RECIPE: herbal tea

It’s cold season around here.
We are all sneezing, sniffling, coughing, and wiping our runny noses.

My favorite cure for scratchy throats and congestion headaches is herbal tea.

1/2 inch long piece of fresh ginger (peeled)
1 lemongrass stalk
1 Tablespoon honey
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon or lime juice
Hot Water (or black tea)

Mix together, and let steep for 5 or more minutes. The longer it steeps the stronger the ginger and lemongrass will be.

Even if it’s 85 degrees out, my sickies enjoy this tea.

How To: Make popcorn

Step One: harvest, and then dry your corn in the eaves.

Step Two: shuck your corn. Heat a little oil in a frying pan, over a wood fire. Add the corn kernels. Continue to move the pan around, finding the sweet spots of heat, until the last corn kernels have popped.


thoughts on canned foods

The other day, one of our friends was in our house and picked up a can of Spam type stuff. He was amazed by the technology that could create such a thing. He loves the fact that the “pork” is so smooth, and compressed.

I come at it all from an entirely different angle. “Modern” things like canned foods have so many problems with them: BPA in the cans, preservatives, unnecessary additives.

It seems like my culture (post-industrial) are walking away from canned, processed, factory-made
to the much healthier natural, free range, slow foods.
While our neighbors (pre-industrial) are walking away from fruit of the land, wild food, SLOWLY processed
to factory made, highly sugared and salted, preservative loaded food.

They want “modern”, we want “natural”. For me natural doesn’t equal that my kids will die easier or that I have to work incredibly hard for all of my food. But for my friends and neighbors that’s exactly what it means.

Factories provide easy food, and powerful medicines.

So let’s meet in the middle. I want to encourage my neighbors and friends to pass on the knowledge of natural plant medicines, and slow down the consumption of processed foods…but at the same time help them find the proper Western medicines if they need them.

a package wish list

I love making lists. Especially, since Evernote came into my life. And, since I hung a whiteboard in my room. And, since I bought a cute little notebook just perfect for list making.

I guess my life makes list making necessary…and the fact that I’m only sort of an organized person. I have a market list, a town on the coast list, a bigger town list, a capital city list, an internet list, and a things that we like to get in packages list.

I know this seems like shameless begging, but I’m mostly just hoping to help you out 🙂 Next time someone asks, “what can we send you?” I won’t say, “ummm…I don’t know…whatever”. Instead, I’ll say, “I wrote up a list, I’m being so organized,” or something like that.
OR if you have another friend who lives far from home, you can use this list to shop for them…maybe they’ll thank me.

Summer Sausage or Chorizo or other vacuum packed meat
Pepperoni (small bags)
REAL Bacon Bits (small bags are nice, so they don’t go bad up in the mountains where we don’t have refrigeration)
Beef Jerky

Drink Mixes
Starbucks Via packs
Starbucks Hot Chocolate packs…salted caramel is AMAZING
Apple Cider
Flavored Milk straws


Season Salt
Taco Mix
Fajita Mix
Chili Mix
Enchilada Mix
Powdered Cheese Sauce
Other spice mixes?
Ranch dressing mix
Mayonnaise packets (small ones, we don’t have refrigeration to keep them cool…we also love Chick Fil’A honey mustard packs, etc)

Safari Limited Toobs (they have animals of the world, landmarks of the world…)
Crocodile Creek Puzzles (we have Space and the ABC’s)

Books/Audio Books
We love any educational type books…illustrated how things work type books…or historical books…diagrams… English books like that are super expensive here.
USED is FANTASTIC, when it comes to books, we really don’t mind if they’ve been a bit loved on first.
Better World Books has an excellent selection of used and new books, AND they have free worldwide shipping.

Books by Richard Scarry
Books by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Books by Roald Dahl
Books by Beverly Cleary
Magic Tree House Books
  1. Midnight on the Moon
  2. Dolphins at Daybreak
  3. Gost Town at Sundown
  4. Lions at Lunch Time
  5. Polar Bears past Bedtime
  6. Day of the Dragon King
  7. Viking Ships at Sunrise
  8. Hour of the Olympics
  9. and so on…just ask…we might or might not already have it.
The Blue Fairy Book by Andrew Lang
Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink
Davy Crockett, Young Rifleman by Aileen Wells Parks
Sacagawea: American Pathfinder by Flora Warren Seymour
The Saturdays by Elizabeth Enright
The Railway children by Edith Nesbit
The Reluctant Dragon by Kenneth Grahame
The Light Princess by George MacDonald
How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell
The Happy Hollisters by Jerry West
Pollyanna by Eleanor Porter
The Giant Crab and Other Tales from Old India by WHD rouse
A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson

Package Hints
We can get nice toy cars, toiletries, and most fun food stuff (except what I mentioned above).
Don’t worry about wrapping things, customs always opens them. If you want to you can include wrapping paper…though we can get it in the city.

PLEAST TAKE OFF THE TAGS, WRAPPERS, and PRICES. If it’s a book go ahead and write our name in it. We won’t be returning it or reselling it…and it helps us with customs charges if it’s clearly not for resale, and if it’s “used”.
Also, write the yard sale value of the item, and not the new price on the customs slip.
Finally, write “gift, not for resale” on the customs slip…just to cover all of our bases.

How To: harvest cassava root


How to harvest cassava

Harvest process


I forgot to include: take the roots home and wash them. They can then be stored for a few days until you are ready to cook them.

Our favorite way to eat Cassava root is to peel it, slice it, and fry it like french fries. Second favorite, boiled and eaten with fried tomato salsa. I also love the leaves boiled (you have to cook them really good), and then sauteed with garlic, shallots, papaya flowers, and lemongrass (recipe to follow).

RECIPE: fried tomato salsa

Yes. This is a recipe for FRIED TOMATO SALSA. Yes, FRIED. But, it’s in coconut oil…so…um…

It’s addictive if you like some heat in your life.

4 shallots
2 cloves of garlic
7 small red Asian peppers
1/2 tsp salt
10 small tomatoes (or 4-5 large tomatoes, or 15 cherry tomatoes)
1/4 c coconut oil (or oil of your choice)

So, here’s the process.
Peel and slice the shallots and garlic. Split open the peppers. Smash garlic, shallots, and peppers with salt (the salt makes it easier to smash) in a mortar and pestle. This can also be done sans salt in a food processor.
Quarter the tomatoes. Heat the oil in the pan, coconut oil smokes somewhat easily (not as easily as olive oil), so keep the heat medium-high. Once the oil is hot add the garlic, shallot, and pepper smash. Fry until the smell good, but not quite brown. Add the tomatoes and continue to fry, smooshing the tomatoes with the back of a spoon, until everything is well combined. Once combined and cooked through (about 5 minutes), remove from heat.