Healthy up that Lemonade

Oh, Lemonade it is a yummy summer treat. Filled with sugar and all sorts of fake colorings and chemicals has made me say, “No way!”  I started to work on slashing calories and chemicals and came up with these great ways to get that lemon taste with out all the sugar or added “extras” from processing.   You might need to add a bit of sugar  until you adjust to a less sugar filled taste stevia brings, but now that I have adjusted, these recipes are staples during the summer months here.

Let’s explore some ways to add a healthy punch to this summer standby:

Kefir Lemonade: 
1 quart of water   Kefir (made from sugar, water kefir grains and water)
1/2 to 1  full lemon juiced

Stevia Lemonade:
1 quart of water (carbonated or still)
1 or 2 lemons juiced
Liquid stevia to taste (I add a couple droppers)

EO’s in water:
2 drops of lemon essential oil (my favorite is Young Living’s lemon oil)
a couple drops of liquid stevia (optional)

Lemon infused water using Lemon rinds:
1/2 gallon of water
leftover lemon rind from juicing lemons
Put it in the fridge and sip lemony water all day
*don’t let this sit too long or it will get bitter — feel free to add a dropper of stevia

Honey Lemonade: 
Water 1/2 gallon
Honey  to taste (I use 1 cup when we have company and then sometimes add a bit of stevia or a more honey if it still seams tart)
Lemon juice to taste (usually about  1 to 1 1/2 cups)

This is a favorite when we have company over.  I put honey and lemon juice and sometimes a bit of water in  a pan and stir it  until it is combined and liquid being careful not to heat it so much that is ruins the enzymes in the honey or lemon juice (sometimes you don’t even need to heat it) This can be lemonade concentrate to freeze for later or you can add more water and stir it well and put in the fridge to chill  and serve… Delicious.

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Cough Syrup

Tis the season for colds and coughs.
I gave up the sugar filled, chemical concoctions sold at most retailers and started making my own a few years ago.  This recipe is the one I make for me when I come down with that icky snarfully cold feeling.  I wouldn’t give this to little C, but I’ll share below what we do for her below.   I also run a diffuser with lots of different essential oils and cut out sugar… Sugar suppresses the immune system.

*Warning I am not a doctor or nurse* This is what we do and I am not suggesting that you give up common sense and use this. I assume no liability from use of any recipes on this site.

Grown up Cough Syrup:

by all means this is not suggested for use with kids…. it is a bit spicy, but it works like a charm for this momma!
2 tablespoons of raw  honey,
1 Tablespoon of Apple Cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon of ginger ( I now add ginger juice since we have a juicer)
(optional add ins: crushed clove of garlic. 1  teaspoon of  of chopped onion or a 1 tablespoon of  fresh lemon juice)

Take a teaspoon every hour and it it sure clears our your sinuses.
My netti pot and this syrup has me feelin fine… now sounding ok… well that is another story, but feeling good is worth something isn’t it??

Little C’s Cough syrup:

Kids get coughs and it seams to last forever…  What do I do?

I give honey. Yes that is right Honey is natural cough suppressant.
Sometimes I mix in cinnamon (a little bit) and sometimes I add in lemon juice and sometimes I have elderberry juice that I infuse with clove and cinnamon add to honey. That is little C’s  *favorite* cough syrup.  Yes it is that simple. My go to kid cough syrup is honey and sometimes *flavored* honey.

*most of the time I give a teaspoon of “cough syrup” and then follow it up with a cup of warm tea with more honey added*  For some reason Little C enjoys being sick… It must be the honey treatments, movies and snuggles.

Here is a link to some info from on honey as cough syrup.

Until next time,
Your Friendly Farmer’s Wife

Cough syrup ingredients

Cough syrup ingredients

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The New Year

The New Year brings with it resolutions, fresh starts and new ideas. It invokes a time of new beginnings. Around the farm we have enjoyed the slower paced winter days and have started to get caught up on a few things that get out of control during the busy farmer’s market season.

In 2016 I want to implement a few things around the farm and around the house. A few things I want to get done this year start with a clutter purge. Where does all this stuff come from? I promise it multiplies.

  1. My first challenge is to get through my closet (after we get the Christmas tree down… I told you we were enjoying the slower pace right?) and get rid of dust gathering clothes. Then I want to systematicly hit the rest of the house. I read the book by Marie Kondo “The Life Changing Magic of Tiding Up” and loved it. It has me motivated. Have you read it?
  2. We (as in the family) also are going to go on grocery spending diet… We won’t starve I promise! My freezer is stocked with some freezer meals, a side of pork and beef and over the summer I canned lots of produce complements of the Farmer’ Market and some generous friends and our local Amish Community.  So we have lots of good food to eat, I just need cook! I’ll still purchase a few items, but we are going to limit spending  and take a challenge. Anyone want to join me in a clean out the kitchen challenge?
  3. We want to get some trees planted and work outside in the garden… Anyone want to come help us? We can always use help out here. I’ll feed you. We are constantly putting in lots of sweat equity around here.
  4. The Mr. wants to start riding bikes. So this year we will be riding as a family… He has forgotten about the last couple times I was on a bike (I still have scars from one great fall that I had. I digress)

    So how about you? What are you working on this year?  Did you make some resolutions?  Please share them in comments.

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Maple Honey Syrup

Let’s talk for a minute about real food. You know foods that have names we can pronounce. The things our great grandparents would have called food. That is what we try to fill our kitchen with. Real food. So lets talk about Maple Syrup. It is hard to find  real maple syrup in this area. We aren’t in an area where there are too many sugar maple trees and so a do it yourself maple syrup project isn’t in the picture.   I haven’t found a farmer nearby that taps maple trees, so that isn’t an option either.  Last time I checked most “maple syrup” from grocery stores is nothing more than flavored High Fructose Corn Syrup posing as real maple syrup.  So that is out a buying option.   Since real maple syrup is not from around here… it is impossible to source locally.

