Basic Sourdough Cookies

This humble, soft cookie is tasty, slightly tangy, and versatile.

Not sure about yours, but my sourdough is really going rather well in the warmer temperatures.  One day this past week I had plenty of bread already and was looking for something different to make with sourdough, and tried these cookies.  They were a success, so much so that I made another, slightly varied batch the next day.

 

Basic Sourdough Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (or 1 stick) butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup sourdough starter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 – 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup salt

These are the basic ingredients, and the cookies are very tasty just like this.  For variations, add any of the following or experiment with what you like best:

  • chocolate chips
  • raisins
  • walnuts
  • coconut flakes
  • pecans

Directions

Cream sugar with butter, sourdough starter, egg and vanilla extract, in that order.  In a separate bowl, sift together the dry ingredients (minimum amount of flour, baking powder and baking soda, salt).

Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, then adjust the amount of flour necessary depending on how liquid your sourdough starter is, and how absorbent your flour, making a somewhat spongy dough.

Preheat oven to 350ºF and grease two baking sheets.

Drop dough by the teaspoon on the greased baking sheets, leaving a bit of space so the cookies can rise.  Bake for about 10 minutes.  Remove from baking sheet onto a rack and let cool.

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Basic Sourdough Cookies with Chocolate Chips

Connie’s Baked Onion

Enjoy this episode of “Connie’s Camp Cooking” and glean various yummy recipes.

Lonnie and Connie from ‘Far North Bushcraft And Survival’ – they are located in Alaska – uploaded a campfire cooking video that we found both entertaining and informative.  Yesterday we tried the onion recipe and it turned out very delicious indeed.  Her sweet potato bread is next!

For her baked onion, Connie cuts the onion into wedges (as shown in the featured image), puts butter between the wedges and a bouillon cube in the middle, wraps and seals it all with aluminum foil and then just bakes it in the coals.  We did the same, but put the onion into the oven together with a bunch of oven potatoes and baked it all for an hour or so at 350ºF.

For the bread, Connie uses equal amounts of flour and cooked sweet potato (or pumpkin) mash and some salt, mixes it together until it can be rolled out or formed into patties, and then fries it in butter in a skillet.

But watch her do it, it’s much better than just reading about it.  And note her cobbler recipe that is printed in the video description.

Herbal Household Remedies: Mint

Most plants of the mint family have a wonderful fragrance and can be used in various ways. Check out this link to find out more.

Here is an interesting article on the OFA‘s website about mint and its uses.  If you have some in your yard, you know just how prolific all the mint family plants are.  Make use of them instead of fighting them as ‘weeds’!

12 USES FOR MINT LEAVES FROM HEALTH TO HOME

How do you use extra mint leaves? Here are 12 marvelous uses for mint around the home and garden—from culinary to medicinal to mouthwash to bug repellent!

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All images on this post are straight from the article we are linking to, only slightly edited

Link: Harbinger of Spring Look-Alikes: Dead Nettle & Henbit — The Herb Society of America Blog

Dead Nettle is just beginning to take off in the yard. Have a look at this great post about uses of it!

By Susan Belsinger

The first spring wildflowers, herbs, and weeds are popping out all over. Two that frequently appear together are both members of the mint family, Lamiaceae: dead nettle (Lamium purpureum) and henbit (Lamium amplexicaule).

via Harbinger of Spring Look-Alikes: Dead Nettle & Henbit — The Herb Society of America Blog

Disclaimer: The author of this blog is not an medical professional, nutritionist, or dietitian. Content on this website is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to substitute for legal or medical advice, or medical treatment or diagnosis. Consult your health care provider if you are experiencing any symptoms and before using any herbal product or beginning a new health regimen. When wildcrafting or foraging for plants, do so ethically; be accompanied by an expert; and always have absolute certainty of plant identification before using or consuming any herbs. By using any or all of this information, you do so at your own risk. Any application of the material provided is at the reader’s discretion and is his or her sole responsibility.

Herbal Household Remedies: Dandelion

“Dandelions are Nature’s way of giving dignity to weeds!”

Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) grows in abundance all over the fruited plains.  It’s a perennial with deeply cut leaves forming a basal rosette in the spring and flower heads born on long, hollow, milk-sapped stalks.  Both leaves and flower stems grow directly from the rootstock.  The root itself is surprisingly long, going straight into the ground.  Its root is one of the reasons why dandelion leaves are so healthy: The plant pulls its nutrients from deep in the soil and thus is chock full of vitamins A, B, C, and D as well as minerals such as iron, potassium, and zinc.

dandelion

Dandelion tea is for good for hypertension (high blood pressure):  In the spring, dandelion leaves and roots produce mannitol which is used in the treatment of high blood pressure and a weak heart.  A tea made from dandelion roots and leaves is good to take during this period, from about mid-March to mid-May.  In this tea, both root and leaves should be used fresh.

Dandelion tea also helps reduce fever during childhood infections like mumps, measles and chicken pox, and is excellent for upper respiratory infections like chronic bronchitis and even pneumonia.  For this tea, dried roots and leaves are used.

Below are the two tea recipes, the first for high blood pressure, the second for childhood infections.

Dandelion Tea for Hypertension

For dandelion tea, bring one quart of water to a boil, reduce heat and add about 2 Tbl cleaned and chopped fresh roots.  Simmer for 1 minute, covered, then remove from heat and add 2 Tbl chopped, freshly picked leaves.  Steep for 40 minutes.  Strain and drink 2 cups per day.

Dandelion Tea for Childhood Infections and Upper Respiratory Infections

Bring 1 quart of water to a boil.  Reduce heat and add 2 1/2 Tbl dried, cut dandelion root and simmer, covered, for 12 minutes.  Remove from heat and add 3 tsp dried, cut leaves.  Steep for half an hour.  Strain and sweeten with 1 tsp of pure maple syrup or 1 tsp of blackstrap molasses per cup of tea and give to the child, lukewarm, every 5 hours or so until the fever breaks and the lung congestion clears up.


 

Disclaimer: The author is not an medical professional, nutritionist, or dietitian. Content on this website is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to substitute for legal or medical advice, or medical treatment or diagnosis. Consult your health care provider if you are experiencing any symptoms and before using any herbal product or beginning a new health regimen. When wildcrafting or foraging for plants, do so ethically and always have absolute certainty of plant identification before using or consuming any herbs. By using any or all of this information, you do so at your own risk. Any application of the material provided is at the reader’s discretion and is his or her sole responsibility.

Our Own Dear John Ronald: The New Normal

Bread rather than jam.

At any rate, Niggle got no pleasure out of life, not what he had been used to call pleasure.  He was certainly not amused.  But it could not be denied that he began to have a feeling of – well satisfaction: bread rather than jam.  He could take up a task the moment one bell rang, and lay it aside promptly the moment the next one went, all tidy and ready to be continued at the right time.  He got through quite a lot in a day, now; he finished small things off neatly.  He had no ‘time of his own’ (except alone in his bed-cell), and yet he was becoming master of his time; he began to know just what he could do with it.  There was no sense of rush.  He was quieter inside now, and at resting time he could really rest.

~J.R.R. Tolkien: Leaf by Niggle

leaf tree

The above quote finds Niggle in Purgatory.  He has been there for some time already, and now, after getting over all his ‘I wish I had’-s and ‘I should have’-s and ‘I should not have’-s, after worrying enough about things he could not change anymore, he begins to concern himself with the tasks he has been given in this new place where he now resides, the Workhouse.

It is a passage that deserves a bit of pondering, besides the obvious connection with Tolkien’s own much-discussed issue of keeping deadlines and getting distracted by too many things.  If you will, just take the first three sentences and think about them, particularly in connection with what’s going on in the world right now and how life has changed, quite possibly for good.  In every situation, there is also an opportunity.  One can learn much from Niggle.

At any rate, Niggle got no pleasure out of life, not what he had been used to call pleasure.  He was certainly not amused.  But it could not be denied that he began to have a feeling of – well satisfaction: bread rather than jam.

Illustrations by Alan Lee

Herbal Household Remedies: Reconsidering Over-Socializing

‘Social distancing’ appears to be a scary thing for many.

No herb talk today – again! – because I have something else on my mind.  In these days of virus fear and quarantine, people are told to practice ‘social distancing’, even that social distancing is something they might have to continue practicing after the immediate threat of this virus has passed.  It seems that the term ‘social distancing’ has become something dreaded, as though life were over when one cannot freely socialize (or travel, for that matter) anymore.

Maybe instead of dreading what is to come – a very unhealthy attitude indeed – we can ponder what was because we do know what was, whereas what is to be is altogether speculative.  In other words, instead of fretting about ‘social distancing’, ponder the amount of socializing that people have become accustomed to.

