Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Residue Free Moments

All there is, is this moment.  When I sat down this morning in my office, my to-do list and in box were overflowing.  I have a tendency to become lost in my list, exhausted before the day begins.  My thoughts dance over what needs to be done ASAP, what is really important, what won't go away until I do it and of course what I would love to do.  So often what I would love falls to the end of my to-do list.  Before I know it's bed time and my love has been put on hold once again.

In 2004, I woke up from a dream.  My grandparents, at that point were all still alive and living as best as they could.  My dream was one of those dreams that change your life and stay with you as if it was as real as the nose on my face.  In my dream, I realized, if my grandparents could go back to one day in their lives  it would probably be any day.  The gift of one day where your bones don't hurt, you can once again drive, your family is growing and surrounding you.  You have the freedom to choose your day.  I decided to find a way to learn to love each day, not for its grandeur but for its gift of being.  The dream made me understand it was not about the grand days but about the love and presence of each day.  Watching the heifers in the front pasture kicking up their heels in joy.  Picking an OH so ripe tomato and having the juice run down your arm.  Going fishing at 5 in the morning, prying a sleepy and maybe slightly grumpy granddaughter out of bed to dig worms.  Baking cookies just because you love how chocolate chip cookies fresh out of the oven brings smiles to everyone who enters the kitchen. 

The gift is in the day, not in the list or the want or the maybe someday.  The gift is in each moment.  That is where our presents are.  So this morning, I start not at my stack waiting so ever patiently for me to attend, but in doing something my heart desires.  And this morning it is writing to you- who ever you may be. 

My desire to be present and love each day is really a practice.  Some days and even weeks I forget my practice, but this practice planted from the seeds of a dream keeps popping up like dandelions in the front yard.  Little yellow flowers of joyful exuberance.

May your day be full of presents- one moment at a time,

Monday, July 9, 2012

Many hands make quick work

My grandma used to say "many hands make quick work".  Working with friends and family not only makes us more productive but turns a job into a social event.
This weekend, I volunteered with a friend to hand out recycle bags for an apartment complex that was starting recycling this Monday.  The plan was to deliver 170 bags, to 170 apartments, knocking on each door and introducing the new recycling.  With one person, Sunday afternoon in 80 degree weather, this would have been a chore.  But with 3 friends chatting and working together, the afternoon proved fun and it felt good to lend a hand.

  My grandparents had the attitude that many hands make quick work.  I remember my great grandma Biddle's joyful attitude as we would sit at the kitchen table shelling peas and visiting.  One year a fellow farmer/neighbor of my grandpa Alton's hurt his back. He couldn't harvest his farm.  My grandpa showed me a picture of all the neighborhood farmers and their tractors lined up ready to bring in the harvest for their injured friend.  I know my grandpa and his neighbors didn't have free time or extra money.  But what they did possess were big hearts and a strong sense of  what is right.  When my grandpa showed me those pictures later in his life, he was so proud of that "work day".  Not only did their work save a neighbor and friend from loosing a whole years work but the volunteer farmers gained lifetime benefits from their generosity. 

   As our families get scattered around the country, those simple afternoons of shelling peas with family or helping neighbors may be getting fewer and farther between.  But they are just as essential in our lives as they ever were. Maybe if our families no longer live next door, then lets create families in our communities and with our friends.  Getting together not just for fun but to get our work done by making quick work with many hands while enjoying the whole process for years to come.
   Just a thought for Monday.

As always, wishing you and your family a happy and healthy home,
Denise Frakes
Healthy home specialist
Owner- Blue Sky Services

Friday, May 18, 2012

Brain Droppings is an art

Inspiration appears in odd places....George Carlin was known for his use of words and brain dropping comedy but who knew he was also inspired by another?  Below is quote he included from page ix of his book Brain Droppings.  Enjoy..

" There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique.  And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost.  The world will not have it.  It is not your business to determine how good it is, nor how valuable it is, nor how it compares with other expressions.  It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open.  You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work.  You have to keep yourself open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you.  Keep the channel open..."

                   Martha Gharm to Agnes de MIlle, Martha:  The Life and Work of Martha Graham

As I have always said,  it is not what you do but how you do it.   However we express our lives, the most important aspect is to be ourselves and trust our hearts directions, that we are here for a reason.

As always, wishing you a healthy and happy home,
          Denise Frakes

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Let food be your medicine- the hippocratic oath

In cleaning and in health the sames rules seem to apply for good

Prevent as much as possible

Use the mildes and safest means possible

and leave nothing behind and do no harm!!

