Friday, December 30, 2011

2011 Top Ten

It's fun to look back over the course of the year to see what folks enjoyed reading most.  Here's a list of the top ten posts from The Woodwife's Journal.
Click on the links below to check them out.


Wishing you a very Happy New Year!
with
Much herbal love,
   

New Year's Resolutions...again.

Does anyone ever really accomplish their New Year's goals or resolutions?  Most that I read are more like life goals than something that can be "finished" in a set time frame.
I'm not looking back over the past year with a lot of regret even though my list of resolutions could be the same for 2012  I did some of the things on my list but as I've mentioned elsewhere, it seems that the more planning I do, the more diversions I face.  And I know that's life, right?  But, I wouldn't trade most of them for anything on my New Year's list!
Here's some of the things that interrupt my plans or resolutions...

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Cheesemaking Kit Winner!

Congratulations and a Merry Christmas to Sadie, the winner of the New England Cheesemaking Company's 30 minute Mozzarella Kit! 
Please email me your address so I can forward it to the company!  Thanks so much for entering! 
Much herbal love,
 

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas from the Woodwife Family!

Wishing You and Yours a Very Blessed Christmas!
A vintage sled to welcome visitors.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Chocolate Peppermint Pinwheels


These delicious cookies are as sweet to look at as they are to eat.



Chocolate Peppermint Pinwheels
Print here

Start with a batch of sugar cookies.
3 cups flour
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 TBSP milk
powdered sugar for rolling out dough

You'll also need:
3 oz. unsweetened chocolate, melted
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 egg yolk
1 tsp. peppermint extract
1/2 cup crushed candy canes or peppermint candies

Split the sugar cookie dough in half.
Add chocolate and vanilla to one half
Add egg yolk, peppermint extract, and crushed candy to the other half.

Cover and chill for 5-10 minutes.
Roll out separately to about 1/4 inch thick.
Place peppermint dough on top of the chocolate and press together.
Roll into a log. (using wax paper makes this easier)
Wrap in wax paper and chill for 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 375°
Unwrap cookie log and slice into 1/2 inch slices.
Place cookies 1 inch apart on a greased cookie sheet or parchment paper.
Bake 12-13 minutes rotating the pan half way through.
Remove from oven, let sit on baking sheet for 2 minutes.
Move to a wire rack to cool.

Enjoy!


Much herbal love,
 

Today I'm sharing this recipe with Brenda and friends through

@ Meal Planning Magic

Try Your Hand at Homemade Mozzarella Cheese

The gift that keeps on giving!  Win this 30 minute Mozzarella Kit.  Consider it a Christmas present to yourself!  We had a great time making this together.  And we have supplies to do it 29 more times!  Of course the "taffy stretching" hands-on part was a favorite...but I'm getting ahead of myself!  
I've recently had an opportunity to try out the 30 Minute Mozzarella Cheesemaking Kit from the New England Cheesemaking Supply Company.
The kit includes everything you need to make a 1# batch of mozzarella cheese ~ 30 times!  That's right, 30# of cheese with one kit!  All you add is the milk.  We had a great time and it was really easy to do.

We used raw milk from a local farm.  First, we heated the milk to 145°F for 30 minutes.  Then we cooled the milk quickly by placing the kettle in a sink of ice water.
We added the citric acid which was dissolved in water. It's important to be sure the water doesn't contain chlorine.
Then we heated the milk again to 90°F stirring constantly.
At this point, we removed the kettle from the stove and slowly stirred in the rennet solution we'd made earlier.  The pot was covered and allowed to rest for 5+ minutes.
Now we could see the separation begin to happen.  But the curds weren't quite set enough so we gave it a few more minutes.
Using a knife that would reach the bottom of the pot, we cut the curd into cubes and made diagonal slices as shown in the directions.  Now we could see the whey begin to separate more.

  We put the pot back on the stove and heated the curds to 110°F while slowly moving the curds around in the pot to help separate the solids.  Then we took it off the heat and continued stirring gently for 2-5 more minutes.

