Just a quick post is still crazy busy!  I am sorely missing the kitchen these days...but the good news is we have had the most beautiful warm/hot summer.  Wouldn't you know it, the first time in 8 years, and I do not have time to do a garden...DANG!
In the meantime with life being so busy, DH has been doing most of the cooking on the BBQ - steak, chicken, pork chops, fresh wild salmon, and the very best of fresh new potatoes, steamed green beans and carrots, fresh delicious.  Despite the busy work schedule we have been eating like Kings!  Oh how I live for summer.
And speaking of fresh...we love starting our days with a delicious smoothie - and this one did not disappoint.  Blueberries, Nectarines or Peaches is such a winning combination.  Add in some fresh ginger and it will help get your day started.  Each year we so look forward to fresh organic blueberries and any other fresh fruit we can get our hands on. (I always buy an abundance of fresh organic Blueberries to freeze for the winter months to have for hot cereal, pancakes or fresh smoothies)
With all of the Smoothies I make, we use Kefir Milk, but use your favorite milk, dairy or not it will still taste great.
1 large nectarine cut into chunks (cut over the blender as it will capture all of those fresh juices)
1-2 cups of fresh blueberries
1 cup Kefir milk - or milk of your choice
3 big Tblsp. Organic plain yogurt
1 Tblsp. finely minced ginger
Agave Nectar to taste
Blend everything in your blender to a nice smooth consistency and enjoy!

After all these years of having fresh herbs in the garden, I finally decided to dry fresh lemon balm and mint.  I can not believe with a garden full of these lovely herbs I have not done this sooner!
Lemon Balm is said to have many healing qualities - you can read about lemon balm here.
I cut some stalks of lemon balm, and stalks of mint - mine is not true mint - it tastes like peppermint and spearmint - but either would work well here.
This not a good picture because of the lighting, but what I did do was to attach an elastic band around the bottom edges of the stalks of herbs.  Then I hung them by string upside down on a curtain rod in the kitchen.  My kitchen always has a window or two open so there is always a breeze.  It is important to have good air flow when drying these herbs.

I did loose track of time.  This is a guess here but I think they hung for at least 2 weeks.  I did two other batches, and between warm weather, some wind through the windows, they were dry in one weeks time.
Then I picked off each leaf, making sure not to include the tough stems.  Then chop until you have a small consistency - wow does it ever smell luscious :
2 cups dried lemon balm, chopped fine
1 1/2 cups dried mint - spearmint or peppermint
boiling water
fresh lemon
Cut your dried herbs - you want them fairly small - similar to tea  leaves.  Add to a bowl and combine the two herbs.
Mix up until well combined and transfer to a mason jar, to store in a dark cupboard.
To make the tea, add 3 Tblsp. of dried tea mixture to 1 1/2 cups of boiling water.  Allow to steep for 5-10 minutes.  Squeeze in the juice of a fresh lemon wedge and a tad bit of honey, stirring to combine.  Refreshing homemade tea at it's best!

