Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Coffee Anyone?

There is nothing like the smell of fresh roasted coffee in the morning. But what if you don't drink coffee? Did you know there is a fresh, and easy substitute for coffee? Hello..... barley, its an underused crop, that can be roasted to create a rich, dense coffee substitute. When I am looking for a chocolaty deluxe flavor without the buzz I turn to barley coffee. 

Recently, on a shopping trip  I found roasted barley grains, which was like finding a treasure. I promptly bought several bags and went home to create my dream cup of cafe. After grinding the beans in my coffee grinder, I put the grounds into my Italian espresso maker from Italy a gift from my wonderful mother. 

And in minutes I had a rich, dark bubbling cup of barley coffee. The flavor was nutty and luscious. It was such an exquisite delight, that was sustainable, easy and healthy. 

What are your coffee substitutes that you enjoy? 

                 Top Health Benefits of Barley
                   High in minerals and vitamins

                     Helps control blood sugar

                     Oldest grain in the world

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Knitting up style

With the weather becoming cold, now is the perfect time to knit yourself something beautiful. Do you think that knitting is really hard? It's really something simple that takes a bit of time to develop, but when you have practiced you can make the most beautiful things!

I learned knitting at a very young age at Spring Garden Waldorf School, in Akron Ohio. It is based on the Waldorf curriculum which is very holistic. From this beginning, I learned a lot of the homesteading skills that I know use in later life.

While walking up and down at the Soda City Market, on a Saturday I found the most amazing vendor. She had row upon rows of beautiful hand spun yard, in vibrant, warming colors. I fell in love right then and there, and decided I must support this unique vendor. While chatting her up I found out that she had whole reams of wool that I could personally spin! So I bought two reams of soft and fluffy wool and went to work to spin my very own yarn to knit. 

Thankfully, I had already bought a wooden spindle during the time that I had Angora  Rabbits. I thought that I would be able to use the rabbit wool to spin, but alas it takes a lot of time to collect rabbit fur! 

With the wool and spindle in hand, I've been able to spin the wool into yarn and then have started the process of knitting it into a beautiful scarf. Buying straight from the source allows you to buy high quality for a lower price. I was able to buy my two reams of wool for $2.00, and will be able to create a warm and thoughtful gift I can give at Christmas. 

The more I homestead the more I learn to get things from the source, whether is a local farmer, local store, local restaurant, or staying at an Airbnb instead of a hotel. When you buy local you build relationships, and grow your own community.  

What's your favorite local thing in your town?

Monday, October 23, 2017

Oils are Essential

Recently, I have been cooking with a lot of olive oil. It makes a such difference in taste, and it does a great job of oiling the my cast iron pans and creating a beautiful crust when I am cooking meat. Oils are a part of everyday living, we use them to oil our pans, to bake cakes, to moisturize our skin and hair, and also to clean our houses.

While cleaning on a Saturday Morning I decided to try to clean using essential oils. I had grown weary of cleaning with harsh chemicals that I had to wear dish gloves to clean, and the caustic chemicals that would bother my throat and nose.  So I put some peppermint oil and water in a bottle sprayer and started to clean the house. I was surprised that the oil was so effective in cleaning my windows, picking up dirt and for mopping up the floor. Soon my whole house smelled like a peppermint dream, and was sparkling  clean. And I felt  boost of endorphin's, maybe from the exercise of cleaning but also from the wonderful and invigorating smell of peppermint.

I am totally sold on using essential oils for cleaning, and am looking forward to trying other oils to clean as well. It is so easy to be organic and sustainable at home, it just takes small adjustments to be successful.
What is your favorite green way to clean?

Peppermint Cleaning solution5-10 drops of Peppermint Oil into a spray water bottle
Add water about half way full

Monday, October 9, 2017

Adding Style to Everyday Life

Sometimes life can become mundane, and the simple patterns of life repeat and repeat. An easy way to break the pattern of monotony is to add fabric accents to your home.

I could be adding new curtains, a rug, window treatments, table centerpieces or, a new outfit to wear out on the town. My favorite designer Yetunde Sarumi often gives me inspiration on how to add elegance to my home. Her company YS (Yetunde Sarumi) uses unique fabrics from West Africa to create stunning clothes that stand out and make an impact.

