Senate bean soup

A bowl of the famous Senate bean soup served in the Dirksen Building, September 2014.

Senate bean soup is another bean dish we do regularly around here as part of our Dead Cheap Meals.

As with most of my bean soups, ham broth is preferred, though beef broth, chicken broth or my mock broth would work.

You also need a small amount of ham as per my method of processing a half ham or just some leftover ham.

my grow-light system

my indoor light stand

My apologies in advance as this is an image-heavy post and I'm a crappy photographer. Further, given where this is located in my house, it's nearly impossible to get a shot of the whole thing.

So... there are such things as light stands for starting seeds. Before I lived here, I never needed one, I used a windowsill. But here with stone walls, the windowsill is so thick the light just doesn't get through. Seedlings get all leggy here.

morning routine - lemon juice

lemon water

There's a bunch of so-called reasons out there for drinking water with fresh lemon juice in it first thing every morning.

IMNSHO, most of them are hogwash. Sure, lemons contain vitamin C, pectin and potassium, but not enough to do anything. Unless you're juicing scores of lemon, the health benefits are minimal.

Also, I am not a morning person. I need a huge dose of coffee first thing in the morning. Then I need to sit like a lump until it hits me. So nothing else is going to happen first thing in the morning until after that!

But once I'm wakened enough to face the day without growling, the first step of my morning routine is to juice half a lemon.

Lemon juice makes the medicine go down... or something.

Spanish beans and rice

Spanish beans & rice

As I pointed out in dead cheap meals, I stretch the expense of pastured meat by cooking a bean dish at least weekly.

My Spanish beans &amp rice recipe depends on having a small amount of ham, which I generate in batches by processing a half ham.

It also calls for broth and I prefer ham broth. But beef broth will work too, or you can fake it with store-bought broth, dolomite and gelatin.

disabled gardening

raised bed built for gardening while disabled

In May of 2007, I had a myocardial infarction and was hospitalized for well over a week and then came home bedridden. Hundreds of seedlings I had started died. :(

I spent much of the next couple years bedridden, including 2 winters where my husband was an over-the-road truck driver, so the winters were particularly depressing. Eventually, getting my adrenals sorted out, my reverse T3 reversed and eating much real food, I was much improved and wanted to garden again.

Gardening is a practical hobby in that organic vegetables are very expensive, so you can easily save way more money than it costs to do. But I didn't restart gardening to save money. Nor to feed my family. I began again because gardening feeds my soul and mine was starved.

real food for busy women - ginger, turmeric, juice & a fast nourishing meal each day

I have lots of topics to cover and it may wind up a bit convoluted, but they're all related in my real life.

hot, sweet ginger

(sounds vaguely naughty)

I love fresh ginger, and it's got one of the highest antioxidant levels of any vegetable, so well worth eating.

I also discovered early in my marriage that my husband will eat almost any big pile of vegetables if ginger, garlic and tamari are involved (similarly, my daughter would eat nearly any vegetable under a cheese sauce).

So ginger is on the menu here. However, if you buy just enough ginger for the next meal or two, you run out. If you buy a bigger hand and don't use it in time, it goes green and moldy before you get to it.

I want fresh ginger and I want it available all the time and I don't want it green.

not quite a recipe post - eggplant experiment

eggplant stirfry

I grew 3 types of eggplants last year.

I grew the Casper variety, which is supposed to be early. I don't know as I was in Texas when they would've been being early. They are white and I got my seed from Seed Savers Exchange.

I grew Rosa Bianca cause they are pretty. No other reason really. I got that seed from Fedco.

Also from Fedco, I grew Diamond eggplant, an open-pollinated black eggplant. Basically, I was unsure I'd like the white or rose colored stuff; always get black at the store. So this was my backup eggplant.

Here's what they looked like...

Dead Cheap Meals

bean soup

Today, I am a magician. I shall take a single pound of ham, bacon or sausage and feed a hungry truck driver and a disabled chick two big dinners with loads of leftovers for lunch. ABRACADABRA!

I do this almost every week. Basically... eggs and beans are the answer! >>TADA<<

vaccinations - any middle ground out there?

vaccine kit

The sarcasm-impaired should note that this post is full of it.

The first thing I think of with all this social media hoopla about vaccinations on both the pro and con side are the Amish. Guess it's cause I live here in central PA. The Amish generally don't vaccinate. They also don't get on Facebook and argue with those who want to pass laws making it compulsory. I dunno, maybe we should make them drive cars instead of buggies too. And get out of those ridiculous clothes.

In short, I am surrounded by an unvaccinated community, in fact, I buy both most of my meat and dairy from them, and I have not seen any huge measles outbreaks occurring in the 13 years I've lived here. There was an outbreak in Ohio last year, which effected no one other than the Amish; they evidence I see indicates they are likely are not killing the rest of us.

You read that above and think I'm in the anti-vaccine camp. You don't know about the chiropractor who setup an anti-vaccine display in his office and immediately lost me as a client now and forever. His material included an opposition to polio vaccines. I had a science teacher in middle school who still used canes due to his childhood polio. I don't want that shit coming back. I'm not supporting a business that supports polio.

eat your vegetables


A few years back, I saw Dr. Wahls' Tedx talk, "Minding Your Mitochondria".

Dr. Wahls had multiple sclerosis and became disabled to the degree that she was confined to a zero-gravity wheelchair when the tilt-recline became insufficient.

She did a bunch of research about what was necessary to fuel the mitochondria, the powerhouse of the cells. First, she went paleo, but that wasn't sufficient. Next, she added a whole bunch of various vegetables to her diet and she got well. Her Tedx talk ends with her on a bicycle!

If you haven't seen it, the YouTube shows below; I highly recommend you take a few minutes to see it if you haven't.