Thursday, January 16, 2014

Kitchen Appliances for Living off the Grid

Living off the grid and reducing our everything footprint has led us to going manual in the kitchen. We had to look at the appliances that we have and use almost daily and find replacements that would do as good a job, or better. What I have in my kitchen is these:

These four appliances have served me for the past 6 to 11 years. They all carry rather a hefty price tag (which you can see if you click on the photos) and, in total, cost about $1,000.

When I looked for manual appliances, I found that they actually did more than my electric machines and produced a higher quality of food. The ones used the most are the stand mixer and the blender.

My stand mixer will be replaced by my hand, a whisk, and stainless steel hand beaters. I have already made it virtually obsolete. I spent last summer manually mixing and kneading in these stainless steel bowls. The sizes range from about 8 inches in diameter to about 18 inches.
  I realized that the stand mixer was not only unnecessary, but also had capacity limitations. I now have 4 bowls of varying sizes to prepare various things at the same time, rather than one fixed size bowl. I have also learned that spending the 5 minutes or so to knead the bread by hand produces better results.

As for the blender, this hand-crank blender is on the shopping list for this summer. At less than 1/3 the price of my existing blender we can do everything, including crushing ice and making smoothies.

However, because I grind flour, other grains, and make nut butters in my existing blender, I also got this mill for all our grinding needs. It stone grinds flour and grains and has steel burrs to make far superior nut butters without losing the nutrients from heat that the blender generates.

Both of these appliances together cost less than my existing blender and do more, with superior nutrient retention.

The centrifugal juicer was never the best of options because masticating juicers provide a higher quality juice with more nutrients in tact. This is my manual replacement for our juicer...a better juicer at around the same price, or less.
My food processor will be replaced with the stainless steel food more plastic and my food doesn't just get pureed, mashed, riced, but also skinned, cored, and seeded...a BIG plus.

Al hamdu l'Illah, the replacement manual appliances cost just half of the existing appliances and are built to last a lifetime.I may even be able to sell the existing appliances and totally cover the cost of the manual ones inshaa Allah. The deal closer on all this is the free workout and fit, firm upper arms we will have, inshaa Allah. No flabby upper arms at Healing Earth Ranch, inshaa Allah!

Monday, January 13, 2014

HENNA: A Free e-book on healthy nutrition!

Had to share this free e-book issued by the Weston A. Price Organization.

This is a simple to read and understand book, which includes some simple, delicious recipes. An excellent primer or summary of the key points from Nouirishing Traditions and Dr. Weston A. Price's publications.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

What we're reading in January 2014

Each month, we will share with you what we are reading, inshaa Allah. Each post will include books read by all our family members for expanding our knowledge for homesteading, health and nutrition, learning new skills, self-help, school, and beneficial enjoyment.You will notice that a couple may be classified as fiction books, but they have been carefully chosen to meet our criteria, which means they are based on true stories and experiences with names and minor details changed for anonymity. As with all things, we take the good from these books and align or enhance them with Islamic legislation, and discard the rest. You can click on a book cover to find out more about it.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Homemade Salves

Bism Illah.

For the past few months we have been making our own salves. It takes about 10 minutes to melt the oils with the beeswax and pour it into the jars. It is child's play; after one try you may well wonder why you didn't do it before...and feel like you want to make salve for all your loved ones!

In general, you will find that the Camp Wander website is a good resource for learning about essential oils for your daily needs. There are many other wonderful recipes on there for homemade personal care, however for now I am just giving links to the salves that I made.

- Homemade All-Purpose Healing Salve
We use this for everything from moisturizing to first aid for cuts and scrapes to rashes to hair pomade! You name it, we slap some on and call it "Mother's Love!"

- Anti-Aging and Eye-Health Salve
This has the same ingredients recommended to stroke around your eyes for better eye health and anti aging properties for your skin. Smells great and makes great gifts if put into nice little pots. Inshaa Allah, I will take a photo of my salve in jars and in little gift pots and add it to this post.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

HENNA: Food and Health Reading Resources

Bism Illah

The website, Weston A Price Foundation, has a wealth of information on food and health that is very enlightening. In addition, the book Nourishing Traditions was recommended to me by a dear sister, and has proved to be well in line with our own nutritional research and ideologies. This one simple book covers everything from the chemistry of food groups to vitamin supplements, cookware to critique of famous eating theories, food quality to recipes. It is highly recommended reading and will enable any reader of this blog to understand the reasoning behind what is posted under HENNA and in the soon to be added Resources page. However, please understand that we take from these resources what is good and in line with the tenets of Islam. All that opposes Islam and what is legislated therein is exempt from our recommendation and should be disregarded/discarded.

Another great blessing is the recent article on Health and Sickness in the Light of Islaam. We have been waiting for such an article to be written, maashaa Allah. It is only when Muslims understand that the food they eat and their eating habits are an integral part of their Islaam, that inshaa Allah, lasting, positive change will come about. Islaam guides us to the prevention, which in itself is the cure.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

HENNA One Week Rejuvenating Cleanse

Bism Illah.