This was such a refreshing delicious lemonade.  I had gone to our local Nursery to buy my Basil Plants for the summer.  The owner was in the process of cutting back a large Grapefruit Mint Plant, and gifted me with the cuttings.  I had never heard of Grapefruit Mint before, have you?
The flavor of this mint is unique, with a subtle grapefruit hint, not overpowering, and much tastier than regular mint in my opinion.  This lemonade was so tasty, I have to get back to the nursery to buy the plant.  Rather than plant it in the garden, I will plant it in a large pot as my lemon balm and regular mint are taking over the gardens!
I love using fresh herbs in iced beverages like this one and like my Iced Lemon/Mint Tea.
2 cups fresh grapefruit mint leaves (fairly packed down) (lemon balm would be delicious too)
7 cups of boiling water
1 cup of freshly squeezed organic lemon juice
10 Tblsp. Agave Nectar
Add the fresh grapefruit mint leaves to a large pitcher, pouring in the water, allowing to steep 30-40 minutes.
Strain the leaves out of the tea, add in the fresh lemon juice and Agave Nectar stirring to dissolve.  I used tablespoons to measure for sweetness, as I do not like overly sweet lemonade - this was perfect for me, but if you like it sweeter add more Agave Nectar to suit your tastes.
Pour over ice with a lemon wedge and enjoy! 🙂
Here is a mini tour of what is happening in the garden right now:
I separated the basil plants to grow in one big container.  I still have some more to plant!
Check this out:  I planted some cauliflower starts - have you ever seen a pink hued cauliflower?  Not sure what kind of cauliflower this is, but it was very sweet and mighty tasty!
Now onto the flowers:
This Blue Delphinium is as tall as I am - 5'8" - never knew they could grow that tall!
Then the ever growing Cottage Mallow which is almost as tall.  At the far left is an equally tall Rosemary Bush:
Calendula is always bountiful throughout my gardens, a hardy self seeding gem. Mercy...I have a ton of weeding to do!
Campenalla gives such bright color and self seeds as well:
These Purple African Daisy's overwintered from last year - almost unheard of in my neck of the woods!
And finally a lovely dark pink Cosmos - one of may favorite flowers:

As I may have mentioned previously, years ago when healing from Celiac Disease I made the choice to heal naturally. I have never done well with medication of any kind, including aspirin! I wanted to get vitamin packed nutrients from vegetables of all kinds. We bought an inexpensive juicer and at that time regularly made home made green drinks.
The road to healing for me was to eat a healthy diet, with some vitamin supplements, Pro-biotics , Massage, Reflexology, Acupressure and Acupuncture treatments. As well as having different herbal infusions and remedies, yoga and giving the time for my body to heal naturally through good nutrition. I so wish I knew then about the many health benefits of fermentation - sauerkraut, fermented vegetables, fermented salsa, kimchi and the many other fermented foods.  The more I read about the many health benefits of these foods - the more I want to learn.
So, I continue in my research and education: to learn about fermentation, to learn about natural soap making and natural body lotions to name a few.  I hope to share some of this knowledge as I learn - down the road.
For me, this natural approach was the way to go. I can not speak for others, as each healing journey is unique to each individual.   Although this was a three year healing process for me, in hindsight, I would not do it any other way.
Would you like to share your healing journey from Celiac/and or other Allergy diseases?  What approach best worked for you? Have you any guidance or recommendations you would like to share? I welcome all thoughts, insight or experiences you may have had - please do share.
So here we are - many years later, healed from Celiac Disease. I started to think back on those early days of healing and also when we first purchased our Juicer.  We had not had homemade juice in quite some time. The juicer got packed away and sort of forgotten about.  Now it sits in the corner of my kitchen on the counter - as a reminder not to forget about the wonderful, tasty, healthy, juice drinks that can so easily be made.

The other good thing about making your own vegetable cocktail, is you control what goes into it and how much salt to add.  Many of the commercial brands, even the low sodium, are still quite high in salt.
This cocktail was super refreshing!  Now when tomatoes go on sale - this juice will be my number one pick.
You can really play around with the ingredients in this cocktail - extra cucumber, extra carrots, or extra tomatoes whatever suits your tastes.  I can't wait for fresh summer tomatoes!
4 fresh tomatoes
2 green onions
3-4 inch piece of English cucumber
2 1/2 carrots
1 1/2 stalks of celery
salt and pepper to taste
Roughly chop the vegetables into sizable chunks - to fit into the top of your juicer.  Once all the vegetables have been processed, season with salt and pepper.  Pour into a tall glass and add a celery stalk stir stick (phew, that was a tongue twister!) as the juice does separate.  It is like a refreshing salad in a glass! 🙂

