were on our yearly gettaway this Thursday. We may be a bit behind but on Wednesday we started getting the strong impression that the Coronavirus would be affecting our family (and community) much stronger then we originally thought. We talked briefly about what our financial plans should be if Proeun’s work closed. We already homeschool and stay home much of the time so that was mostly the extent of our talks Wednesday night.
We went to Duluth for lunch and some shopping. We were enjoying each others company so no radio. In the late afternoon we checked in at our hotel. While we were unpacking and settling in we turned the news on. It was shocking how fast things were changing. States were shutting down schools and declaring a state of emergency. New York had established the first containment area in New Rochelle.
Locally things were changing as well. We went to dinner. Normally there is a 1-3 hour wait for dinner at this restaurant. On Thursday there was no wait and a lot of nervous smiles.
We went to bed Thursday night wondering if we should cut our time short and head home. In the morning we both knew that when we turned on the news more would likely have changed overnight.
We had our breakfast and headed home. We stopped at Walmart on the way to fill our water jugs. I didn’t expect the whole toilet paper thing would be present in northern Minnesota but yep no toilet paper on the shelves. The baby wipe aisle was pretty bare as well, as was the bottled water.
Matthew Wood is one of my favorite resources for herbal health information. He has an email list I highly recommend. His recommendations include standard (but not so standard) practices of early bedtimes, increasing vitamins and minerals and avoiding sugar. He posts updates on the Coronavirus on his home page.
Honestly most of us have no idea what to do when we are sick. There was a young man behind us in line at Walmart with a cart full of 1 liter bottles of Mountain Dew and skittles. He was stocked up I am telling you, probably 20 bottles or so.
But in all seriousness we often are our own worst enemies. I know in our family we tend to have a cycle were we start adding more and more activities and duties then all of a sudden someone is sick. I have a saying that when we get sick it is our body telling us, giving us permission and commanding us to slow down. So we do. We clear our schedules and stay home and rest. Now I am aware that we as a family have a great deal of privilege to have that as an option and we are not in the high risk group for this illness but there are other illnesses and health is about more then avoiding the Coronavirus.
One thing Matthew Wood says is with herbal medicine it is less about killing the virus (or bacteria, illness, etc.) but building up the body’s systems so that it can effectively fight the infection. This is a good practice no matter what the illness. So this is what we are doing to build up our body systems.
Early bedtime. By 10 at least but the earlier the better
Reducing Stress. This is closely related to the first because if you lie in bed at night worried about the Coronavirus you won’t sleep. Stress is very debilitating and we want to build our body up.
Washing hands. I have not tried making hand sanitizer but I have heard there are recipes online and when we stopped at one shop they offered us some when we came through the door.
Reduce sugar. When I am looking for new recipes to try I normally search for Keto or THM recipes as these tend to have no sugar. Here is my favorite THM cookbook. More on THM in a later post.
Increase fruits and veggies. While at Walmart Proeun went to get some vitamin C and Zinc. The shelves were bare! He tried ordering some online and it is out of stock. But there were still plenty of citrus fruits and bell peppers (vitamin C), and don’t forget greens and mushrooms, etc. Garlic and onions are also amazing traditional staples for fighting illness.
Learn the things that make you feel nourished and cared for and do those.
Research and try some immune boosting foods.
When we arrived home I made a batch of elder berry syrup. My favorite recipe comes from this book. But there are many recipes online.
I also started a mushroom bone broth. I had some lamb bones left over from a dinner during the week. I added astragulus root (I got mine from here but they are pretty backed up right now. Could also use this powder), reishi mushrooms, shitake mushrooms, 2 onions, a whole head of garlic and some apple cider vinegar. There are also vegan immune boosting broth recipes online.
If you prefer books. Here are some of my top recommendations to promote herbal health.
I am all about teaching my children how to be healthy. This book not only has my favorite elder berry syrup recipe but lots of recipes and activities to get kids excited about herbs.
I also highly recommend Staying Healthy with the Seasons. This Book is written more from a Chinese medicine/ body systems perspective. It goes through the seasons of the year and which body systems are more closely related to that season with recipes and action steps to promote health.
I told my sister I hope we all are reminded how important our health is. We should also be empowered that there are things that we can do to promote personal and familial health. What are you doing to stay healthy?
I wrote last week about how the storms of 2019 had really paved the way for rebuilding and re-purposing. I have had the book Garden Awakening on my night stand for a couple of years now.
Finally this last month I read it. I am now so excited to get out to my garden. I had honestly not known of any other way to plant a garden but in rows. One herby friend of mine blew my mind a couple of years ago when she planted her garden in a spiral shape.
I am so inspired by the information I am discovering as I delve more fully into the healing nature of plants and well nature . Mary Reynolds is from Ireland. She still lives in Ireland and she writes from this perspective. She doesn’t mind talking about magic and fairies and connections, but from a fully Irish perspective (this just happens to be part of my cultural heritage). While I feel like the majority of European culture has lost its nature connections; it was so refreshing to read a totally engaging book that says it is not lost. It just needs to be reclaimed.
One way to do this is by reclaiming your land (whether a small lot or many acres) and setting your intentions for it. Speak to the land and acknowledge that you belong to it as much as it belongs to you. You were brought together for great things, so embrace that and get moving.
Reynolds writes, “We are drawn to certain locations where the land resonates with us and pulls us towards it. People can spend their entire lives looking for the places where they belong, places where they feel at home, where they fit and can comfortably set down roots. We are simply a reflection of the land beneath us, and nature is always waiting for us to return home.”
I am so happy to have found my home and place to put down roots. That doesn’t mean that it is always perfect, but the connection is just what you need.
As the spring weather kicks into full gear in my north country home I excitedly plan for a new year and a new beginning. I will be adding more elderberry, a hawthorne and mulberry tree but more plans are in the works.
In what ways do you feel connected to your land (whether pots on a balcony, a city lot or acreage)? What ways can you cultivate more connection? Is this important to you?