A cleanse should not deprive the body of food or nutrients. Rather, it should bombard the body with powerful foods that empower the system to cleanse, heal, and thrive. This is based on Islam – we simply replace the bad with the good, and open the door to barakaat, inshaa Allah. In addition, the Prophet’s way of eating was an ideal, which we would do well not to mess with, so healthy protein should be included in the form of meat, poultry, and eggs. It should include milk if it was raw, but as it is transformed into a dead food (and usually a hormone and anti-biotic laden one, too), it might be counterproductive in a cleansing/rejuvenating  diet. After the week, seek out raw milk if possible. Barring that, focusing  more on yogurt, laban, kefir, and cheese, is a way to troubleshoot the milk issue as they are cultured, and so more readily digestible. Avoid all refined products – this includes crystalline sugar. Honey or date syrup are both fine and nutritious sweeteners, in moderation.

This cleanse is derived from many different nutritional theories, but much of this based on a completely wholefood diet incorporating live foods (macrobiotics), cultured and fermented foods (probiotics), raw, and highly alkaline foods (non-acid forming). It draws on most healthy practices, but is generally in line with the book Fit for Life. Please remember that it is just for a week. After that, keep the things that really work for you and make adjustments that are more comfortable for your lifestyle AND healthy.

First Thing
a.m. Snack
p.m. Snack
Warm water with squeezed wedge of fresh lemon

Smoothie – see base recipe in notes below
Bee pollen – 1 teaspoon per adult, 2-3 grains for children.
Fruit salad, fresh carrot apple and ginger juice, any piece of fruit, herbal infusion, fennel, thyme, mint,  or green tea
Master salad – see basic guidelines in the notes below
Handful of raw nuts, trail mix,
fresh coconut,  dates, herbal infusion, fennel, thyme, mint, or green tea
Meat and vegetable stew
Baked sweet potatoes with stir fried veggies with cashews
Chicken and roasted vegetables
Chunky vegetable and potato stew
Lasagna – vegetable or meat and vegetable (use zucchini strips instead of pasta.)
Grilled burgers or fish with green beans in red sauce and marinated Mediterranean vegetable kabobs
Spicy lamb, squash, and okra stew

Breakfast - From morning up to lunch time, only fruit – this makes the first half of your day, after fasting overnight, a period of elimination and cleansing while providing the body with natural vitamins, minerals, and sugars to energize and hydrate. There is no need to drink water, unless thirsty, during this morning period as everything has a high water content.

Morning Snack – the morning snack stays in the fresh fruit category.

Lunch - If lunch is your lighter meal and dinner is the heavier one, then focus on making the lunch a master salad. This will be a salad filled with a variety of colors (think of things like tomatoes, raw grated beets, carrots, radishes, avocado, and colored peppers for bright color amongst the greens) and some live food – sprouted beans or wheat berries, nuts, seeds of some sort and cilantro/parsley. Also try to include some fermented food such as kimchee, sauerkraut, grated carrot, etc. Cilantro is important because it rids the body of buildup of metals. Use a dressing based on apple cider vinegar or fresh lemon juice, olive oil, herbs, a little mustard if you like, sea salt and pepper.
Avoid grains during this week unless they are sprouted, such as sprouted wheat, barley, or millet. That means no rice, bread, or flour products, or oats - unless sprouted
Afternoon Snack – Afternoon snacks should be energizing and nutrient packed. Keep on hand a trail mix made up of raw nuts, unsulfured dried fruit like figs, apricots, raisins, and dates (actually dates are the safest because the other dried fruits are usually sulfured), and some date/nut balls or date coconut balls. The dried fruits are concentrated carbohydrate; they don’t fall into the same category as the fresh fruit in the morning. It could also be a glass of laban, raw milk, or a cup of plain yogurt...or yogurt and cucumber salad with mint and garlic.

Dinner - This is where you eat the hot meal of cooked food. This should leave you feeling satisfied and comfortable so you don’t eat again until breakfast time. This meal should be food combined, so don’t mix proteins with carbohydrates. Either a carbohydrate meal of vegetables and potatoes (sweet potatoes are better because they don’t hold onto pesticides) or poultry, meat, fish, or eggs with vegetables. Chunky stews, either including meat, or starches like sweet potatoes, pumpkin, or butternut squash work well. Also baked sweet potatoes with stir fried veggies and cashews or almonds. There are some meals listed in the Dinner section of the chart, but they are only suggestions. 


Smoothie - The smoothies in this menu contain only fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds (with some spices). The most popular and sustaining smoothie we enjoy is this:

¼ cup raw almonds (soaked for 24 hours, or overnight, in water)
Dash of vanilla
Tablespoon flax meal (only include this if you will drink it immediately)

Blend with a cup of water until creamy

Then add frozen bananas to the top of the blender and a dash of nutmeg or cinnamon. Blend until thick and creamy. We eat this like soft serve ice cream (and call it “Better than Ice-Cream” and it’s really popular with babies, maashaa Allah)

For any smoothie, use a base of raw almonds with water for your cream base and add the fruits and vegetables, vanilla, cinnamon, or other warm spices. The basic smoothie can have less banana and some other sweet  fruit added, as well as a bunch of raw spinach or broccoli  to make a delicious green smoothie. Complimentary fruits are apples, pears, strawberries, grapes. pineapple, mango, and kiwi.