As I write up this post, I am spooning this luscious smoothie into my mouth....I just want to devour it in one go!  We go through fazes where we have smoothies 3-4 times a week, then we won't have them for a while, then we are back to having them on a regular basis again.  Think I might stick to having them every week from now on, especially when they taste this good.
For this recipe I used a combination of Kefir Milk and Soy Milk, however, wouldn't coconut milk be sinful?  You can use any milk in this recipe to suit your tastes, all I know is, after one taste of this?  I was in heaven! (and I'm not even really a big Mango fan...go figure?)
2 cups frozen Mango
1 Banana
1 Tblsp. grated fresh Ginger
3/4 cup Kefir Milk
1/2 cup of Soy Milk
3 Tblsp. Plain Organic Yogurt
1 Tblsp. Agave Nectar or Honey
Blueberries for garnish (I used frozen, that I defrosted)
Add all of the ingredients to a blender or food processor, whiz up until smooth.  Garnish with a few blueberries.

Thought I would write an update on the Kefir Milk Experiment .  Each day, I have been following the same method for making the Kefir Milk, here is the post.
I started out having one tablespoon of milk each day - taking it slow, because of Lactose Intolerance.  Then after a few days, I increased the amount to two tablespoons, a week later, I was having four tablespoons.  Fingers crossed, so far so good.
Here is what strikes me so interesting.  The Kefir milk does taste like Buttermilk - there is a definite sour, somewhat yeasty taste to it.  When I first taste it, I get a hit of sour, not unpleasant at all.  Then when I swallow the Kefir milk, I immediately want more.  This tells me my body must really need this.
Thank the heavens I froze a lot of organic berries last summer.  This Kefir Milk Berry Smoothie was surprisingly delicious.  I was not sure what to expect in terms of flavor....smooth, extra creamy, I think I am addicted!  To this recipe, I added 2/3 a cup of Kefir milk....this made 2 large glasses of berry smoothie....I drank the whole thing!  I could not help myself it was that good.....we'll see what happens....
Frozen Organic Berries:
10 Strawberries
a big handful of Blueberries
a big handful and a half of Blackberries
4 Tblsp. Plain Organic Yogurt
2/3 cup Kefir Milk
a drizzle of honey
I let my frozen berries sit in a bowl for 30-40 minutes before blending.

Toss everything into your blender or food processor.
Blend well until smooth, pour into glasses...enjoy, so delicious!

Years ago when I was first healing from Celiac Disease, one of the first things we did was to buy an inexpensive juicer.  We made fresh, healing, juices every day.  I swear by them. They are so easy to make, and they can actually taste really really good.  Doesn't this one look so pretty?  So the other day I pulled out our juicing machine, gave it a good cleaning (it had been packed away for a couple of years).  We decided it was time to get back to making a juice drink every day.  It does the body good.
Wash and trim all vegetables.  I remove the core from apples, trim the ends off carrots and beets, but leave the peel on all of the vegetables.  Then process according to your juicing machine instructions. I also pour the juice through a strainer to get rid of any bits of veggie.  This is enough to serve 2, and if it tastes too strong, just add a bit of filtered water.  Enjoy!
3 carrots
1 medium sized beet, ends removed
2 celery stalks
a 4-5  inch broccoli stalk
1 large apple, core removed
a 2 inch piece of ginger

Each summer I stock pile my freezer with berries…..strawberries, blueberries and blackberries.  They are wonderful to have for pies, crisps, cakes, coulis…and smoothies throughout the year.  And by using frozen berries in a smoothie - you do not need ice - so you end up with a more concentrated berry taste.
There are no measurements – just eyeball consistency and taste.
Large handful of berries – I used blueberries
4-5 frozen strawberries
1 cup of organic yogurt
Juice – I had frozen blackberry coulis so used that combined with about ½ cup of berry pomegranate juice – about 1 cup in total
Honey (optional – my berries were really sweet so did not use any)
Mix up all the ingredients in a blender or food processor …..delicious!