Lately, I've been having conversations with others on how to live more organically, how to take out the GMO's and chemicals from our food, and how to educate ourselves on getting this accomplished. A question I continually ask is how is it that living in Miami, we do not harvest rain water? In my humble opinion, I believe if we were able to set up a system to collect rainwater we could prevent a lot of the flooding issues. We also be able to use this same water for the gardens or lawns. Speaking of which, another question I ask a lot is how can people live on a nice lot and not have any type of edible garden growing on it. I like flowers and plants, but given our food choices and how expensive organic is, you would think more people would want to cultivate something.
Now that I got that off my chest, I have been thinking of working on a video to teach people to dehydrate fruits and vegetables. I will post the video soon to teach and hopefully encourage more people to get involved with food preservation. Which leads me to gardening. When there's excess fruits and vegetables, you can't eat it all so you preserve it by dehydrating (among other means). Or, if that's not the case, then if you are at the supermarket or grocery store and there's a sale on fruits or veggies, if you know how to dehydrate, then you can buy at the sale price and preserve for later. Cranberries were on sale in December or November, can't remember so I bought a few extras and dehydrated them. They are great in yogurt, smoothies, cakes, kefir, etc..
I had a disastrous balcony garden after my plants that were growing beautifully were decimated by the white fly. So, now I am planting cuttings from my basil and Spanish oregano plants to create a hostile environment for the white fly so that I can start planting my tomatoes and cucumbers and lettuce again. There are different pests in South Florida and I just need to figure out how to work around it. Once I have my garden working again, I'll start preserving the fruits of my labor. Pun intended! :-)
I just found out that on Saturday, January 21st, at the 40th Street Farmer's Market there will be a free rain barrel workshop. I'm super excited as this will give people that don't know about harvesting rainwater, the knowledge and know how. They are also selling them for $40.
Now I have to run as I am getting my herbal oils ready for the market on Saturday. Hope to see you there. Otherwise, make it a wonderful weekend.
After the holidays, everyone wants to keep the resolutions they made on New Year's Eve, one of which is usually weight loss or getting to the gym. I myself have been struggling with weight loss for the past three years. In reality, weight loss is a state of mind, where you convince yourself that you are either ready or not to lose the weight. I tell myself that I want and need to lose this weight but then I binge on chocolate. That's not very smart. In order to lose weight, my mind has to be in it. I have to vest in myself mentally and the physical will follow. I am being motivated by a dear friend in New York as well as my sister. We are sending texts to each other to motivate and inspire to do something each day. It's not about going to the gym if that makes you feel miserable, it is about making one positive move each day whether that be stretching, walking, running, cycling, or swimming. Just one. The next day builds on the prior days and so forth. Yesterday my dear friend from New York sent me a link barstarzz.com/inspiration/father-and-son-workout-goals again, to motivate. I received the link via MP3, listened and did the few exercises on the spot. and you know what? I felt better. I did something and that meant a lot. Today, I did it again. It's all a circle. We get up, get ready, do what we need to do and in between there's stress and eating (healthy or not). It's about forming the habit to do something positive every day. The video link above may inspire those that are ready to go to the park or the gym. The gentleman is 60 years young, what an inspiration.
Healthy mind, healthy body.
Now I'm off to bottle some ginger kefir soda, so yummy and healthy. I'll be at the market on Saturday and you can contact me before that if you have any special requests.
Well, here we go again. I thought of posting a video on worm composting that I made for our girl scouts troop back in May. Now I realize that it is harder than I thought. I have to figure out how to put the video on YouTube so that I can then save it onto here. What a process. But it's fun to learn new things. This is why I want to post the video on the worm composting. I want to show the first video and the one I made today I will upload next. They are short videos but hopefully entertaining and informative to you.
YAY!! I did it.
Composting is so essential on many different levels. You add the browns and the greens. Browns are leaves, paper such as newspaper and magazines, junk mail, letters, anything that is not on glossy paper. Greens are all your vegetable and fruit cuttings. Instead of throwing out that apple core, or the banana peels, or the broccoli or potato skins that you peeled, throw them into a worm bin. This enables the worms to work through these cuttings and make a beautiful black gold that is beneficial to your plants, flowers, garden beds, and soil all around. It doesn't take much time and yet proves itself over and over. Better to do this than add to the landfills.
I take all these scraps and blend them with a little water in my Vitamix. I then put into ziplock bags and throw into the freezer until I'm ready to add to the worm bin. Fast forwarding to today, I don't feed the worms weekly because the population had declined, which I figured out why (the centipede). I feed them once to twice a month now and once the population grows more then I'll start feeding them more.
I hope you found the information useful and maybe it will motivate you to get the worm bin. It doesn't take much space yet is so very efficient. You can find it on my Pages of Interest or at https://unclejimswormfarm.com/?affiliates=84
Please feel free to leave comments as I'd love to hear from you.
