Sourdough Bread

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Rest Time:  1 day

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Preheat Oven: 350°F – 177°C

Makes 2 Loaves

½ c. Sourdough Starter 125 ml
3 c. Unbleached Flour 750 ml
1 c. Milk 250 ml
1 tbsp Honey 15 ml
1 tsp Baking Soda 5 ml
¾ tsp Salt 3.75 ml
2 tbsp Cornmeal (optional) 30 ml

Combine Starter, Honey, Milk, and 2 cups of Flour in a large bowl.

Mix well, cover with a wet towel, and leave overnight. 

Add remaining flour, salt, and baking soda and mix well.

Turn onto a floured surface and knead for 4 to 5 minutes.

Divide dough into 2.

Roll out each piece of dough until it is a uniform 1 inch thick and roll to create a loaf.

Place on a cookie sheet or in a bread pan.

Lightly dust to top of the loaves with corn meal or corn flour (optional).

Cover dough with a damp cloth and leave rise until triple in size.

Place in a 350°F – 177°C preheated oven.

Bake for 35 minutes.

Sourdough Starter.

I have tried many Sourdough Starter recipes and have found them impractical and ineffective. The Starter, if it is created at all, is generally weak, or it spoils before achieving functionality at all. Throwing out half of the Starter is wasteful.

This recipe has the starter available for use in an extremely short time and is vigorous and hardy. There are no wasted ingredients or complicated schedules.

I have left this started in the fridge for months without paying any attention to it at all, and it has worked, without fail.

I will be posting various Sourdough recipes over the next while.

I hope you find this information helpful and enjoy the process and the products.

Sourdough – -Starter

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Rest Time:  1 – 4 days

2 c. Unsalted Potato Water 500 ml
2 c. Unbleached Flour 500 ml
1 tbsp Unpasteurized Creamed Honey 15 ml

Melt honey into hot potato water in a medium high quality stainless steel or glass bowl.

Allow to cool and add flour, a little at a time and blend very well.

Loosely cover the bowl with a towel and leave in a warm place.

Check daily until the mix is fluffy and bubbly.

Add a mix of 1 c. Flour and 1 c. Water to the bubbly starter.

Cover with a cloth and leave in a warm place for about 1 week. The starter will develop a hard crust which will seal in the starter to create a desirable environment for the starter to grow healthy wild yeasts.

Use desired amount and replace quantity as above with Flour/Water in a 50/50 ratio.

Store the starter in refrigerator until 12-24 hours before use, then feed with 50/50 flour water mixer and place in a warm place for 12+ hours.

If you would like to use more than is available, add the amount of Flour/Water in a 50/50, flour water ratio which will equal the amount of starter desired and mix very well with the starter, cover and leave in a warm place until it is very bubbly, approximately 1 – 3 days, depending on the temperature and amount of flour and water mix that was added.

Starter can be dehydrated by creating a hard crust as mentioned above.  Then by removing the crust and leaving out to complete the drying.  Store the completely dried starter in an airtight container in a cool dark place.

To use the dehydrated starter, crumble and add to the desired amount of Flour/Water mixture and mix well.  Cover the bowl with a cloth and leave in a warm place until it becomes very bubbly, approximately 1 – 3 days.

The starter becomes better with time and care, but is not fragile.  If it appears “dead” or has fluid sitting on top, and you would like to use it, simply give it good stir, add the Flour/Water mixture to feed it, and use as normal,


To give the Starter and extra boost, mix in a tablespoon of creamed, unpasteurized honey periodically.

The starter will eventually begin smelling like nail polish remover.  That is the normal smell of the desirable wild yeasts when they are stressed.  The smell will dissipate once the starter is fed.

Homemade Dog Food Recipe

Simple is usually best. This recipe is not fancy, but the most effective one we have created over the many years. Turkey, grinding the entire bird including the bones to a fine ground meal, however, can be a viable alternative for the ground beef to bring variety and additional calcium and minerals.

Ingredients per 14 liter Pot

  • 3+ lbs ground Beef (not extra lean, regular is best) – browned
  • 5 lbs of red potatoes – shredded or diced
  • 1 lb of cored and shredded or diced apples OR 2 cups of shredded or ground winter squash (with skin, seeds and pulp).
  • 7 cups of Large Flake Oats/Oatmeal (SLOW cook NOT quick cook or Quick Oats)

Fill pot to 10 liter level and add all ingredients EXCEPT for Large Flake Oatmeal.

Place stove element on High setting.

