My Favorite Things – October 2012

Sunflowers

Here we are once again at the end of another month! Time is definitely flying and Christmas will be here before we know it which means so will a new year!

We have continued work on and made great progress on the filter house/pavilion and even started a barn (which I have not even posted about yet!). I have found wonderful replacements for pizza and pasta – two of my favorite foods – with grain free pizza crust and spaghetti squash  – Yipee!! And, we have a new dog to protect us from the coyotes!

But, the most exciting news here on the blog is …. Dimes2Vines is moving! Yes, we are going to have a new home and a new face! I am not going to tell you yet what the name is – I love surprises! Don’t worry though, it will still have the same content – real food, updates about what we are doing as a family, in the vineyard and life in general. I will keep you posted on the progress of our new address and let you know when to come on over for the housewarming party which will include giveaways – so, stay tuned!

Elsewhere, a lot has also been going on and here are a few of my favorites:

Interesting Articles:

Mouthwatering Recipes:

  • How to make a sourdough starter is definitely on my list of culinary arts to learn!
  • Chocolate macaroons bring back wonderful memories of our time living in Switzerland and visiting the Alsace region of France where fresh out-of-oven, still warm, melt in your mouth macaroons were served to the tourist – this recipe is a much healthier version!
  • I have never fixed crock pot butternut squash but think I will give it a try!
  • For a fall salad, bacon and apple sound like a great combo!
  • Having never tried oxtail stew before, this recipe makes me want to!
  • With the weather getting colder, vegetable soup is definitely on the menu.
  • I am always looking for new recipe for winter squash and pie is always a winner at my house as are pumpkin recipes!
Like I said earlier, October has been a full month and November promises to bring many new and exciting changes. I am looking forward to sharing it with you!

Photo Credit © Depositphotos.com/trans961

Cotton – Our New Coyote Defense

It has been quite awhile since I gave you an update on the coyotes which have claimed the lives of a beloved dog, cat and numerous chickens. In “Coyote Update“, I relayed the story of our 19 year old son’s shooting a coyote who was circling our chicken pen in broad daylight. This happened the day after our corgi, Bob, had disappeared. We also strategically placed poisoned meat around, since there are no neighbor’s dogs in the area. For a time, the coyote’s howls were quiet around here. Unfortunately, it did not stay quiet long enough!

Thanks to a reader’s comment and subsequent emails, I was in contact with an Anatolian Shepherd breeder and was looking forward to a litter being ready around the holidays. Then, friends in the area who were moving back to Nashville, TN asked if we would be interested in their Great Pyrenees, Cotton. After very little discussion it was unanimous – Cotton had a new home!

Being almost one year old, Cotton has needed little training except to learn that she did not need to pluck any chicken feathers. She did not kill any, but one in particular went about somewhat indecent for a few days!

Each day for about a week, we would walk her on a leash around the boundaries of the house, pasture and vineyard. And, that is all it took – she is now a wonderful watchdog! She is up in a flash when a coyote howls.

You might wonder how Sprinkles (the shihpoo) and Lolli (the cat) have reacted. The two, are still  best buddies and continue to eat and drink out of the same dish at the same time!

Sprinkles, being the extrovert social butterfly that she is, welcomed Cotton into the family at once. Lolli, however, took a bit longer to come to terms with the fact that there was indeed an addition to the family.

Sprinkles and Cotton play together with Sprinkles running circles around Cotton.

Sprinkles runs and ducks in and out of the vines at the vineyard -poor Cotton cannot seem to manage darting with the speed and agility she needs to keep up with Sprinkles.

When they are all tuckered out, they lay down to rest and just look at each other!

They have given us many laughs!

Grain Free Pizza Crust – GAPS!

 

Who doesn’t love pizza?

I sure do!

Pizza and Pasta have been two of the most difficult things about the GAPS diet for me! Since the family has transitioned to a traditional diet, they eat properly prepared grain dishes (like pizza and pasta) that I can’t have!

I solved the pasta problem by using spaghetti squash and now I have a solution for the pizza!

Using almond flour (other nut flours will also work), the following recipe is easy enough to prepare right alongside the pizza I am preparing for the rest of the family. In fact, the last time, I doubled the batch and froze the leftovers!

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Curing Tooth Decay

Cure Tooth Decay

Did you know that it is possible to cure tooth decay?

Teeth can actually remineralize!

I know you are probably skeptical, but after the slowing of my osteoporosis after being on the GAPS diet, I am convinced that it is possible!

I had read about tooth remineralization before and now I am reading a book purchases from my affiliate partner, “Cure Tooth Decay” by Ramiel Nagel. Mr. Nagel, prompted by his daughter’s severe tooth decay, details the results of his research and the reversal of her tooth decay through diet.

Dr. Nagel cites research which includes Dr. Weston A. Price who, as a dentist, gathered information about people throughout the world correlating their dietary practices with their dental health. From dental decay to the alignment of the teeth, the pictures shown and research given, give a clear distinction of those with a good diet including traditional methods of food preparation and those with dietary deficiencies.

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ICF Filter House/Pavilion Progress!

We are becoming quite competent building with ICF (insulated concrete forms)! The ICF filter house/pavilion has taken the skills learned so far to a new level – we are applying a stucco finish. Actually, we thought it would be good to practice on something small before we complete the final stages of building the house! So, the octagonal filter house is the ideal project.

If you remember, last week we poured the concrete to fill the ICF walls. This week has been spent on finishing the inside and outside stucco. We decided on stucco because we like the Tuscan style, it gives a nice finished look and protects the styrofoam of the ICF. Rather than traditional stucco, we decided to use a synthetic stucco which is not only a fraction of the thickness of the traditional version but is also stronger, lasts longer and adds insulation value.