Below is the modern version of the hippocratic oath

I thought spring is a good time to revisit this oath

A widely used modern version of the traditional oath was penned in 1964 by Dr. Louis Lasagna, former Principal of the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences and Academic Dean of the School of Medicine at Tufts University:[8]

I swear to fulfill, to the best of my ability and judgment, this covenant:

I will respect the hard-won scientific gains of those physicians in whose steps I walk, and gladly share such knowledge as is mine with those who are to follow.

I will apply, for the benefit of the sick, all measures [that] are required, avoiding those twin traps of over treatment and therapeutic nihilism.

I will remember that there is art to medicine as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh the surgeon's knife or the chemist's drug.

I will not be ashamed to say "I know not", nor will I fail to call in my colleagues when the skills of another are needed for a patients recovery.

I will respect the privacy of my patients, for their problems are not disclosed to me that the world may know. Most especially must I tread with care in matters of life and death. If it is given to me to save a life, all thanks. But it may also be within my power to take a life; this awesome responsibility must be faced with great humbleness and awareness of my own frailty. Above all, I must not play at God.

I will remember that I do not treat a fever chart, a cancerous growth, but a sick human being, whose illness may affect the person's family and economic stability. My responsibility includes these related problems, if I am to care adequately for the sick.

I will prevent disease whenever I can, for prevention is preferable to cure.

I will remember that I remain a member of society with special obligations to all my fellow human beings, those sound of mind and body as well as the infirm.If I do not violate this oath, may I enjoy life and art, be respected while I live and remembered with affection thereafter.

May I always act so as to preserve the finest traditions of my calling and may I long experience the joy of healing those who seek my help.

As Always, wishing you a happy and healthy home!
Denise Frakes
Co-owner of Blue Sky Services
Certified Healthy Home Specialist- NCHH

Monday, March 12, 2012

The grain of the month is Quinoa

Tonight somewhere after putting the groceries away and making dinner, I made a fabulous little discovery. There is a grain of the month calendar!!! I ask you, how incredibly cool is that?

The whole grains council has created a calendar celebrating one or two grains per month. From my blog title, you probably figured out Quinoa is March's grain of the month.

Here is a teaser about this super little pseudo grain:

"It's not surprising that quinoa supports good health, as it's one of the only plant foods that is a complete protein, offering all the essential amino acids in a healthy balance. Not only is the protein complete, but quinoa grains have an unusually high ratio of protein to carbohydrate, since the germ makes up about 60% of the grain. ( For comparison, wheat germ comprises less than 3% of a wheat kernel.) Quinoa is also highest of all the whole grains in potassium, which helps control blood pressure."

The site is a gold mine of grain info.

Each month the council lists a new grain. Since we are already into March I will catch you up.
January is Oats
February is Barley
March is Quinoa

Tonight we had sprouted brown rice for dinner...apparently, I was out of season:)

As always, wishing you a healthy and happy home,
Denise Frakes

Monday, March 5, 2012

Cocunut Sugar - keeps the sugar blues away

Coconut Sugar, it looks like dull brown sugar sugar. I first heard about it last year at a sprouting class. Shortly after that my sister told me about coconut sugar. She had heard about it from one of her student's moms.

I tried it, my sister tried it. We liked it. This week I dug a bit deeper into this new ingredient. It turns out, coconut sugar has some powerful friends. Here is a video by Dr. Oz. He likes it. http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/coconut-palm-sugar-best-new-sugar-alternative

Specifically this is what I like about coconut sugar:
It is natural
It has a glycemic index of 35
It doesn't make my blood sugar jump and dive after eating
It tastes good
It can be substituted for regular sugar 1:1 ratio

Have I ever mentioned diabetes runs in my family? Did you know I have troubles with hypoglycemia ( low blood sugar)? And although this is rare.... sometimes I get blood sugar spikes and drops causing me to be less than charming.

To find an ingredient where I can enjoy foods that are not only yummy but safe is a good find.

Last night I made homemade whipped cream:
Whipping cream
Coconut sugar
Real Vanilla extract

This morning I mixed plain yogurt, frozen blueberries, a bit of coconut sugar and a splash of lemon extract for my breakfast- way good.

My sister and I have been playing around with coconut sugar for about 6 months. So far we give it a thumbs up. Anything that keeps me healthy and smiling is a good thing!

As always, wishing you a healthy and happy home,
Denise Frakes
Co-Owner of Blue Sky Services
Certified Healthy Home Specialist

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Worms & dirt or diamonds & beauty???