Bring to Boil. Reduce to medium low heat and simmer for 30 minutes stirring frequently.

Add Large Flake Oatmeal and fill water to 12 liter level.

Bring to boil.

Simmer for 20 minutes while stirring frequently.

Turn off heat. Stir every 15 minutes for the next hour.

Cool and refrigerate.

Can be portioned and frozen.

1 cup of food, 3 times a day, or 1.5 cups, 2 times a day, for a medium energy 50 lb dog The quantities can be adjusted as each dog is unique and has unique requirements.

• All stirring should be done very well deep down to the bottom of the pot so food does not stick and burn.
• Vegetables must be kept below 20%. Even the best vegetables and fruit will make them ill if the daily total exceeds the 20%.
• Treats of carrots, blueberries, cucumber can also be added as substitutes or in small amounts remembering the 20% rule.
• Ensure that the potatoes are cooked very well. Raw, or under cooked potatoes are very bad for dogs.

Home ground bone meal can be mixed into the food at mealtime.

1/6 teaspoon of cooked powdered eggshells per cup of food can be used periodically as a bone meal substitute.

Preparing eggshells:

Lightly rinse eggshells and bake at 350 degrees for 10- 15 minutes then powder in a coffee grinder.


Eggshell Calcium Benefits

There are some wonderful studies that show eggshell calcium to be the best and most bio available calcium available.  I find it very interesting to see people giving the recommended recipes for getting the calcium as crushed eggshells in lemon juice.  They also say that this tastes quiet ‘pleasant’.  I have tried the eggshell and lemon calcium recipe and find that not only does it not taste ‘pleasant’, it is quite disgusting.  The best way I could describe the smell is the lovely aroma of the chemicals in a hair perm.  I could not bring myself to taste it, but my husband sacrificed himself for the sake of the experiment.  He confirmed that it was at least as disgusting as it smelled, probably more so.  I tried dissolving the eggshells in Orange Juice, but found that the orange juice was not acidic enough to fully dissolve the shells. 

Meanwhile, Cardiovascular doctors began to say that the cardiovascular implications of calcium supplements out weigh the possible benefits.  Apparently, calcium supplements can accumulate in and around the heart causing an increased risk of heart attack. 1

While a healthy diet rich with calcium and vitamin D is preferable to supplements, eggshells, properly prepared, can be used as an effective calcium supplement for both people and dogs, when required.

The following Scientific paper by Rovenský J1, Stancíková M, Masaryk P, Svík K, Istok R. from the National Institute of Rheumatic Diseases, Piestany, Slovak Republic abstract presents some of the copious amounts of evidence which does support the use of eggshells as an effective supplement:


In this paper the most significant biological and clinical aspects of a biopreparation made of chicken eggshells are reviewed. Eggshell powder is a natural source of calcium and other elements (e.g. strontium and fluorine) which may have a positive effect on bone metabolism. Experimental and clinical studies performed to date have shown a number of positive properties of eggshell powder, such as antirachitic effects in rats and humans. A positive effect was observed on bone density in animal models of postmenopausal osteoporosis in ovariectomized female rats. In vitro eggshell powder stimulates chondrocyte differentiation and cartilage growth. Clinical studies in postmenopausal women and women with senile osteoporosis showed that eggshell powder reduces pain and osteoresorption and increases mobility and bone density or arrests its loss. The bioavailability of calcium from this source, as tested in piglets, was similar or better than that of food grade purified calcium carbonate. Clinical and experimental studies showed that eggshell powder has positive effects on bone and cartilage and that it is suitable in the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis. 2

Another benefit of cooked and crushed (powdered) eggshells is for treating heartburn and acid reflux.  Just place a quarter of a teaspoon of the eggshell powder on the tongue, washed down with water. I find that, in most cases, the heartburn is gone in seconds, and if not, a little more won’t hurt.

Note: Do not throw the powder to the back of the throat or attempt to mix with water, it is very heavy and not water soluble.

To prepare Eggshells:

Rinse well.  Leave the film inside the shell.

Bake at 350℉ – 177℃ for 20 minutes.

Cool and crush.

Grind to a fine powder (coffee grinders are very good for this).

Store in an airtight container, indefinitely.


1. Calcium Supplements May Damage the Heart

Experts recommend caution before taking calcium supplements

Calcium Intake From Diet and Supplements and the Risk of Coronary Artery Calcification and its Progression Among Older Adults: 10‐Year Follow‐up of the Multi‐Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA)

John J.B. Anderson, Bridget Kruszka, Joseph A.C. Delaney, Ka He, Gregory L. Burke, Alvaro Alonso, Diane E. Bild, Matthew Budoff, and Erin D. Michos

Originally published11 Oct 2016
Journal of the American Heart Association. 2016;5

2. Eggshell calcium in the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis.

Int J Clin Pharmacol Res. 2003;23(2-3):83-92.