Oh, and before I forget, here's the picture of what I dehydrated recently that I blogged about: Peppers, Turmeric, Onions...
There's always something going on and this past week it was the worm bin. I love my worms not just because it's low maintenance but because they are such hard workers and do a great job at composting all the scraps of veggies and fruits that I blend for them. Better to compost than continue to add to the landfills. It's a win-win. Well, I had noticed the worm population not growing the way it should and lo and behold my youngest, Isabella and I were adding food to the bin when we noticed something quickly moving around in the bin. We jumped back and then looked all around and discovered a guess what?! A centipede. YUK! I still get shivers thinking of that sly creepy insect moving around in the bin and feasting on my worms. Luckily we maintain our worm bins properly but it's a stark reminder to always check the population to ensure nothing is missed. Of course, the centipede was disposed of quickly. Soon I am going to post pictures of my worm bin so you can see what black gold is. I'll explain next post.
On another note, so much to do and not a lot of time left before Christmas and then the New Year 2017. I dehydrated the turmeric roots and some great organic peppers I picked up at the Farmers Market last Saturday. Everything is in glass jars to preserve the freshness. The peppers are Cubanelle, Poblano, and Bell Peppers. Today I started on the white onions. I'm trying to get everything done before the New Year so I can focus on having time off with the kids. My dehydrator gets a lot of work from Spring until wintertime and now living in South Florida it hasn't gotten much of a break.
I highly recommend this http://www.nesco.com/products/Dehydrators/Dehydrators/ Mine was a gift from my sister many years ago and it's been one of the best gifts I've ever received. I use it all the time for healthy snacks such as banana chips, apples, kiwi, pears, to drying my peppers, onions, garlic and potatoes. Yes, even potatoes. It's a great way of preserving food for the short and long-term without refrigeration. There's different pricing to suit everyone's budget.
I am in the process of trying to figure out how to get rid of the white fly so that I can continue with container gardening. Once I accomplish this I will have more to dehydrate. If anyone has any suggestions, they are all welcome. Post comments below or shoot me an email. With that in mind, I'm looking at freeze drying. This is great for everything from veggies, fruits to meats and dairy. But I'm not there yet so that will be a post for another time. Here's some pictures:
I want to stress how important it is to not get caught up with all the holiday gift shopping and having your budget fly out the window. You want to be able to enjoy the season and not stress too much. The Holidays are really for those family get-together's and sharing time, recipes, and the latest news. If you are creative, use your imagination and skills to make something for someone. Recipients of such homemade gifts will generally find it more worthwhile knowing you spent the time on creating something special just for him or her. Some ideas would be to gift the person that likes to cook with some homemade spices. You can mix basil, oregano, thyme, some peppers, and place in a jar, put a label on it and you're done. You can also buy a mason jar and fill with cocoa, marshmallows, and sprinkles or chocolate chips. Another idea if you are the diy'er is to make soaps, lotions, and scrubs. I always stress to buy organic ingredients as much as possible, or at least sustainably harvested and definitely Non-GMO. Make some vinegars, a Sangria, or put together a gift basket of fruits and candies. If you like to paint, paint something for that someone special. If you are out shopping, be wise and use those coupons! Soon I'll post pictures of my coupon binder. I love coupons!
Well, that is it for now but I wish you all a very healthy and Merry Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hannukah and blessed New Year 2017.
Zamira and Fam!
During this time of Thanksgiving I am thankful for my children, my family and friends, good health, and for the daily knowledge I gain to live a more sustainable life.
I am thankful that I have been learning life skills for the past few years that I am in turn passing down to my kids. They will learn more skills as they grow older but they won't be in the dark as I was before I embarked on my personal journey to self-sustainability. Now what does it mean to be self-sustainable? A system is self-sustaining (or self-sufficient) if it can maintain itself by independent effort. That's what Wikipedia states.
But in reality, to be self-sustainable, in my opinion, is having a network of like minded individuals that all contribute to each other. The quote by English poet John Donne "No man is an island" cannot be truer for while I may be on a continual quest to be self-sustainable, I learn how to preserve food but I cannot raise animals for meat due to where I live. Therefore, I depend on those farmers that I buy organic meat from (Publix, farmers market). So while I try to learn these life skills, I am also cognizant that we all need each other. During tough times, it's very important to learn how and the many different ways of preservation. It saves money and reduces waste. I bought cranberries on sale last week that I immediately put in my dehydrator. I knew there was no way I was going to use them immediately so to avoid spoilage, I dehydrated. Now we can use whenever we want without risking them going bad. We will use them in granola bars, in cereal, in yogurt, and will throw in desserts. Remember, the banana I dehydrated recently? Well, we are now down to two jars. Can't ask for a healthier snack the kids love. Here's a picture.
There's nothing better than knowing nothing is going to waste.
Today I bottled my second fermentation of ginger kefir. So good, so healthy.