"Imperfection is beauty; madness is genius; and it is better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring." - Marilyn Monroe

Are you more at ease with worms & dirt or diamonds & fashion? I am most definitely a worms and dirt kind of girl. I have an amazing friend who is more inspired by diamonds and fashion. What is important isn't where your passion lies, it is that you have passion in the first place. If you live from your heart, it won't matter a hoot where you find joy. It is in finding joy that makes your heart smile.

When you heart smiles you are beautiful, because that beauty comes from within. Inner beauty radiates a joyful light. There is no makeup in the world that can give you radiance like a heart filled with joy and love.

The last couple years of my grandma Ella's life she could no longer see clearly and yet her eyes sparkled. She was in her 90's, in wheel chair and a bit wrinkled. She was magnificent. I remember sitting with her visiting and thinking how incredibly beautiful she was. It took my breath away. Her beauty wasn't physical, it was her inner beauty that shone so bright. Always, teaching me lessons, she again taught me, your true beauty is internal not external.

If you have the grace to take fashion to an art. If your eye's light up when you see gold and diamonds then celebrate this. If you are most at home digging in dirt and making compost then celebrate this. It isn't what you do but how you do it. If what you love gives you great joy, then this will be seen by all. There is no need to judge ourselves or others by outward appearances but to learn to see the light in us all. If you find joy in dirt,diamonds or even fruitcake don't question but celebrate. Let this passion be your best beauty treatment.

"What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us."- Oliver Wendell Holmes

As always, wishing you a healthy and happy home,
Denise Frakes
Co-owner of Blue Sky Services
Healthy home specialist

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Of chips and faith for 6 weeks

"Faith is the very first thing you should pack in a hope chest."-Sarah Ban Breathnach

This year I am observing Lent. I'm not catholic nor do I really have any reason to observe lent, yet somehow it seems so right. In college, my roommate and best friend observed lent. She would usually give up candy. She introduced lent to me via her yearly experiences.

I like the idea of changing how you view the world. We live day to day. Sometimes this day to day living gets rut like. We need to shake up our ruts, take off our blinders and open our eyes- or at least I do.

For Lent this year, I am giving up chips. I'm not a big chip eater but lately I find myself snacking away. If I'm going to snack with no thought- chips is my thoughtless snack food of choice. I can sit down to write, bag of chips full. I can stop writing, bag of chips empty??? For the next 6 weeks no chips, maybe more veggies, possibly eaten mindfully.

Besides chips, I am going to give up worrying, fretting, muddling over and stewing. My family has generations of formidable worriers. It is embedded in my bones and blood. But for 6 weeks I am going to try on a new habit on for size. I'm going to practice faith. I do understand this might be a little more difficult than giving up chips. I also realize the benefits of practicing faith far out way the benefits of not mindlessly eating chips.

How will I do this? Change a life pattern? Oh course, I will have to figure it out as I go. I've enlisted Dallas, my hubby, to give me gentle and predetermined reminders (an essential ingredient to a happy marriage:). I will use it as a practice knowing full well, I am human and should treat myself kindly. But don't you love the idea of practicing faith???

Think about it, when something you perceive as stressful comes into your life, instead of wigging out and filling your days and thoughts with worse case scenarios. Wouldn't if feel good to say "all will be well" and truly know all will be well? Living in Faith vs worry may be the ultimate in a residue free life!!!

As always, wishing you a happy and residue free home,
Denise Frakes
Co-owner of Blue Sky Services
Certified Healthy Home Specialist

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Parsnip Cake with Goat Cheese Frosting

Why not parsnips? This little known vegetable has been around since time began... well, maybe not that long but it was one of the first cultivated veggies. There is nothing wrong with this new-old discovery so much as it has been sandwiched in the wrong category. I say it is not a savory veggie!! All the recipes I have found for parsnips are savory- that is so wrong!!

The other day, I was experimenting with this little wonder, roasting it along with carrots and broccoli. When I pulled my dish from the oven, all I smelled was a delicious sweet baked good. Where did that come from? The parsnip! The parsnip was created to be a desert!

I knew parsnip's glory was a parsnip cake. Last weekend I tried my theory. I tested it on friends... we had a get together and I made two cakes. Below are the recipe's used including the original from my sister in law- KIM's Jumping Bean Carrot Cake recipe.
(Thank you Kim! Kim! Kim!)