Drawing inspiration from her amazing collection, I used a piece of long fabric to create a curtain between the washroom and the mudroom. Every time I look at this personally curated curtain I am inspired to look for other ways to add simple elegance to my home.

Who knew, how easy it could be to create a warm and welcoming home.

                                       Picture of the curated curtain

Thursday, September 28, 2017

The Sweet Taste of Vida

Fall is officially here, which reminds me of fond memories of growing up in Ohio. Fall was always a spectacular season with the chilly weather, stunning vivid colors of the fall leaves, and warm spiced apple cider for special occasions.

Now living in South Carolina, I still want to recreate those memories. So I've been inspired to create my own recipe of spiced apple cider. When creating a recipe it is important to use the highest quality of ingredients. To create just the right amount of sweetness in the cider I will use Akron Honey, their honey is dynamic and flavorful. The company owned by Wesly Ian in Akron, Ohio is an Urban Honey and Personal Men's Care company. They use sustainable practices that create the best honey possible.

My favorite batch is Middlebury, which is harvested in Middlebury Neighborhood, which includes Chittenden st.  This neighborhood is as vibrant and dynamic as Akron Honey and it's reflected in the amazing taste and flavor of the Middlebury Honey.

Blending the apple juice with a variety of spices, along with Akron Honey creates the perfect apple cider. When I drink this cider it reminds me that the season has changed, it's a new time and season to create fall memories with my family here in Columbia, South Carolina.

What's your favorite thing about fall?

Middlebury Red 3oz
Harvest Date: 11.11.15
Tastes Like: Extra Sweet , Floral, Medium Smoky
Influences: White Dutch Clover, Black Locust, Japanese Knotweed
Use with: Tea & Coffee, Spicy Dishes (glaze or drizzle), Fried Foods (chicken), Bland Foods (biscuits), Fruit

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Brighten your day!

Looking for an easy way to uplift your day? Fresh flowers are a great way to add elegance and grace to your home. To buy a beautiful flower arrangement can be expensive, but you can pick your own wild flowers for free. 

While on a walk in the up and coming neighborhood of Pinehurst, I found some flower gems that added fragrance and beauty to my home. Strolling on Magnolia Street I found a vibrant yellow yarrow plant and some lush green wild dill on an empty lot at 3007 Magnolia St. Those flowers and herbs allowed me to create a stunning bouquet for my home.  

I love walking the Pinehurst Community, it gives me a chance to see the many turn of the century homes, stroll the wide boulevards of Magnolia St and Chestnut St. The Pinehurst Community Center has free herbs and vegetables for the public to gather at any time. In the past, I have added the (free)  fresh bell peppers and basil to salads, and created a delicious pizza. 

Being able to collect wild flowers in my local neighborhood is such a pleasure and an easy way to add pizazz and warmth to my home. There are so many ways to live an organic and sustainable lifestyle in a fast paced world. 

What is your favorite neighborhood? 

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Friendships are the best!

Friendships are crucial! I was so happy when my bestie from childhood arrived with her husband and two cute little ones to South Carolina. We had such a blast eating, laughing, and catching up. I realized that friendship, true friendship is so vital to life. With so much going on now a days its great to have a friend who will always have your back. 

While we were all outside enjoying the beautiful SC weather, my friend mentioned that the mosquitoes here were very strong and she had a ton of bites. My husband and I both laughed and said yes, at own house they are quite ferocious. Thankfully, my resourceful Mom was there and heard her comment, the first things she said was, April! Get your friend some essential oils! I ran into the house and retrieved the lime oil along with some apricot oil as a carrier oil. 

My friend tried the oil and it worked! She was so happy and so were all the rest of us. Soon all of us were doused in oils and thankfully mosquito proof! That way her sweet kids could enjoy the animals and the rest of us could laugh and giggle at their cute kiddie ways. 

Having an organic and sustainable life can sometimes seem hard in this past paced world, but really it can be easy to gradually add simple things that make your life easier and healthier.  Essential oils has been a boon for my family, and each oil has so many remedies for everyday household needs. From Eucalyptus when you aren't feeling well, to Lavender when you just need to relax there are thousands of oils and you can specialize which oil you want to use based on your needs. This is just one of the ways that I keep my family healthy and happy. 

What are some things that you do to be healthy at home?