Tag Archives: Wellness

Ghee… Huh, wait, what?



Ghee [gee] – noun – a kind of liquid butter, used especially in the cooking of India, utilizing butter made from the milk of cows then clarified by boiling.

Ghee, funny name, oh believe me I know.  It’s pronounced with a “g” like gorgeous and that’s exactly what it is.  I originally learned about ghee while following a lightweight backpacking online group.  It’s utilized by backpackers because it is shelf-stable (no refrigeration needed) and so much more flavorful than oil for cooking.  All I knew at this point was that it was Indian butter.

My friend’s son is autistic and was put on “the diet” (gluten, casein, soy & corn free  – with great results I might add).  We were busy looking for new and creative recipes for the family so he wasn’t singled out when I once again saw ghee references. I started looking at you tube videos and recipes online.  Now I’m a very confident cook and always ready to try new things but this was different, Tyler could have ghee but not butter so if I made a mistake I could cause problems for him.  I finally worked up the nerve to make a batch with the help of my former boss, a wonderful woman and dear friend from India who walked me through the process better than a you tube video ever could (thanks again Paulomi!).  Once made, we passed it around and tasted it in absolute awe.  It’s like butter, but so so much better.  Unlike anything we’d ever tasted before.


How do you make ghee?

Truly, you boil the butter.  That’s it. Then you strain it.  (Seems too simple, I don’t get it..)

First you start by putting butter in a good solid bottomed pan.  My daughter gave me an enamel coated Lodge cast iron Dutch oven for Christmas several years ago which is now known as my ghee pot.

Next, the butter.  Well, here’s where it doesn’t matter too much because you’re removing the dairy, as well as the salt.  I am in an area where I can pick up Amish butter at a great price.  If you’re looking for grass-fed only, look for Kerry Gold.  To my knowledge it’s the only grass-fed that’s commercially available.  However, I have stocked up on butter at the grocery when it went on sale and made ghee with it and not noticed a difference in the end result.

When the butter starts to melt it will go from its normal pale yellowish white to a bright yellow and creamy.  Once it comes to a simmer/gentle boil, leave it.  Come back every once in a while (20 minutes or so) and stir it.  I use a plastic pancake turner with a straight edge because it allows me to scrape the bottom to keep the solids from sticking.  I have a wooden paddle but I noticed that it tends to absorb the salt as well as the oils.  You’ll find some people will refer to ghee as clarified butter but that is incorrect.  Clarified butter (or drawn butter) is made at this first stage when the butter first separates but is still that bright yellow.  (Think of what they serve at Red Lobster with your crab legs). As it continues to boil it will become more and more clear and more of an amber color and all the butter.  The batch I have in the picture was boiled for approximately 2 hours.

Time to strain.  I have wire strainer that I set over the bowl from my Kitchen-Aid mixer (in the picture).  I then took my cheesecloth and folded it in quarters and put it in the strainer.  I poured the finished ghee through the cheesecloth to strain out the carbonized dairy solids.  Once it all strained, I then picked up the cheesecloth by the corners (making a pouch) and kept twisting it tight to squeeze out any ghee that was left.  Believe me when I say this step is worth it.  Between the solids and the cheesecloth you should be able to squeeze out several ounces.  As you can see by the picture, there are a lot of dairy solids that come out.  This also contains the casein which is an allergen for some folks, as well as one of the offending items for autistic kids.

Here’s what’s removed from the butter when you turn it into ghee. The dairy is completely carbonized. I strained it through cheesecloth then squeezed out the excess.ghee 2I started with 6 pounds of butter (on sale $2 a pound). The finished result netted me 1 quart jar and 7 eight ounce jars. This lasted us for about 12 weeks.  Put the lids on and put it in the cabinet.  Treat it as you would any other oil.  Just so you’re aware, if your home is cool this may start to solidify and that’s okay, you haven’t done anything wrong making it.

Mountain Rose Herbs. A herbs, health and harmony c

Okay, I made it.  Now what do I do with it?

The question now is what can’t you do with it?  It can be used in any recipe for oil or butter.  Here’s the best part IMO.  Ever get a pan too hot when you’re going to cook something with butter and it burns?  Not with ghee.  All the parts that would burn, you’ve already removed.  You can pan fry your eggs or fish, brush it on bread for a grilled cheese or as toast, drizzle it on broccoli or popcorn… you name it!.  My favorite is to sauté garlic in ghee for a few minutes.  It’ll taste like you roasted it in the oven for an hour!  Put that in some mashed potatoes or cauliflower and you will think you’re in heaven.

There’s benefits too?

Ghee has long been used in Ayurvedic medicine and diet.  It’s believed to lubricate joints, help with mental function (not unlike newly discovered properties of coconut oil), stimulate digestion and even aid in the absorption of herbs and spices from dishes for medicinal benefit.

Try it out and tell me what you think.  I guarantee you’re going to keep it in the house all the time and convert your friends.  Be sure to share this with them too!