The original Carrot Cake Recipe: Kim's Jumping Bean Carrot Cake
2 eggs
3/4 cups oil
1/4 cup water
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup sugar
1 1/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 lb shredded carrots
Beat wet ingredients, slowly add dry
Fold in carrots and walnuts
bake 350- 1 hour ( this is a high altitude recipe)

The Parsnip Cake Experiments: ( add or substituted in the 2nd cake)
2 eggs
1/4 cup chia gel
1/2 cup oil
1/4 cup water
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup turbinado sugar or (1 cup coconut sugar)
1 1/4 spelt flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts (plus 1/2 cup raisins)
1/2 lb shredded parsnips (about 2.5 cups) (shredded and then food processed for smaller size)
follow above cooking directions- At low altitude the cake was done way before 1 hour was up

Goat cheese frosting
5 oz soft goat cheese
3 oz whipped cream cheese
2 tbl soft butter
1 tsp vanilla
For sweetness you can either add 1/2 cup powdered sugar and 3 tbl honey
or for a naturally sweet frosting on my second cake. I added a combo of honey, maple syrup, and rice syrup.
Whip with a mixer until nice a fluffy!!
Top cake with frosting when cake is nice a cool.

Chia seed gel: in case you missed my earlier blog

Mix 6 tbl spoons chia seed with a quart of water. Make sure you shake and stir while it is setting up. After the mixture turns to a gel- about 30 minutes, you can use this chia seed get to substitute for 1/2 your oils in baking. In the parsnip cake experiments I only used 1/3 oil substitution but I think I could have easily used 1/2 substitution.

Hope you enjoy!!!! It was good desert for a party and we also enjoyed our cake for breakfast the next morning:) If you try it, let me know what you think... unless you didn't like it in which case try another veggie:)

As always, wishing you a healthy and happy home,

Thursday, January 12, 2012

How do you define prosperity?

Can you feel more prosperous than a well stocked pantry? Perhaps, but tonight I went shopping and had this feeling of joyful contentment as I emptied out my grocery bags. How lucky are we to be able to fill up our pantry!

Doesn't it feel good to have all the necessities along with special treats at your disposal? Currently, our pantry is stocked with forbidden rice, coconut sugar, mung beans, green tea with toasted brown rice, raw cocoa powder, real vanilla, ground organic cinnamon, roasted laver with grape seed oil and oh so much more.

Of course, letting someone in on the contents of one's pantry is very personal. But I would not know about coconut sugar if my sister hadn't told me about it. I got a recipe for raw cocoa and avocado pudding at Marlene's market. The green tea with toasted brown rice is one of my personal favorites at a sushi restaurant we frequent and the forbidden rice I read about in a book. Sharing fun and creative finds is what friends are for. If you have any delicious discoveries in your pantry pass them along.

Prosperity can be measured by more than just money in the bank. It is a questions I'm asking myself today, how do I define prosperity? How do you define it?

As always, wishing you a healthy and happy home,
Denise Frakes
Co-Owner of Blue Sky Services
Certified healthy home specialist

Friday, January 6, 2012

Day of Epiphanies!!!!

Happy Epiphany Day! This little holiday often goes unnoticed after all the hoopla of the past month's holidays. Starting in Thanksgiving we are filled with holiday cheer and or perhaps longer to do lists. After the new year begins, it feels like we should get back to focus and start the new year with a powerful resolution to create a spectacular year.

This year I have given myself two little goals or as I call them practices for the new year: write and pause. I often find myself jumping into the future and reliving the past. When all I really desire is to appreciate and enjoy each day to its fullest.

How can I learn to stay grounded in the day at hand? This is a questions I have pondered over many year's resolutions. This year, I'm taking a bit of my own cleaning advice and applying the less is more principle. My two little practice are so simple but as in cleaning, it is the consistency and thoughtfulness that makes for a healthy and happy home.

Even though my to do list is long this time of year, given it is the start of the our new fiscal year in business. I take a moment and pause, pausing on the little holiday known as Epiphany Day. I take a moment to write, writing on the gift of discoveries.

In the Dictionary there are 3 definitions of Epiphany but my favorite is the 3rd and since this is my blog, it is also the one I'm going to write out. Hope you enjoy the Epiphanies of your new year!!

a. A sudden manifestation or perception of the essential nature or meaning of something.
b. An intuitive grasp of reality through something (as an event) usually simple and striking.
Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary

This may the best holiday of the new year!!

As always wishing you a healthy and happy home!
Denise Frakes
Healthy Home Specialist and
Co-Owner of Blue Sky Services