Rovenský J1, Stancíková M, Masaryk P, Svík K, Istok R.

National Institute of Rheumatic Diseases, Piestany, Slovak Republic.

The Invasion of the Paper Products

I was amazed the other day watching a commercial claim that, ‘cloth dishcloths only push messes around, one needs a paper towel to truly clean up a mess.’  Are you kidding me?  This might be true if the dish cloth were dry, or soaked, but if it was wet with hot soapy water and wrung out, the paper towel wouldn’t stand up.  Your dishcloth can be rinsed or thrown in the washing machine hundreds of times, while the paper towels are a single use item.   For the goopy messes one would not like to use their dishcloths on, there are always rags, the remnants of the old t-shirts, dish cloths, towels, sweats, safely stored in the place where cotton goes to die.  These rags have been used so much, that should you get something on them that is not washable, they can happily go to the landfill where they will fully break down in a relatively short period.

One might claim that paper napkins are necessary.  I heartily disagree.  A beautiful, cloth napkin is a better alternative. Not only is it eco friendly, but much gentler on your skin when you’re using them, and they don’t rip and stick to you if you happen to be having some very sticky wings or ribs.   A certain amount of style and class is also attached to the use of cloth napkins over products at your table.

Another commercial claims that your hand towel is very dirty, and one must have disposable towels in the bathroom for drying hands.  Again, haven’t they heard of a washing machine?  The world certainly does not need any more disposable items.  The use of all these paper products is not sustainable in the long term.  The production of all these paper products require a great many natural resources and purchasing them on a regular basis, definitely adds to the expense for a family over a year!

Then there are the wipes, which don’t only use paper but also use chemicals and encase their products in plastic.  Do we really need more chemicals and plastics in our homes and environment?!?    The great marketing machines are once again preying on our fears.  They have us convinced that to keep our home and children safe we need to kill all of the bacteria in the world.  Not true.  We live symbiotically with many thousands of bacteria.  Many are necessary for our survival. Some governments are beginning ad campaigns to discourage the overuse of antibacterial product.

The CDC has published an article from Stuart B. Levy of
Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts, USA beginning with:

“The recent entry of products containing antibacterial agents into healthy households has escalated from a few dozen products in the mid-1990s to more than 700 today. Antibacterial products were developed and have been successfully used to prevent transmission of disease-causing microorganisms among patients, particularly in hospitals. They are now being added to products used in healthy households, even though an added health benefit has not been demonstrated. Scientists are concerned that the antibacterial agents will select bacteria resistant to them and cross-resistant to antibiotics. Moreover, if they alter a person’s microflora, they may negatively affect the normal maturation of the T helper cell response of the immune system to commensal flora antigens; this change could lead to a greater chance of allergies in children. As with antibiotics, prudent use of these products is urged. Their designated purpose is to protect vulnerable patients.” 

To summarize the above, too much use of antibacterial products is NOT a good thing.  Once again, this is all before considering the economic and environmental costs of the products themselves.

So many paper products like paper towels can be replaced with long lasting alternatives.  While it may be difficult to eliminate all of the products you use on a daily basis, minimizing the use and transitioning to more eco friendly alternatives is definitely a great place to start.  Even a little bit of change makes a big difference for our world, our children’s world.  


over this:


shouldn’t be a hard choice.


Homemade Dog Earwash

We have a wonderful Golden Retriever named Shalmar.  He is goofy and loving and allergic to EVERYTHING including Antihistamines.  Shalmar had constant ear infections that were secondary infections caused by his allergies and, apparently, yeast infections.  This meant that Antibiotics would not work for him so we tried Antihistamines as recommended by our vet.

Shalmar began to gain weight and sleep a lot.  Within a few weeks, he couldn’t hold his bladder for more than a couple of hours.  He was deteriorating quickly.  His ears did clear up for a short time but this was obviously not a viable option.  We could not just leave him with the constant pain of an ear infection so we started to look for alternatives.