Is it truly necessary to spend every waking moment in the company of ‘friends’, physical or virtual?  Or indeed, in the company of people other than your immediate family?  How about enjoying some quiet time all by yourself?  Do you even know, let alone have any control over what is going on inside your head?  It is the only thing you truly COULD have control over, you know, if you just put the effort into it.  How much time do you normally spend pondering things, or reading for meditative purposes rather than entertainment or education?  Any at all?  This time of ‘social distancing’ could be a wonderful time for turning inwards, if only you dared.

At least, let this time of ‘social distancing’ be a time to reconsider the over-socializing that has become the new normal.  Social distancing is what used to be normal.  Only then, it was called discretion, indicating a cautious reserve in word and deed.

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Our Own Dear John Ronald: Undone

‘There is plenty of material here: canvas, wood, waterproof paint.’ – ‘My picture!’ exclaimed Niggle.

‘There now!’ said the Inspector.  ‘You’ll have to go; but it’s a bad way to start on your journey, leaving your jobs undone.  Still, we can at least make some use of this canvas now.’

‘Oh dear!’ said poor Niggle, beginning to weep.

~ J.R.R. Tolkien

When you go, how will the jobs be taken care of that you did not finish?  For Niggle, his beloved tree ends up in bits and pieces as shingles for his neighbor’s leaky roof.

Although for Tolkien unfinished jobs were also quite a literal problem, learning from Niggle’s experience is useful for spiritual jobs, if you will, as well.  Focus helps.  There are things to tackle.  It’s a bad way to start on your journey, leaving your jobs undone.

leaf tree

Herbal Household Remedies: Home

Home is where the heart is.

Among all the news about Covid 19 and the recent developments in Italy, the tidbit that struck me the most was that having to stay home purportedly took the joy right out of life for many Italians.

It makes me wonder.  How common is it that people do not actually like to be home?  Do people not like their families, significant others or pets, for that matter, well enough to actually spend time with them?  What’s wrong with staying home that it would deprive people of what makes life worth living?

I guess the thrust of my health-considerations for today is clear by now:  How healthy can it be to call a place ‘home’ that you don’t actually like to be at?  Where do people prefer to spend their time that being home is experienced as such a burden?

Here is something to consider:  Many people even of our grandparent’s generation still spent most of their life living in the same area, and most of their days in or around the house or homestead.  In fact, for by far the larger chunk of human history, spending time with your family or clan was the normal, traditional way of life.  Neither extensive circles of friends, nor many hours spent shopping or being entertained otherwise, nor extensive travel were part of people’s lives, surely not on a regular basis.  Consequently, people were a lot less concerned about other people’s business and a lot more concerned with their own, and put a good bit of effort into making their living place a home indeed.

Every crisis is also an opportunity.  Maybe we can use this pandemic to reconsider our lifestyles and turn our houses into homes again, places where we love to spend time rather than places that we flee.  It’s the way our ancestors lived.

Home is where the heart is.  If you do not have a home, where, pray tell, is your heart?

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Happy puppy

Herbal Household Remedies: Do Yourself a Favor

Less is more, did you know?

Did you know that among the good things you can do for yourself is achieving something?  If you do something with your own hands, or achieve something by your own strength of will, that’s a very healthy thing for you.

Right now is the time when some religiously inclined people do the annual Lenten fast, that is, they do something, or refrain from doing something for forty days (and a week), between Ash Wednesday and Easter Saturday night.  Some do not watch TV during this time.  Some stop eating chocolate.  Some pray the Rosary or the Chaplet of Saint Michael every day.  Some work on a particular flaw they feel they have, like their volatile temper or their laziness.  Some stay away from coffee.  Some fast.  Some read a chapter of the Bible every day.  Some start visiting lonely community members.  Some do not use social media.  Some do not buy their usual morning drink at a local fast-food chain every day but save the money and donate it to a charity at the end of their fast.  The list, in fact, is endless.

What all these seemingly unrelated things have in common is this:  If you do any of them, you are doing yourself a favor.  In all of us, there is always room for improvement.  If we pick one of the constructions sites of the Self to work on for 40 days, the good we learn during this time will have become a habit.  After all, it takes only 21 days to form a habit, or so they say.  If you take your spring fast seriously, no matter which form it takes, you will come away with a definite sense of achievement that adds to your quality of life more than a cup of coffee or a piece of chocolate ever will.

Try it out!  And I sure hope you are not wondering what all this has to do with Herbal Household Remedies.

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