Smoke Free…. Still

15 years ago today I quit smoking.


It’s amazing.  I was told once that I would never quit smoking until I could envision myself as a non-smoker.  What a load of garbage. I still smoke in my dreams.  It has only  been in the last few years where I actually acknowledge that I had quit and I know I’m cheating by lighting up.  Were a restaurant to ask me if I wanted smoking or non I’d still ask for smoking.

For those of you that haven’t been following me as long, I have COPD.  I can’t complain, I did it to myself.  Smoking was something I took to very quickly and I was a 2-1/2 to 5 pack a day smoker for most of my smoking “career”.  By the time I actually quit, I was on breathing treatments 3 times a day.  The doctors told me that had I continued for another six months and I would have wound up with full-blown emphysema.

I was born with an abdominal hernia and I had damaged it while I was at work.  Truth be told, the muscles were already weakened from all the coughing. I sounded like a 80-year-old with tuberculosis.  I was 33 at the time.  I was very lucky in that the surgeon that was to do my hernia repair refused to do the surgery until I quit smoking.  He was afraid that I would tear open the stitches with coughing. That was the last push needed.  I was in a lot of pain and needed relief.  The final straw was that I had gotten sick and couldn’t breath (or smoke) and was sipping on straight Jack Daniels to keep everything relaxed while keeping the pain to a minimum.

It was 4 years ago that I was finally diagnosed with COPD.  Inevitable really, considering where I came from.  Technically, although we didn’t call it that back then, the diagnosis should have come much earlier since I’d had chronic bronchitis since my early 20’s.

I’m not one of those “reformed smokers” who quit and so the whole world should, but I do want people to realize what can happen. Just as an alcoholic doesn’t stop being one when they get sober, I doubt that I will ever look at myself as a non-smoker.  It bothers me that science has recognized the severely addictive properties of nicotine and the additives that are put in cigarettes, yet smokers are treated horribly while other addicts are pitied and offered rehab.

I can honestly say that I did not truly understand the depth of the word addiction until I tried to quit smoking.  I did not realize what a hold it had over my life.  I stopped going to the movies, complaining of uncomfortable seating, children and noisy patrons, when in truth it was that I couldn’t sit through a movie without a cigarette.  If I went to a restaurant and couldn’t get a seat in smoking, I’d leave and go elsewhere.  I’ve smoked in the shower, smoked while eating and yes, even faked an orgasm to get to a cigarette. Horrible, I know.

So to the recovering smokers like me, congrats.  We’ve made it.  To the current smokers, I hope you get out unscathed.


Embrace Wellness, One Bite At A Time

Eat Better

Your Hair Tells More Than You Know

healthy hair


Your Hair Tells More About Your Body Than Your Blood

Although it is a superficial organ, your hair is a mirror to your metabolic system. The nutrients when consumed first reach your vital organs such as the heart, kidney and liver, and are then supplied to the hair.

To test how this works, three kinds of hair were put under a scanner. Trichologist Dr Swati Majithia uses a capillaroscope and gives us insight into some hair-raising issues. She suggests a few natural remedies.

Quality of hair: Normal to oily

Concerns: Minor bumps on the scalp

Reason: These bumps are generally stress related. Besides, they are signs of acute illness and accumulation of toxins in the body.

Remedy: Since in Parekh’s case it is mainly because of stress, his follicular swelling can be decreased by consuming antioxidant rich foods such as green tea with indulging in distressing activities such as yoga and meditation.


Quality of hair: Dry

Concerns: Mild dandruff and the density of hair has decreased over time

Reason: There are several reasons why the density of hair decreases such as hormonal imbalance, growth of fibroids and stress. Poor dietary habits, lack of water intake, and change of weather are also factors which lead to hair fall. Dandruff scales usually occur because of weather changes, infrequent shampooing or inadequate rinsing. Stress also causes dandruff.

Remedy: Hydrate your body to combat dry hair. Include iron-rich foods such as spinach and kale in your diet. Protein deficiency also causes hair loss so have high-protein foods such as fish, eggs, beans, legumes and nuts. The oil content in almonds also helps improve the texture of hair. Dandruff cannot be eliminated, it can only be controlled. Use a shampoo that contains natural cytostatic agents. They reduce the rate of growth and multiplication of horny cells (top layer of the scalp). Oiling your hair with coconut oil regularly helps moisturise the scalp and negates the harmful effects of shampoos.


Bulk organic herbs, spices and essential oils. Sin

Quality of hair: Oily and thin

Concerns: Thinning of the hair, split ends and early greying

Reason: Early greying is a result of autoimmune deficiency and hereditary. Chemical treatments such as relaxing, rebonding, perming and colouring are also some of the factors that cause unnatural greyness. Excessive blow drying and ironing leads to split ends, whereas the thinning of hair occurs because of iron, zinc, protein and Vitamin C deficiencies in the diet.