EIFS (exterior insulation finishing system), is applied in three steps over the ICF blocks. The first coat is a polymer modified cement. It is a mix of cement, fine sand and a polymer which adds strength and prevents cracking. It is applied in a thin 1/8 inch coat over the styrofoam blocks using a trowel.

Working in a small area, a fiberglass mesh which is bright yellow is embedded in the wet cement. The trowel is used to press and smooth the concrete over the mesh covering it.

The mesh is 3 feet wide and one person holds the roll of mesh to the wall while another presses it into the cement.

After the fiberglass mesh is completely covered with the cement, a wet sponge trowel is used to further smooth the cement coating. This prepares the surface for a smooth finish coat.

Since the walls are 8 ft tall and the mesh is 3 ft wide, it is taking two passes of the full width and one with a cut section.

To cut the mesh, it is laid on a board and cut with a utility knife and straight edge at the desired width.

The final step to complete the stucco is a waterproof finish coat which will be applied after the concrete stairs are finished. There have been a lot of tired and sore arms, necks and backs around here this week! On the bright side, a lot has gotten done, everyone got a great workout physically and we did not have to pay for gym memberships!

So, for now, you can see the stairs are being formed on the right side of the picture below and the filter house/pavilion is gray except for a Spanish tile sundial that was cemented to the wall – can’t wait until it is a pale yellow!

 

Spaghetti Squash – Grain Free Noodles!

One of my most difficult times to be on the GAPS diet is when I am fixing a pasta dish for my family and I can’t have any – until now!

I have found the joys of spaghetti squash.

Have you ever found joy in a vegetable? Well, I have and it spaghetti squash is a wonderful substitute for spaghetti pasta. After cooking, the noodles in spaghetti squash magically appear! Add some tomato sauce or just smother those noodles with butter and you have a wonderful meal!

Spaghetti squash, a wonder of a vegetable, is actually a winter squash, like pumpkin. It varies in color from yellow to dark orange and is a good source of vitamin A, folic acid, potassium and beta carotene. Plus, it so easy to prepare!

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GAPS and Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis

As  shared earlier in GAPS – My Experience, I was diagnosed with osteoporosis at 47 years of age. And, this was before menopause! Normally, women may be diagnosed with osteopenia before menopause and after menopause it progresses to osteoporosis. Not me – I skipped osteopenia and went straight to osteoporosis!

If you are not familiar with osteopenia and osteoporosis and the difference between the two, let me give the definition of each.

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ICF Filter House/Pavilion Concrete Poured

Well, it has been awhile since I updated you on the new ICF (insulated concrete forms) filter house/pavilion! Mainly because there has been nothing to update! With a son’s wedding and harvest there has been no time left to work on it. Now, with another son married and harvest competed, life is slowing down – maybe ;). We have finally gotten back to pouring the concrete into the ICF forms which make the walls of the filter house and also the for the concrete roof which forms the pavilion.

If you remember, we have used Rewards insulated concrete forms in phase one of our house and are very pleased. Not only do they snap together easily (which is great for the DIY’ers) but once filled with concrete, they form a strong and very well insulated wall.

After speaking with the concrete company, we decided not to have a pumper truck come which would pump the concrete up to the top of the 8ft wall. This would amount to quite a savings, but it also meant that the concrete would have to be lifted by hand in buckets up to the top. Finding out that the height of the shoot (where the concrete comes out of the truck) was 7 ft, John rigged a platform on top of the van so the concrete would only have to be lifted one foot. After all, 5 yards of concrete is quite a bit!
“The best laid plans of mice and men…”
When the truck arrived, the shoot was not 7 ft but 6 ft, so, a new platform was made utilizing a tote that you can see in the picture below next to the filter house.

The concrete truck backed down the road in the middle of the vineyard and got as close as possible to the stand.

John and the children took turn shoveling the concrete as it exited the shoot into buckets.

Forming a chain, the concrete was lifted to the top and poured down the hollow walls until all were filled.

After the walls were filled, the platform on the top was poured (or I should say, bucketed). Finishing the concrete took time but we wanted a slant from the center out to make sure there would be no standing water when it rains. It will have a roof over it but with our wind here in west Texas, it will blow in!

The next step will be finishing the inside and outside of the ICF walls. We will put a synthetic stucco finish covering all the styrofoam. That will only leave the stairs, banister and roof – we are almost finished!

And now, for the view of the vineyard from the new filter house pavilion:

 

We have already has our first freeze of the year and it is only October 11! As you can see the leaves of the vines are already beginning to brown.

Butternut Squash Pancakes

Butternut Squash Pancakes

As I posted earlier in Roasting Butternut Squash, if there is one vegetable our garden produces a ton of, it is butternut squash! With its sweet nutty flavor, everyone loves it – it is definitely a family favorite. I am glad too, since butternut is a great source of vitamins A, C and E, magnesium and potassium.

I first started making Butternut Squash pancakes on the third stage of the GAPS Introduction. After the first two stages of the introduction diet, everyone was hungry for anything resembling a “real” pancake and these were definitely a hit! While the rest of the family has transitioned to a traditional diet, I remain on the full GAPS diet. These pancakes have remained on the menu and we all still enjoy them.

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The Raw Truth About Milk

Truth About Raw Milk

How many commercials have you seen lauding the praise of milk?

Who doesn’t recognize a celebrity’s photo in an ad with a white mustache as “Got Milk?”

Unfortunately, these praises are unfounded – IF you are referring to store-bought, pasteurized milk. In fact, drinking pasteruized milk can even be dangerous to your health!

What is the truth about milk – the RAW FAQS?

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