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Fall Equinox: sept 21st

Fall Equinox, also known as Mabon, occurs in the middle of September. It is the main harvest festival of the Wiccan calendar and marks the beginning of Autumn. The Goddess manifests in Her Bountiful Mother aspects. The God emerges as the Corn King and Harvest Lord. Colors are Orange, Dark Red, Yellow, Indigo, and Brown. It is the festival of thanksgiving.

Select the best of each vegetable, herb, fruit, nut, and other food you have harvested or purchased and give it back to Mother Earth with prayers of thanksgiving. Hang dried ears of corn around your home in appreciation of the harvest season. Do meditations and chanting as you store away food for the Winter.

Hopefully if you’re at this site and reading this you are well aware of the alternatives to using disposable bottles and recycle the ones you do. The advent of bottled water sent our already wasteful consumer culture into pollution overdrive and it’s a tremendous task to put the brakes on the momentum of this waste. Here is a list of plastic bottle fun facts that put the magnitude of this pollution into scope.

* Plastic bottles take 700 years to begin composting
* 90% of the cost of bottled water is due to the bottle itself
* 80% of plastic bottles are not recycled
* 38 million plastic bottles go to the dump per year in America from bottled water (not including soda)
* 24 million gallons of oil are needed to produce a billion plastic bottles
* The average American consumes 167 bottles of water a year
* Bottling and shipping water is the least energy efficient method ever used to supply water
* Bottled water is the second most popular beverage in the United States

Although it can be easy and convenient to pick up bottle beverage products the end cost to the environment is staggering. So be mindful when you drink…and remember, friends don’t let friends drink from disposables!

I tried this recipe last night and what a treat. The combined sweet, smokyness of grilled peaches against bitter greens and blue cheese made a delicious end to the day. I sat and watched the sunset over the Pacific ocean feeling content and happy. I love summer and outdoor grilling adventures. Try this one you won’t be sorry.

Grilled Peaches with Bitter Greens and Blue Cheese.

INGREDIENTS
1/2 cup pecans
4 firm, ripe freestone peaches, halved and pitted
2 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
3 ounces arugula, large stems discarded
One head frisée, torn into bite-size pieces (4 cups)
3 ounces Cabrales cheese, crumbled (1 cup)

1. Light a grill. Put the pecans on a sheet of aluminum foil and fold into a small pouch. Place on the grill and toast for 7 minutes, or until they are golden brown. Transfer the pecans to a plate and let cool, then coarsely chop.

2. In a medium bowl, toss the peaches with 1/2 tablespoon of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill the peaches over a medium-high fire until softened and lightly browned, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer the peaches to a work surface and cut each half in half.

3. In a medium bowl, mix the vinegar with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Add the arugula and frisée and toss well. Transfer the salad to a platter and scatter the blue cheese and toasted pecans on top. Arrange the peaches around the salad and serve.

Serves 8.

Watermelon is one of America’s all-time favorite foods. You can find it at almost every summer picnic or outdoor party and in the produce section of most food markets. The average American eats about 15 pounds of watermelon a year.

Although many people think of watermelon as a fruit, it is also considered a vegetable by some.

With a name like watermelon, it’s no wonder the melon is 92 percent water. So in addition to providing a sweet treat, watermelon can be a source of fluids for young athletes before, during and after sporting events. This doesn’t mean you should substitute it for water and sports drinks on the playing field. You still need to have those drinks nearby.

Nutritional value

Watermelon has zero saturated fat, is low in sodium and cholesterol free. Because of its high water content, watermelon is also low in calories. A good food for dieters!

It is an excellent source of vitamins A, B6 and C as well as potassium. Two cups of diced watermelon provides 20 percent of the recommended daily intake for vitamin A and 25 percent for vitamin C. In fact, the United States Department of Agriculture’s 2005 Dietary Guidelines recommends we include two cups of fruit per day in our daily diet.