The whey was poured off into a pitcher and the solids remained in the colander.
We heated a pot of water to 185°F.  Then we dipped the colander with the curds into the water several times to rinse the whey off and heat the cheese again.  After folding the curds over to drain the whey, they began to get stretchy and elastic.

Here's the fun part!  You pull the cheese like taffy to lengthen the proteins.

You can add some cheese salt (included in the kit) while you stretch the cheese until it's shiny and smooth.  Once you reach this stage, you can form a braid, a log or a ball with your cheese.
If you want to make string cheese, simply stretch the cheese into long pieces and cut.  Drop them into cold water for 5 minutes to set the cheese.  Then let set in ice water for another 15 minutes.  This is important to keep the cheese from becoming grainy and protects it's silky texture.
Voila!  30 minute mozzarella right in your own kitchen!  This is a great project to do with kids!

Now, here's the exciting part!  The folks at New England Cheesemaking Company have offered to sponsor a giveaway for one 30 Minute Mozzarella Kit to a lucky person somewhere in Canada or the US!
You have 5 chances to enter!

1) Follow The Woodwife's Journal and leave a comment below telling me that you're following,
2) Blog about my giveaway and leave a comment below with the link to your post.
3) Tweet about my giveaway and leave a comment below.
4) Visit New England Cheesemaking Supply Company and leave a comment below telling me what product interests you the most.
5) Follow New England Cheesemaking Supply Company on Facebook and leave a comment below.

At 6PM on Christmas Eve 2011, I'll draw a random number from the comments section to choose the winner!

I'm sharing this with the folks @ Homestead Barn Hop, Simple Lives Thursday and Miz Helen's Full Plate Thursday.
Click on their buttons to see what's happening there.
Miz Helen’s Country Cottage

Jenny Matlock


Much herbal love,
 

Cheddar Cheese Cookies

Here is a quick little cheesy treat that looks as nice as your favorite Christmas cookie but offers a slightly bitey, light, crumbly alternative to traditional sugary cookies. 

Blend 1/2 # butter
1/2 # shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 cups flour
1/8 tsp. red pepper
Roll into balls.
Top with a pecan half.
Bake @ 425°  for 10 minutes.

These are also very tasty with a little chopped fresh rosemary added!  Yum!

Sharing this post with Simple Lives Thursday!


Much herbal love,
 

Monday, December 19, 2011

A quick kitchen remedy for cold and flu season

Baking soda...I truly believe it's one of the wonders of the world!
Used for all kinds of household cleaning from laundry to scouring, digestive upset and much more, this kitchen staple is also a valuable remedy to knock out a cold or flu.

The reason this works is because baking soda neutralizes acid.  Pathogens thrive in an acid environment.  So lowering the pH of the body at the onset of a cold or flu makes the terrain unfriendly to the survival of unwanted cold and flu bugs.

A note of caution though.. use baking soda that doesn't contain aluminum.
Also, if you suffer from high blood pressure or fluid retention, be aware that ea. 1/2 tsp of baking soda contains 616mg. of sodium.
Baking soda can deplete essential, vitamins and minerals (especially B vitamins and Chromium) so don't exceed the maximum dose or use for more than 2 weeks.

Day 1
Dissolve 1/2 tsp. of baking soda in a glass of cold water.
Drink.
Repeat every two hours up to 6 times.

Day 2
Do the same up to 4 times.

Day 3
Drink once in the morning and once in the evening.

Day 4+
Drink once in the morning until cured.


Much herbal love,
 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Wanna Try a Little Herbal Alchemy in Your Own Kitchen?

LearningHerbs.com offers the perfect starting point for your herbal learning experience.  It's like taking 8 herbal classes in a box with all the supplies you'll need for this hands-on course. A great way to introduce herbal remedies to your family.
Click on the photo to the left to purchase.

Then, follow up with an herbal course through LearningHerbs.com/Herbmentor.com or Vintage Remedies School of Natural Health.



