Tag Archives: healthy living

a ginger syrup recipe for homemade gingerale

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I grew up drinking gingerale whenever we had a sore throat or a cold – or just as a treat. We’ve been going through a lot of gingerale here this winter due to constantly passing the same colds back and forth within the family. And living outside of town, it’s not always convenient to just run to the store when one of the kids complains of a sore throat.

I thought I would try to make some myself, thinking that it would be something at least slightly better for us than store bought pop with the extra ingredients. Gingerale is probably one of the better (if there is such a thing) of the pops for having a short list of ingredients, but it turns out that you can make that list even shorter by making it at home. And it’s easy.

Ginger is supposed to be good for sore throats, digestive problems and nausea. I think it makes a good treat with some popcorn on a Saturday night. Both of the kids agreed that this tastes just like store bought gingerale.

Now that I have made it and have seen how easy it is to make, I will keep a steady supply of ginger in the freezer (I just recently learned that you can freeze ginger root) and some ready made ginger syrup (in ice cube form) in the freezer as well – just to have both on hand.

Ginger Syrup

  • ~6 inch piece of ginger, finely chopped
  • juice of one lemon (~2 tbsp)
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups sugar

Place everything in a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for about an hour or until ginger flavour is very strong. Cool, strain through a seive and store in a covered container in the fridge. It should keep for a week or two.

To make a glass of gingerale, add one to two tablespoons of syrup to a glass of club soda.

It will last for one to two weeks if stored in the fridge.

Linked to Frugally Sustainable, GNOWFGLINS

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December – a month and a year of slow living

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Another year is behind us. That’s almost a whole year that I have been writing about my life in this space. I’ve been surprised by the people outside of family members that stop by to read and leave a comment and have “met” many interesting people.

WordPress has made a summary for each blog that nicely sums up the most popular posts, stats and commenters (Click here to see the complete report.). Thanks to everyone who visited and commented in the past year.

I’m following the example at Slow Living Essentials again this month, and using her categories to summarize my month and list some things I’d like to accomplish. I started doing this partway through the year, and for my own end of year summary, here are the links to the other months:

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{Nourish}:

This month was all about eating with family and friends and coworkers. And turkey. We cooked two turkeys for Christmas Day this year to ensure lots of leftovers. Lots and lots of leftovers. I’m over turkey now. Well, mostly. We’ve had curried turkey and rice casserole, turkey in our baked rigatoni, and turkey on our pizza last night.

I wrote about the 3 kinds of goodies that I make at Christmas to give away – 5 minute fudge, white chocolate party mix and dark chocolate/ginger bark. Unfortunately I think I ate nearly as much as I gave away. Unless I can blame my incredibly shrinking waistbands on the tall hormonal kid doing the laundry.

I also tried an easy and delicious thumbprint cookie recipe from LouAnn and learned a neat little trick for making the thumbprint holes from Carolyn (I’d like to try her cookie recipe too).

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{Prepare}:

The preparations were mostly just of the Christmas baking and present making variety this month. We do have a good stash of cooked cubed turkey in the freezer as well as a few casseroles made by my father-in-law (he is great that way) that will get us through some of the hectic moving days ahead of us in January.

{Reduce/Reuse/Repurpose/Repair}:

We (and by we, I mean ME) continue to organize and pack for our move to the farmhouse in a couple of weeks. As much as I hate to admit it, it is a good opportunity to weed out unused/unwanted items that I would have continued to ignore in hidden corners and closets. I have one bedroom full of bags of stuff to be donated to charity and I am afraid I am far from finished. How did we accumulate this much? Never again.

My plan to blow up the house by giving the small squeaky (evil) kid a chemistry set for Christmas doesn’t seem to be working out for me, so I will continue until it is all sorted and dealt with. Sigh.

In a similar vein and for the same reasons, our garbage creation for this month is way out of control. I am recycling as much as I can by donating useful items and handing down some pieces of furniture to my brother and giving other unwanted items to a neighbour who resells furniture and household items, but some things just end up being trash. Once the move is done things will improve significantly.

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{Green}:

I made a spiced chai sugar body scrub this month. Other than that, I continue to use some homemade cleaners, but have also found that I’ve been relying on store-bought stuff because of time constraints or laziness. It’s something to work on again in the new year.

{Grow}:

I killed my houseplant this month. Oops. One less thing to move.

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{Create}:

I made several quick and easy dish cloths for teacher’s gifts this month, finished a top knot toque for the mini-nephew and started but (again, oops) didn’t finish a seaman’s toque for my brother for Christmas. Maybe I’ll pick it up again tonight.

{Discover}:

There hasn’t been a lot of time or energy for reading this month, but we got a few new books for Christmas that I will be getting into soon. As a tongue-in-cheek gift for the dad, I bought a copy of the new Janet Evanovich bounty hunter book (we don’t usually admit in public to reading them, but they are quick and funny, and we both enjoy them), a bottle of the Bvlgari body wash used by the male character in the book (I had to have it shipped within the States and brought back by my co-worker’s snowbird mother on her way home for Christmas – my husband saw an email she sent me about “the package” coming across the border and briefly wondered if I had turned to a life of crime) and an all-black outfit that the same character would wear. My coworker’s mom says she is going to call him to see how it all worked out for him.