I also bought turmeric roots this past weekend which I am going to dehydrate so that I can make Turmeric Paste. So healthy for you such a great anti-inflammatory herb to combine with ginger and milk, to use in cooking, and many other uses.
Sorry for the long post, always so much to tell and do. I love to share. I will be at the Farmer's Market this Saturday, so come visit and let me know if you need any products. I am also making Infusions for those that need the extra pep from herbs. I have Elderberry Syrup just in time for the colder season setting upon us.
I love cooler weather, the bugs move on temporarily and the workload feels lighter due to the weather. The banana jam turned out not at all. The kids decided they wanted more banana bread and banana shakes so we will wait for the next time to make Banana Jam. Took a couple of hours to make the laundry detergent and dishwashing soap so I'm worry free for at least 4-6 months. While some people may think it's harder to make your own detergents, soaps, etc. I like to know what ingredients are in our products. We are already highly exposed to so many chemicals that it's nice to know my kids have a safe haven at home. Making detergents at home is pretty inexpensive, the cost of a box of borax, washing soda, bars of soap, and essential oil has taken me into my second year. Can't beat that dollar-wise. I feel we are doing our part by reusing old detergent bottles and filling them with ingredients that will not harm our environment; and paves the way for the next generations to have a cleaner hopefully greener future.
The idea is to start small so you don't get overwhelmed.
The picture above is the dish-soap. If you are just starting or toying with the idea of living a more sustainable lifestyle, start with dish soap, and if money is tight, go into the bathroom and use the left-over soap until you learn to make your own soap to grate. It's really quite easy. This recipe is from www.naturesnurtureblog.com/homemade-dish-soap. She gives detailed information and pictures which you will find useful. I like this recipe because while I've used the same ingredients in my other dish detergents this one really puts it together well. I modified it to: 10 Cups boiling water; 1/2 Cup Tightly packed castile bar soap, grated; 2 Tablespoons washing soda; 2 cups liquid castile soap, and 30 drops essential oil of choice. I've used EO of orange, peppermint, lavender, it's nice to switch up every time you make a new batch. This makes approximately 10 cups of dish detergent. You can play around depending how every often you want to make it. I always like to make bigger batches so I don't worry for a couple of months. And remember, it will not be as foamy as your store bought detergents. That foam comes from the chemical ingredients they put in their bottles. Try it and leave me a comment telling me how it turned out or if you have any questions. I'd love to hear from you.
I've also been dehydrating and I'll post some of those pictures soon.
Have a wonderful week.
Well, where do we start? A good friend of mine gave me a bunch of bananas. That's a LOT of bananas and I am blessed to have such good friends. I've been dehydrating, making banana bread and tomorrow will try banana jam. Preserving is very important for your budget and these are organic so they are a healthy food. I've also been at the farmer's market selling jams, herbal oils, balms, and meeting all sorts of wonderful people, while all the while trying to figure out how this website thingy works LOL. Have to laugh and have humor especially when times are trying... I learned about Mullein Verbascum Thapsus over 5 years ago. It's a beautiful plant when you see it growing in the wild majestic even. I grew it in my backyard years ago, it didn't grow as large as in the wild but I loved it. If you look it up you will find lots of folklore and uses for the plant itself. It was used by Native people. It's an analgesic, antihistaminic, anti-inflammatory and more are part of its wonderful healing properties. The tiny yellow flowers are infused in oil to make an herbal ear medicine. Ever since I discovered this plant I've made herbal oils and been ear ache free for over 5 years, until this past week. I was using a q-tip which we all know and I know should not use but I did, yes I'm guilty of it, and I hurt my inner ear. What terrible pain I tell you. Luckily I'm on the mend. I use Mullein Oil for aches and pains and make teas and infusions with it. It alleviates congestion and muscle aches. I am grateful to the herbs for sharing their magic medicine with me. I've got to run since I need to make some homemade laundry detergent but I'll let you know how the banana jam turns out. Have a blessed weekend...
Welcome to The Monkey's Banana. I always called my children monkey's since they are always on me, behind me, and all around me. My eldest was called Hannah Banana by her siblings and she thought up the name The Monkey's Banana. So the three monkey's you see in our logo are Hannah, Nicholas, and Isabella.
A few years ago I started on our journey to better health by eating organic non-gmo foods. I have tried to take out as many chemicals as possible from our daily lives by buying organic or sustainable non-gmo products. I also buy in bulk so that I then make our home laundry detergent, soaps, lotions, scrubs, balms, jams, herbs, and others...
I welcome you to our never ending journey as I'm happy to continue learning and if you allow me, to share this knowledge with you.
I started learning about couponing, so that I could save money, but then what if there was a natural disaster and the stores didn't have the products I needed to feed my family or what about our hygiene needs? So instead of stocking up, I started learning how to make our soap and how to preserve food...
Mother of three, trying to live an organic healthy lifestyle every day.