Much herbal love,
 

Mountain Rose Herbs and Herbal Rootszine Giveaway and Sale

One of my favorite places to buy herbal products, tea, bulk herbs, tea supplies and lots of other herbal things is Mountain Rose Herbs.


Bulk organic herbs, spices and essential oils. Sin


They offer lots of tutorials and YouTube Channel videos created by John Gallagher or Rosalee de la Foret of LearningHerbs.com.

Herbal Medicine Making Kit

Hop over to Herbal Rootszine to enter a Mountain Rose Herbs giveaway.  But hurry because the contest ends on Friday!  While you're there, check out their beautiful herbal calendars that are 20% off for a limited time!

Much herbal love,
 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Wildcrafting Wednesday ~ Christmas Craft edition

Hello, again!  Can you believe it's December already!?  With Christmas just around the corner, we thought we'd focus this week's gathering of wildcrafting ideas on projects for Christmas gift giving!  Do you have an herbal/natural craft or gift idea you'd like to share with us and all our readers?

Join Kathy @ Mind, Body and Soul , Laurie @ Common Sense Homesteading and me, The Woodwife, as we host the Christmas gift edition of Wildcrafting Wednesday!
While traditional wildcrafting refers to gathering herbs and plants in the wild to use for food and medicine, this is a Blog Hop for gathering your favorite old time, traditional herbal posts, home remedies and crafting ideas. It’s a place to gather information on ways to incorporate herbs and old fashioned wisdom in our day-to-day life. It is anything and everything herbal – from crafts to cleaning to tinctures to cooking – it's remedies and natural cures made at home from natural ingredients – it's self-sufficient living and back-to-basics tips to make and preserve food, save money and resources – if it involves herbs or traditional methods of homemaking, home healing or other traditional skills then we want to read about it!
You see, it's kinda like stepping out into the "wilds" of cyberspace to gather ideas that make our homemaking skills or "craft" more healthy, more resourceful...more sustainable. Wildcraft!

Please join us today as we gather ideas for crafting homemade gifts just in time for Christmas!

Guidelines for Participation:

1. Please link up your crafting blog post using the Linky widget below. If you are posting a gift giving recipe, only real food ingredients are permitted. This means no processed or prepackaged foods!

2. Please link the URL of your actual blog post and not your blogs home page. That allows future readers who find this week's link-up to go directly to the post they want to read.

3. Please place a link back to this post. That way your readers can benefit from all the other crafty ideas too. This also helps out the other participants who are hoping to get more traffic to their blogs. If you’re new to blogging here’s what you do: Copy the URL of Wildcrafting Wednesday from your browser address bar. Then edit your post by adding something like, “This post was shared on Wildcrafting Wednesday at The Woodwife's Journal” at the end of your post. Then highlight “Wildcrafting Wednesday at The Woodwife's Journal”, click the “link” button on your blogging tool bar, and paste the URL into that line. That’s it!

4. Please only link posts that fit the carnival description. (Remember we're focusing on ideas for Christmas gift giving this week.)  Old and archived posts are welcome as long as you post a link back as described above. Please don’t link to giveaways or promotions for affiliates or sponsors. That keeps our links valuable in the future since a link to a giveaway three months old isn’t going to be worth browsing in three months time, but a link to an herbal tip will be.

5. Please leave a comment.  When you link up, I don't get a notification so to help me out by leaving a comment below so I don't miss your post. Thank you!

6. Don’t have a blog? We still want to hear from you! Please leave your herbal tip, recipe, home remedy or craft idea in the comments.

7. And bloggers, please check out the other posts and leave a comment for them too. I know that we would all love to hear from each other.

Happy Christmas crafting!

Much herbal love,
 

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Preparing small batch natural, additive free products for beauty, health and home right here in our kitchen since 1991 from herbs grown organically in our garden, wild crafted in nearby meadows and woodlands or purchased from reputable, like-minded companies. Dried everlasting wreaths, arrangements and potpourri. Herbal salves, tinctures, soaps, teas and more.