Lycopene, a potential antioxidant found in watermelon, may have disease-fighting benefits. Researchers believe lycopene might have a role in the prevention of some diseases, such as forms of cancer and heart disease. There are about 15 to 20 milligrams (mg) of lycopene in a two-cup serving of watermelon, compared to 4 to 5 mg found in one tomato.

I found this great blog Radish Boy, it that has easy to follow gluten free recipes. These are gluten free oat matzoh, that I made for our seder tonight. Matzoh is unleavened bread eaten on Passover, the holiday that celebrates the escape of the Jewish people from slavery in Egypt.

According to Jewish law, matzoh must be made from one of the five grains traditionally eaten in Egypt that could become leavened. These grains are wheat, barley, rye, spelt or oats. It is made quickly, so that the grains don’t have time to ferment and leaven the bread. No more than 18 minutes can pass from the time that flour and water are mixed together to the time that the bread is finished in order for the bread to be considered matzoh.

Unfortunately for those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance, it is difficult to find gluten free matzoh, and it can’t be made from alternative grains such as rice, buckwheat or quinoa. There are several companies that sell gluten free oat matzoh, made specifically for Passover.

So in an attempt to follow the rules, I made gluten free oat matzoh using oat flour and water, and following the 18 minute time limit.

Here’s the process:

2 cups gluten free oat flour
1 cup water

Preheat the oven to 475 degrees. In a bowl, mix the flour and water. Spread a thin layer of oat flour on a board and then knead the dough until it becomes a workable, about 5 minutes. Roll the dough into a snake and cut into inch size pieces. Roll each piece into a thin circle, and prick all over with a fork. Bake for 7 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges. Make sure that the entire process takes only 18 minutes from start to finish. These matzoh will be very crisp and have a delightful, nutty taste.

Technically, these are not Kosher for Passover because the oat flour I used was not supervised by a Rabbi to ensure that it did not ferment or become contaminated during processing. But I think it is a good substitute to teach our kids about the meaning of Passover, without being too strict about the law.

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Milk Thistle has been used in the treatment of liver diseases including liver cancer for years. It heals the liver by lowering enzyme levels and assisting the liver in its process of detoxifying the body. Herbalists and Chinese Physicians have prescribed milk thistle for all types of liver disorders including cirrhosis, inflammation, high liver enzymes, jaundice, hardening of the liver, hepatitis and liver cancer. Herbalists recommend milk thistle for any type of cancer as it is vital in aiding detoxification of the blood.

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What Causes the Toxic Build-up?

We put our colons under a great deal of stress with our modern lifestyle. Years of fast food, cigarettes, prescription drugs and alcohol keep the colon busy. Add to that indigestion, constipation, work-related stress, illnesses and sedentary lifestyles, and you have a recipe for an unhealthy colon.

Don’t underestimate how important a healthy colon is to your body – Colon cancer is second only to lung cancer among cancer deaths in the US. Waste and toxins can build up in your system, and even if you don’t feel constipated your colon may need your help!

Colon Cleansing uses herbs and natural supplements to help your body mend its internal organs and restore you to health. The crucial part of a colon cleanse is the addition of Psyllium to your diet.

Juice fasting is a great way to restore your system to health, cleanse the colon and lose weight at the same time. Often your body tells you it is hungry when you really just need to drink some water, so drink one of these juices every time you feel hungry. This way you’re staying healthy and not engaging in unnecessary binge eating.

Here are a few recipes to get you started.

Stomach Cleanser

Ingredients:
1 bunch Grapes
1 basket Strawberries
3 Apples
4 sprigs Fresh Mint
Water

Healing Juice

Ingredients:
3-4 Carrots
125g Fresh Spinach
Handful of Flat Leaf Parsley
2-3 Sticks of Celery
Water

Vegetable Super Juice

Ingredients:
1 whole cucumber
4 sticks of celery
2-4 handfuls of spinach
8 lettuce leaves
Optional boosters: parsley and fresh alfalfa sprouts
Water