We first found a fruit based Ear Wash only available in the US.  It worked fairly well for him when we rinsed his ears twice a week.  I kept looking and experimenting.  Finally finding a recipe for a Homemade Ear Wash that are inexpensive and easy to make.  A trip to the pharmacy to get Boric Acid (a powder) and Rubbing Alcohol, and Apple Cider Vinegar from the grocery store, add a squeeze bottle and you have all you need to make a very effective product to keep your dogs ears in great shape.  Shalmar hasn’t had any problems since we started using one of these ear washes every week.  Now for the recipes:

½ cup Rubbing Alcohol
½ cup Apple Cider Vinegar
2 tbsps. Boric Acid


1 cup Rubbing Alcohol
2 tbsps. Boric Acid

Mix very well and put in the squeeze bottle.  Squirt into each ear once or twice a week as needed, and massage the ear well before the dog shakes it out.

This recipe also works for drying dogs’ ears after they get wet, and works for most other ear infections we’ve come across.  We use it for all of our dogs after every bath as a general maintenance and drying rinse, as well as, when we see a lot of ear scratching going on.

The best way to tell if your dog has an ear infection is to inspect the ear and if it is red and inflamed and/or has a dark discharge or flakes, then there is an infection present.

Good luck and I hope that this works as well for your dogs as it has for ours.


Rising Food Prices

Garden Broccoli with Carrots and Swiss Chard in the background
Garden Broccoli with Carrots and Swiss Chard in the background

Watching the news the other night, we hear that China is stockpiling food, corn at the moment.  There was already a shortfall due to the pressures for plant based bio fuel and the absolutely crazy weather over the last couple of years.  Supply and demand; rule one of a capitalistic society.  Corn is an ingredient to so many other things, processed foods, dog food, and fast food.  These prices will all be increasing to reflect the increased corn costs.

We have been seeing a distinct and sharp upward trend in our food prices over the last few years.  The environment has been playing a major roll in it all.  Frosts and snow in the south, floods, well, everywhere, except where there is drought and fire.  Crops on a world scale are being damaged and destroyed by ecosystems that are reacting in record setting extremes.

Lovely and fun news (insert heavy sarcasm here).  Some of us are so fatigued by listening to disaster after disaster, that we have a level of unidentified anxiety about, well everything.  We are tuning out the news or simply shell shocked as we hear of another flood, earth quake, drought, fire, volcano, hurricane, tornado…  The unbelievable thing is that the government is trying to normalize the entire thing.  A 6.8 earthquake is hardly a whisper in the news world.  I remember when a 5.0 quake was talked about for a week or longer.  I actually had a great laugh when we were informed by one news source, that the 5.0 earthquakes in Ontario and Quebec in June 2010, was a fairly normal occurrence.  Really???  The last one on record, I believe, was in 1935.  This does not in my opinion, constitute normal.

The bad news and disasters are, however, becoming normal occurrences.  The question, how to deal with the stress and anxiety of unstable environments and food sources?  At what point do food prices outstrip the family food budgets.  For some, that time has already come.  But, we are not helpless.  Many have lost touch with our food production and preparation.  We have the choice to resolve some of these things.

There are some fairly simple things we can do to contribute to our food supply.  One is to start a garden in your yard, a family member’s yard, or if you don’t have access to a yard, in a community garden in your area.  Even if you don’t think that you have a green thumb, some carrots and beans, corn and peas are fairly easy to grow from seeds (no need to buy starter plants), can be eaten fresh, frozen, or canned and taste fantastic, are less expensive, better tasting, and more nutritious than store bought.  A small patch takes no more time to care for than a flower garden, but the returns are so much higher.  The whole family can get involved.  It is fun and rewarding.

What I have started doing over the last couple of years is exchanging the regular inedible houseplants with edible herbs and plants.  When anyone brushes up against an herb plant, the most delightful aroma is released, all natural, no purchase necessary.

It is amazing how many different fruit and vegetables should grow in my climate.  I live in the Interlake region of Manitoba, Canada.  The fruit trees and bushes, as well as, the perennial herbs have survived through a very cold winter last year, with very little snow for insulation.  Organic food for nothing more than time and energy is a wonderful thing.  Harvesting seeds is another way to decrease the cost of gardening and food.

I’m excited to see what I can bring home into my control.  Definitely helps with my anxiety, my health, and my food budget.


Stove Top Percolators vs. Drip Coffee Makers

Looking at the downsides of Drip Coffee Makers and finding them to be many, I had finally had enough of them. The machines that just quit, right in the middle of brewing a pot of coffee, while company, who has come over for a cup, sits waiting for the coffee that will never appear. Or the coffee makers that do not make the coffee hot enough, so one brews a pot, pours a cup, and then proceeds to the microwave to warm it up. The coffee just doesn’t get to the great taste one would expect. It always tastes a little watery, cold, weak, or just not very good. I haven’t even mentioned the broken and the cracked carafes yet.