I have a family that loves to put syrup on pancakes…. So how do we solve the problem?

Maple Honey!

Since we tend to have an abundance of honey…   I add maple extract to honey.   1/2 teaspoon of extract to 1 cup of honey. Amazing. Seriously.  It makes the best topping for pancakes and waffles.

It also makes the best fruit dip when you whip  into cream cheese for a yummy bagel spread, drizzle it on ice cream. It is a great local little treat… Seriously you will want to lick the spoon. It is that yummy.

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Ginger Syrup

As promised, the recipe for homemade Ginger syrup. Last time I told you a few ways to make some healthy soda alternatives.  Read how I gave up soda here and replaced it with healthy super stars here and here if you missed it!

Ginger Syrup 
I made this recipe from a cook book.

1 1/4 ounces of ginger root (peeled and grated)
1 3/4 cups of sugar
1/2 of lemon

Add all ingredients to a pot with water and boil. Strain.

It was good– really good, but when you are cutting out refined sugars, it won’t work long term.  What is girl to do? This girl needs something yummy that tastes fantastic, that isn’t going to reek havoc on her health.  She decides to healthy that recipe up.  Now sugars still helps give it sweetness,  but more natural sugars make it better for you and it keeps me away from all those highly refined, not good for me sodas. I had a bad problem with those.  So this is a great compromise and it tastes FANTASTIC.  The man of the house even devours this syrup.

Here is what you will need:
Ginger Root (peeled and grated, I cut off a few chunks from a root)
Lemon  (1/2 a lemon)
Water (1-2 quarts)
Honey (to taste I used 3 pounds)

Here is how it works:
1) Put a quart of water, ginger root and lemon in a pan.
2) Bring them to a boil.
3)  Simmer (mine went most of the day) to help infuse and reduce the mixture. Adding more water may be come necessary. The house smells lovely.
4) Strain it. This is great lemon ginger infusion/tea, but it isn’t syrup yet. If it seams weak, boil it to  reduce it to a  strong infusion.
5) Add  honey and lots of it. This is a syrup and you want it sweet and stir it all together (here is where you can get your supply–shameless plug I know)
6) If the honey is not mixing in well,  put the mix on the stove and  heat it.
7) Enjoy your yummy sweet ginger syrup.

This makes the most fantastic ginger ale.

To make Ginger Ale:
I mix 1 part ginger syrup with 2 parts carbonated water… YUM 🙂

To make 2nd Ferment Ginger Kombucca:
1)Add 2 or 3 Tablespoons of ginger syrup to 14 oz of kombucca tea
2) Cap the bottle and let it sit for a day at room temperature
3) Refrigerate.  It is super fizzy and tastes yummy.  I may need one now…

I use this syrup to add a bit of pizzaz to plain tea and to water keifer too!
How do you use ginger syrup? I would love to hear your ideas… drop me a comment!


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Little Stores Here We Come…

We spent the morning at K-State’s Innovation kitchen getting licensed to sell honey (as in we can be in a store)!   Under Kansas Law selling from the farm and at farmer’s market falls under different rules, but we have had a few small stores inquire about carrying our honey.  It has been so sad to turn them away, but now we can say YES. (Insert happy dance).

We were even given a tour of the hospitality space at K-State’s Innovation drive location and of the classrooms. What a great little hidden little gem in Olathe. I didn’t even KNOW you could rent a commercial kitchen to use —  Let alone have one so close to home.  Yet another learning entrepreneurial learning experience! Someone should write book about starting a business… I digress.   The staff at K-State is super helpful. My only regret is that I didn’t take pictures to share with you, but they do have a website.  There are always regrets though right?

So if you ever need a kitchen –This one is really great….

Now I need to work on labeling honey. Did I tell you we bottled ALOT of honey today?

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More Blueberry Planting

Well our berry patch endeavor has begun, a little sooner then anticipated.  We planted  130 1, 2 and 3 year old blueberry plants from an auction 2 years ago.  We have Duke, Bluecrop and Elliott varieties, they are early, middle and late season producers.  The 2 and 3 year old plants should be producing fruit next year starting in early June through July, unless we have another summer like we just had — the deer ate every berry before we could pick them.

Here is a picture of a few of the plants before we put them in the ground. Isn’t our little helper super cute?  Stay tuned for further updates.

photo 3



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Farmers Market

It is so fun when people visit the market and have great things to say about us! Check out this blog post from Jane M Tucker.

Thank-you Jane for such a great post!


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Do you know about Ebates? I have made some cash this year just from signing up and then visiting Ebates before I buy online. I made $2.70 when I bought a living social deal last week and another $2 when I ordered some vitamins. If you shop on-line, this can give you a little kick back that really adds up to some cash! Obviously $4.70 isn’t much but that was just the last two purchases.

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September Already?

The Farmer’s Market has kept us busy this summer. It is winding down, but won’t be finished until October.

We have been busy working on the farm.
Canning season is here and going at full force — applesauce, peppers, tomatoes, peaches, and salsa.   Since our camera is not working, I am not sure how much I was able to capture, but I’ll be blogging a bit about all the things we worked on!

The dehydrator ran for about 2 weeks  making  peach chips, apple chips and dried herbs. My kitchen looks like science experiment with lots of vessels fermenting watermelon rinds, pickles, cabbage and garlic! I can’t wait to share with you.

I also have some wonderful recipes we have been using to use up all those garden goodies… I’ll share them when I get more time at the computer!

I hope you are having a great harvesting season and I would love to hear what you have been working on! Leave me a comment below!

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