Anyway. So, I haven’t been doing much mind-expanding reading – though I continue to enjoy and learn from other blogs that I read. I’ve also just started watching the first season of Downton Abbey – another Christmas gift. I’m hooked.

{Enhance – community}:

I’m not sure if this counts, but my husband has bought another business in our community and is now even more firmly entrenched. Fingers crossed that this one works out as well as we hope.

We also had a hockey tournament, a few Christmas get-togethers and visitors to the house as out-of-towners come home to visit relatives.

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{Enjoy}:

Christmas was the big celebration in our home this month, but the end of year birthday of the oldest child can’t be overlooked either. There have been lots of opportunities to tickle the mini-cousins and visit with family.

New Year’s Eve was a quiet night at our house with homemade pizza, leftover birthday cake and a movie (Paul Blart, Mall Cop – hey, the kids liked it) and everyone tucked away in bed before midnight. We’re in various stages of recovery from the flu and needed the rest.

Another busy and enjoyable month. Happy New Year!

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June – a month of living slowly

Another month of the year down. It really is a slower time of year around here, with summer starting and the outside heat getting turned up. I’m following the example at Slow Living Essentials again this month, and using her categories to summarize my month and list some things I’d like to accomplish.

{Nourish}:

We’ve officially started BBQ season here and have been grilling everything that we possibly can. I’m sorry that asparagus is done for the year, because we were really enjoying it marinated and grilled. We’ve had a few house guests on the weekends and the resulting treats were French breakfast (donut) muffins and brownies.

{Prepare}:

I made strawberry rhubarb jam one weekend and strawberry freezer jam plus some extra strawberries in syrup for the freezer the next weekend. We didn’t have any extra rhubarb this year for the freezer like I’d hoped, but I think the frozen strawberries will probably make up for it.

{Reduce}:

We are working on keeping our garbage down to 1 bag every 2 weeks, but sometimes we don’t quite meet that. Our food waste is either composted (and by that I mean we throw it into the back  field – we really don’t need compost with all of the horse manure we have available), or fed to the dog. Most other things are recyclable here, but there are still things like tissues (don’t want those in the septic tank) and styrofoam that need throwing out. I try to avoid products that come with too much extra packaging and we do buy a lot from the bulk stores, but the packaging still seems to make it into the house.

Repairs were made by the dad to our truck, lawn mower and the pressure pump on the back well, thereby saving us repair bills. The pump was a new part, but necessary to avoid using the front well, which had recently started pumping (as the 9-year-old so aptly calls it) fart water. Lovely. But we’ve resumed normal clean and clear country water now.

{Green}:

I’m still adjusting to the summer time-of-use guidelines for hydro usage in order to use hydro more efficiently. I normally set the appliances to run after we’ve gone to bed. I am hoping to be more consistent with using the clothesline to dry clothes with the extra time I have off this summer. The air conditioning is staying off as much as possible. I don’t mind the heat, as long as it’s not humid. Humidity makes us turn it on every time.

As far as homemade products go, I made a warming bath soak for when some unexpected cold weather at the beginning of the month caused some chills and muscle spasms and some lavender cooling spray for when the weather did a complete 180 degree turn.

{Grow}:

We’re still planting the garden in increments, trying out succession planting to see if we can stretch the produce out even longer this year. So far we’ve enjoyed lettuce (mesclun mix – can anyone tell me what the nasty bitter stuff is in it?), onion, radish and baby potatoes. The carrots didn’t germinate, so we’ve had to replant them, but everything else seems to be doing well. I’ve been using the chives, mint and dill regularly and am looking forward to using some of the basil and sage. My rosemary didn’t come up either, now that I think about it. Huh.

{Create}:

I made mom a (late) housewarming gift basket containing a lavender beeswax candle, amongst other things. Other than that I wasn’t all that creative this month. Mostly, I’m lucky to get out of the house with pants on in the morning. Creativity comes pretty low down on the list, but I’d like to try knitting again. I haven’t done any knitting since the girls were babies.

{Discover}: 

I have a stack of overdue library books. Almost every time I opened a book this month my mind shut down and I fell asleep. It wasn’t the book, it was me. I’m going to renew them all and take them with me to the cottage. I’ll be better next month. Promise.

{Enhance – community}: 

The dad worked out a barter/trade with an electrician friend to fix the hydro line that was knocked off the barn in a storm in exchange for storage of his vehicle in our barn. We are also sharing our garden with a friend who lives in town. He, in turn, has a lot of experience and expertise to offer (not to mention labour – it’s a big garden). We purchased local strawberries for jam-making.

{Enjoy}: 

We spent our weekends with friends and family. We never have a weekend without entertaining company of some kind. A highlight of the month was taking the kids and some of their friends to see the RCMP musical ride. Most of the time, our kids are busy just being country kids and enjoying life.

Sorry that was such a long post. I don’t mind if you don’t read it all. I just like it as a little reminder that we actually did accomplish something this month.

Linked to Like a Mustard Seed, Frugally Sustainable, White Wolf Summit Farmgirl

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