Remedy: Avoid subjecting your hair to harsh chemicals. Trimming is the only solution to get rid of split ends. If your hair is thinning, then include green leafy vegetables, flaxseeds, walnuts and Vitamin C rich food such as amla and lemon juice in the diet. If a blood test suggests a thyroid imbalance, endocrine disorder, dietary deficiency, or a specific medication; your hair will return to normal once the underlying issue is addressed. But the most common cause of hair loss among women is androgenetic alopecia, a genetic condition in which new hair shafts grow progressively thinner. Women generally notice a gradual reduction in overall volume, with a concentrated thinning at the crown. The condition can begin any time after puberty, but often becomes noticeable during and post menopause.

Why test hair?

Almost 21 mineral levels can be determined through a simple hair mineral analysis test (HTMA). Your hair is made up of proteins, iron and minerals including the electrolytes, sodium, potassium and calcium. You can trace elements such as copper, manganese, iron, zinc and toxic metals like lead, mercury, cadmium, arsenic, aluminium in the hair.

Deficiency or excess of any mineral are always noticed first in the hair and then in the body because minerals are shifted from other tissues or organs to hair in order to maintain optimum blood level. Toxic minerals rarely remain in the blood.

Source: Prevent Disease


How To Make An All-Natural Wellness Shot

Feeling flu-ish and run down by seasonal colds is just plain crummy, especially during the summer months. What’s worse than a summer cold, right? You might try beating the bug with over-the-counter meds, maybe a variety of unusual remedies — you’d do almost anything to feel better, all in hopes of actually going on vacation or just having some fun in the sun.
Then it hits you. The runny nose, the sneezing, the fever and body aches and chills… but fear not, there’s a way to beat the bug before it gets too comfortable in our systems.
Wellness shots are nutrient-dense powerhouses that pack a punch. If you’ve ever had one, those colds and flus are going to be stopped in their tracks. Fast!
Usually, a wellness shot consists of three main fresh ingredients:
Ginger provides upset stomach and digestive relief, warms you up, and lessens aches and pains associated with colds and flu. Ginger is a great expectorant and will help break up mucus in the lungs as well as soothe even the most painful sore throats.
Lemon boosts immunity, detoxifies the body, and provides a nice dose of food-based vitamin C.
Cayenne is potent and effectively treats fevers, poor circulation, nausea, and other digestive complaints. All you need is a dash to benefit from its medicinal properties.
Here’s how to make a basic wellness shot:
  • Juice ½-1 whole lemon
  • Juice 1-inch piece of ginger
  • Add a dash or two of cayenne pepper
Knock it back at the onset of a cold, or just when you feel like a little pick-me-up is in order. You’ll feel the effects fairly quickly.

 Source: MindBodyGreen

The Path to Simple Living

Part of the road to simple living is finding what makes you happy… brightest blessings to you and yours on your road!

Courtesy of Zen Pencils

Finding the way to Simple Living… one step at a time

If you like this and want to see more, click on the picture or go to zenpencils.com

MOO for Business, an account management service for small businesses.

Kitchen Safety & Salmonella

What is Salmonella?

Salmonella enterocolitis is one of the most common types of food-borne illness and it occurs when you have ingested the bacteria causing an infection in the lining of the small intestine.

As we all should be aware of by now, raw chicken, raw turkey and improperly stored eggs carry salmonella and should be handled with care.  You do not want raw poultry or anything that touches it, to touch anything else, without being properly cleaned first.  This includes knives, cutting boards, dishes and most especially, your hands.

Back in my restaurant management days I had to go through ServSafe training.  ServSafe is a comprehensive training program developed by the National Restaurant Association on proper food handling and foodborne illness and pathogens.  During the course of the training, they had us put on hand lotion that was UV light reflective.  We were then sent to go wash our hands, complete with antibacterial soap.  Upon returning, absolutely sure that we had done a wonderful job, our trainer shut off the overhead light and came around the room with the UV light.

As you’ve probably guessed by now, none of us got to feel the sense of accomplishment that we’d hoped for as we saw the creases of our hands and the corners of our nail beds glow with pseudo-bacteria.


Bacteria under a microscope
Bacteria under a microscope


A Change of Thinking

Many cookbook authors over the years, recommended washing chicken before preparing it. Now researchers at Drexel University and New Mexico State University have launched a PSA that debunks the widely accepted best poultry practice in just 14 seconds.

If you are washing poultry, you are basically splattering bacteria all over the sink, the countertops, your forearms—everywhere that some stray bit of water might be splattered.  According to NPR, “Some studies suggest bacteria can fly up to 3 feet away from where your meat is rinsed—though you can’t necessarily see it.”  It doesn’t have to be soaked to be contaminated

There’s a less gross reason to keep your chicken far, far away from the faucet and that is that wet meat doesn’t brown as readily. o if you’re making a roast chicken or your holiday turkey, the drier the skin is when you pop that bird in the oven, the more burnished and flavorful and crispy the skin will become. Yum!