How does one make a glass coffee carafe husband proof? For some reason the laws of expansion and contraction elude my lovely husband Helping out, doing the dishes, wanting to get it all done, puts a hot glass carafe in the considerably cooler water and sure enough, the carafe cracks, surprising him of course. Trying not to waste, and having finally found a coffee maker that at least does a passable job, we order a replacement carafe: cost $60.

This carafe lasts a while, until one day, I am going to make a pot of coffee and behold, another crack running along the bottom. My husband stands blinking with the, “I didn’t do it” look. He later admitted that he just tapped the side of the carafe on a ceramic bowl in the dish tray, and once again, was very surprised that it cracked.

At this point I am no longer willing to spend another $60 to special order the carafe, but there are universal carafes available. We end up trying two of them. One carafe does not fit at all (I had actually grabbed the wrong one), one almost fits, but alas, the coffee is cold and watery. ‘Almost Fits’ is just as bad as ‘Wrong One’ for coffee maker carafes.

I start to consider all the coffee makers of days past. I consider the interesting info about plastics leaching toxins when heated and it occurs to me that I am done with Drip Coffee Makers. I do not need to be poisoning myself while having a bad cup of coffee. I do not need to be spending ridiculous amounts of money replacing the machines and the carafes on fairly regular schedules. I was looking for something that made a great cup of coffee, would not break down, and was husband proof.

Stainless steel appeared to be the answer. I had already switched to a stainless steal stovetop kettle after the last time my son fried the cord on my electric one. Just need to clean it with vinegar every 6 months to a year, give it a wipe once in a while, and that’s it. Love, love, love my stove top, stainless steel kettle! So the question was, how do I find the same thing for coffee? Happily, I found a stainless steel stovetop, 12 cup, percolator at my local hardware store. Both the jug and inner working are stainless steel, stronger and definitely less fragile than the aluminum ones. It looks great. It took brewing 3 pots to come up with a killer combination and timing to perfectly fit my taste. Did not take any longer than a drip machine. The entire setup cost me less than $45, made a fantastic pot of coffee and I will not have to replace the equipment again. It is sturdy and husband proof. It is the most Eco Friendly and pocket book friendly option I could find. I do love the win, wins when I find them. Newer is not always better, and this is definitely the case for the New Drip vs. the Old Percolator Style Coffee Makers. The stove top Percolator wins hands down!


Have You Considered Boiling Water? ­­­­

What an amazing entity.  Beyond a cup of coffee or tea, beyond cooking, the simplicity of boiling water.

People spend a fortune on chemicals to rid themselves of the weeds and grass that grows between the cracks of sidewalks, driveways, patios.  Pulling the weeds and grass is very difficult and does not necessarily get the roots, so very quickly, the weeds and grass return.  How really effective are the chemicals?  Usually to get a really good kill, hours of hot sun is required.  If it rains, effectiveness is cut drastically if not totally.  Consider the damage is done to the environment by using these chemicals: our water and air, our children and pets, wildlife and every other living thing on this earth.  All before considering our pocketbooks.

I believe that it is time to consider methods that have a smaller price on the environment, our children and pets, as well as our pocketbooks.  Now back to the thought of boiling water.  Boil a pot of water and ladle it out onto the troublesome weeds and/or grass.  This is the most effective way of eliminating unwanted plants and weeds that I have ever seen.  None survive.  Even the indestructible quack grass stands no chance against the boiling water.  It kills the entire plant, including the roots.  If it rains shortly thereafter, no problem, if the sun is not shining or you only have time in the evening, again no problem.  The weeds and grass will be gone in a very short time.  The seeds present will be cooked so they will not germinate.  The mature plants and roots will also be cooked so they will quickly decompose and be gone.  New seeds will eventually find their way into the area, but nuisance re-growth will take much more time than if you were using one of the chemicals on the market.

Please be careful not to splash the boiling water on anyone including you.  It will burn or scald.  Also, do not pour too close to plants and or grass you do not want to kill.

If you are doing boarders, experiment with small amounts.  You will be surprised how little is required to get a remarkable result without damaging the environment.

Do you have ants?  Boiling water poured onto the ant hills is the best way to rid yourself of this nuisance as well.  The hill might require a couple of treatments, but I can assure you that the ants will not develop a resistance to it!

Boiling some water and spreading it around.  What could be simpler?