Category Archives: Health

Mid-winter update

Just plugging away up here in the New England cold. As usual, it has been an unusual winter. We have had warm weather, lots of rain, and then absolutely freezing cold with wind-chills, no snow at all, and just last week a blizzard worthy of two snow days. We are supposed to get hit with snow tonight again, so we may have another snow day tomorrow.

I’ve been up to a few things here and there, including on-going brewing of kombucha, fixing the dishwasher (remember which screws go where), making lots of roasted veggies (I am loving roasted cauliflower and brussel sprouts),  maintaining my cast-iron pots (coat with oil and leave upside-down in the oven for an hour at 200 degrees. Put a paper towel underneath to catch the drips).

With all the warm and rainy days earlier this winter I had been watching my mushroom logs for progress (none so far). Now they are deep under the snow.

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A walk on a clear and cold day just after the new year prompted some thinking about family, passions, and the meaning of life. My son and I came up with three guiding principles in our lives and we have them posted on the family cork board.  It is centering to look at these words when life gets a little crazy and frustrating. Mine are Love, Explore, Contribute. My 9yo’s, with explanatory commentary, are Food (“like yummy food”), Love (“like hugs and stuff”), Skill (“like video games”).


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Filed under Cooking, Family, Health, Home Repairs, kombucha, Making Stuff, mushrooms

Kale Salad from the container garden

I just harvested the first bunch of kale from my container garden and the kale leaves are tender and still sun-warm… yum!


This recipe is from a good friend. This salad is delicious, fresh and full of vitamin nourishment. I feel like I am feeding my bones when I eat it. My kale leaves are tender now, but don’t worry if you have large tougher leaves. Remove the rib and then ribbon the leaves. The vinegar and oil soften the leaves. Also, I’m not really into picky food sourcing, so I substitute in any good oil, like olive. Today I am using avocado oil because I grabbed some at the natural market, but I bet it is better with the pumpkin oil.

Raw Kale Salad

1 bunch kale cut into ribbons
1 red onion chopped
1 ripe avocado diced
1 cup grated carrots
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup pumpkin oil

1tsp sea salt

Mix together all but the avocado in a large salad bowl.

Add avocado and let the salad marinate for at least an hour – overnight if the kale is particularly tough to start.


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Filed under Cooking, Farming, Health

Fancy skin doctor’s recommendations

Aging isn’t fun. The wrinkles are arriving daily and I want to make good choices with my daily skin care. Here are some skin treatment recommendations to share with you.

A few weeks ago I went to a super-fancy skin clinic in Newton and saw Dr. Dover. A friend who is on TV all the time recommended him. I thought what the heck, over the years I have had facials, and tried all sorts of face lotions. These all cost me lots of money and I can’t even tell if there was an effect. I figured I’d spend the $325 for a consult and end up with great recommendations for skin care for the next 30 years (I am currently 42).  Also, I have a sensitivity to SLES, aka sodium lauryl/laureth sulfate, a common foaming agent in most soaps and shampoos. Unless I’m careful I end up breaking out with most products. I was looking forward to them analyzing the ingredients lists and helping me find excellent products.


The team at Skin Care Physicians was smart, fun, and reasonable. Here are the product and habit recommendations that I walked away with:

1. Use Sunscreen Every Day, no matter what. Re-apply after four hours if you are in the sun. They highly recommend La Roche Fluid, which I got at my local Rite Aid. It was expensive, but you only need a little bit. It has been sort of flaky on my skin, which is odd, so I may try one of their other sun fluids. But the Doc says this is the best out there and silky light for most people. Wash and moisturize your face, then apply the sunscreen fluid.

2. If you can afford Retin-A, get a Rx and use it. Apparently, it “makes your skin look beautiful.” You have to start slowly with a small amount. You are also more susceptible to sunburns with this, so be sure to follow your doctor’s recommendations and in general use it at night and wash it off in the morning. Also, refer to above 1. Use Sunscreen Every Day, no matter what.

3. Beyond that, they recommend a general face soap and a general face lotion, nothing fancy.

Because of my sensitive skin and the SLES issue, we came up with some good products for me. The facial soap we found at my friend DJ’s organic skin care company, Juice Beauty.  I am using the Cleansing Milk.

For facial moisturizer they recommend the inexpensive and wonderful CeraVe Moisturizing Cream. Not the fancy stuff, not the anti-aging stuff, just the regular old moisturizing cream. I love it so much that I am ditching all other lotions for my whole family and switching to this. My 8yo son gets dry hands and wrists in the winter and most lotions sting his skin. This is great for him as well.

4. There are some other technologically advanced options if you have the money to spend.

  • IPL (they recommend NOT getting it done by an aesthetician —  not enough training, therefore a waste of money)
  • Thermage. I think Thermage is what Ellen DeGeneres has had to look so youthful at her age.
  • Botox, which honestly scares me very much.


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Filed under Health, Skin Care