Fruit salad - Cut up the fruits into small pieces: a selection with a base of apple or pear with orange, kiwi, peaches or nectarines, mango, pomegranate, etc. Keep this in a big bowl in the fridge ready for any sweet treat, snack attack. It is far more appealing than a simple piece of fruit. 

Juice – If you have a juicer, then a mid-morning carrot apple and ginger juice will make your eyes POP open and your brain sizzle. 6 large carrots to one apple to 1 inch of ginger. Ahhh!

Sprouts – Brown or green whole lentils sprout very easily, as do fenugreek and sesame seeds. If you sprout mung beans, you will have the ever popular bean sprouts that are so often in stir fries. You can also sprout wheat berries, which are sweet and delicious, or whole barley. 

And Allah is the One who gives Healing and Success!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Emulating our Pious Predecessors in our Food

Bism Illah.
Okay, I'm a die hard extremist. A fundamentalist to the roots. But here it is, my "issue of the day" for all those who care to chew on it. (Pardon the pun, lol!)

Have you ever considered what the Prophet ﷺ and the Sahabah ate? Have you ever considered that emulating the life of the Prophet ﷺ should include food? For me, it is all part and parcel of my Islam, so here is what I have to put on the table. (Oh, I'm just too punny today!)

Did bleached sugar exist during the time of the Prophet ﷺ?
Did bleached rice exist during the time of the Prophet ﷺ?
Did bleached or white flour exist during the time of the Prophet ﷺ?
Come to think of it, did bleach exist during the time of the Prophet ﷺ?
Did they have freezers and cupboards full of canned goods?
Did they have out of season vegetables irradiated and flown across the world so that that they could enjoy blueberries in December?
Did they have hydrogenation plants at the time of the Prophet ﷺ to process our oil to within a molecule of plastic?
What about chemical pesticides? Chemical preservatives? Artificial coloring? Artificial flavoring? Artificial anything?

If you all are in the "know", and answered "no", then perhaps you are getting the drift... that foods during the time of the Prophet ﷺ were what we now term "organic". They were whole, unprocessed, natural.... and nutrient rich.

Why didn't issues about whether mono and di-glycerides being halal come up then? Because all that never existed! And where did all the disease of modern day come from... processed foods, chemicals, preservatives, pesticides.

What is the first thing the doctor tells you if you are diabetic? Eat whole grains, whole wheat bread and pasta, brown rice, cut out the refined sugars. Masha'Allah, the doctor is advising you to follow the Sunnah!

So to all who say they are striving to emulate the life and times of the Prophet ﷺ and the Sahabah, please think about the food.They were the Original Islamic Green Movement... self-sufficient, organic, natural, whole grain, with seasonal and locally grown foods. I see many of us eating highly processed foods. Does the Sunnah end where the stomach, and sadly our lust for food, begins?

Want to make some lifestyle changes to bring it closer to the Sunnah? Don't know where to start? Just ask! We can work on it together, insha'Allah.

Healing Earth Natural Nutritional Advice (HENNA)

Bism Illah.

Over 38 years of reading and researching food, nutrition, natural health, exercise, and wellness has brought me to several conclusions. That there is no single "diet" that is truly balanced, sensible, and in line with the Sunnah.Certainly there are elements of the types and state of the foods eaten in the time of our Prophet Muhammad, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam, in the various wholefood, food combining, paleo, primal, and raw diets. However, not one of them makes complete sense and aligns itself with what was clearly good, wholesome food and what is stated in Qur'aan.

After all, we know that Allah did not send any message to us through the Qur'aan or His Messenger, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam, that grains or legumes were to be avoided as harmful to us. Quite the contrary, grains were a normal part of the Prophet's diet - sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam - as we read the ahadeeth that he never ate bread made from fine flour and took a barley porridge with him on his seclusion periods in the cave of Mt. Hira. Adas, lentils or similar, are mentioned in the Qur'aan in Surat-ul-Baqarah...not in a condemning way, but simply as the food the people of Bani Isra'eel were used to. As for meat, poultry, and fish,  Allah sent down quail (according to several translations) to Bani Isra'eel, informed us that all seafood is lawful for us without the requirement of legislated slaughtering, and the Prophet - sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam - loved meat. Even though he ate it infrequently, that was not due to his personal preference, but what was available to him in his simple lifestyle.

So, as with anything, we take the good from each thing and discard what is questionable. Where does that leave us? With an untainted, unrefined, unprocessed, wholefood diet that includes every food group in  moderation - raw, sprouted, fermented, sun dried, and cooked - seeking nourishment, good health, and energy to worship our Creator, inshaa Allah.To that end, we will be posting various nutritional concepts, guidelines, and recipes under the acronym HENNA (Healing Earth Natural Nutrition Advice.) All good and success from this advice is solely from Allah, subhaana wa ta'ala and may all be protected from any errors or harm in it, which is from our own faults and those of shaytaan, the accursed.