Thursday, May 31, 2012

Canning Your Way to Good Health

One of my favorite things to do in the early morning or late evening during the summer is to can all of my summer's crops so I have that great taste to enjoy all winter long.  Despite some popular belief, canning is not a lost art, in fact, it's become once again a booming trade to learn.

Last year, Ball Canning reported double increases in sales of their book, Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving and classes on how to can have also seen an increase in their student roosters.  Mother Earth News asked some 85,000 Facebook fans about home canning and the positive responses they received were overwhelming.  Many can because it's healthy, it's a great tradition to pass on to future generations, it's a self-sufficient practice, and it saves you money.

I can because it's a healthy choice for my Fibro issues, it's something fun to do, I get satisfaction in knowing I'm able to be self-sufficient, and best of all-- I SAVE MONEY doing so!

Some people think there's a lot of products you have to buy in order to can and that's simply not true.  Many of the easier recipes for canning only involve boiling your food for a certain amount of time to ward off bacteria growth.  Boiling can be done in a stock pot-- something most people already have.  The most expensive thing you will have to buy are the jars and they run around a dollar (or a little less) per jar.  These jars are reusable, though and believe me when I say I've gotten my money's worth from them!

Jams and jellies are probably the easiest to do and that's how I started with my canning craze.  There are countless numbers of recipes for jams and jellies.  Some contain as much as 7 cups of sugar but there are some that contain less sugar and/or no pectin, a natural substance that helps fruit to gel.

My first attempt at jams stemmed from my first berry picking excursion.  My family and I picked strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries for a good majority of the morning and I came home with several pounds of the deliciously ripe fruit.  I went to my local food store with the intent of making some pies and instead of coming home with pie shells, I came home with 12 Ball pint jars and some low sugar pectin.

I opened the pectin and found a nice triple berry jam recipe and I proceeded to cook and can for the remainder of the morning.  The smells of sweet delight filled my apartment and I grinned from ear to ear with excitement and joy.  I had found a new hobby that would make our family life richer and healthier and it was a blessing to me.  The jam lasted all winter and almost half of the spring that year.  I probably could have had it last longer but I gave away a few of my prized jars as tiny gifts of summer joy.

After that first experience I began to look for other things to can.  I've tried salsa, tomato sauce, pickles, butters made from fruit, jams, and jellies made from fruits and herbs.  I have not tried any types of meats or low-acidic foods yet, but I plan to in the future because I just recently inherited my Grandmother's pressure cooker.  When I start my canning adventures with that I will make sure I share an entry or two with all of you.

Canning is a great way to eat healthy because you know what goes into your cans.  The cans are glass so there is no BPA to worry about and there are also no chemicals, pesticides, preservatives, or dyes to worry about either.  But, there are a few rules you need to follow in order to stay healthy and not get sick from food-borne illnesses.

  • Only use recipes that have been tested as safe by reputable cook books and websites.
  • Make sure your jars seal overnight.  If they do not, repeat the canning process exactly as directed without skipping steps to ensure that no bacteria will grow on your canned food.
  • Store your jars in a proper place that is cool and dry.
  • Before consuming, check for broken seals, mold, gassiness, cloudiness, seepage, slime, yeast growth, fermentation, spurting liquid, and of course, a disagreeable odor.
Hope these tips make you go on a canning craze!
Stay fabulous!
Love and Friendship,


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Acupuncture and Fibromyalgia

Friday, May 11, 2012

Fibromyalgia and Pets


Pets are cute and loveable.  They help to have the time pass.  They can help us open cupboards, move objects out of our walking path, sit with us during our morning coffee break, and they can even help us forget we have pain.

This is a picture of Onyx.  He's the newest edition to our family.  He came along because Sport, myself, and my little ones, Olivia and Brittanny, missed Diamond.  We mourned for several months and when we were ready, Onyx showed up in our lives.  He was a rescue in a literal sense.  His Momma had unwanted babies and when a friend of mine found out that Momma had babies-- she jumped for the chance to allow me to have one.  We almost had Momma as a side bonus and Momma was gorgeous but she didn't play well with Sport or Topaz.  She actually tried to rule the roost over them and that would not have worked because Topaz and Sport are too timid.  They would have allowed Momma to beat them up and that wouldn't do so we unfortunately had to allow Momma to find another home where she could rule the roost alone.  Momma is good.  She is with a man who is single and loves nothing more than to give Momma the time and attention she craves.

As you can see, this blog posting will be about pets and how they can help you with Fibro.  Some people with Fibromyalgia may be leery about owning pets because they get too sick too often to care for one and they wind up giving up before they even start.  I hope my post today not only helps you to find the perfect pet, but to convince you that it's okay to go out and get it.

I'll discuss the most common pets, dogs, cats, and fish because that's what I've kept and I'm comfortable talking about.  BUT if your heart is set on another little button of a creature-- by all means-- research and go for it!

Dogs are man's best friends.  They truly are by that statement.  They follow you WHEREVER you go.  This can be good at times AND it can also be bad at times.  If you have a lot going on in your house-- like kids, elderly person(s), and you being ill-- pick a breed of dog that is easy to train.  I have a Cocker Spaniel which I heard through the dog kennel shows was the easiest to train.  I have to agree.  Sport is better than my 4 year old at picking up his toys, staying, sitting, moving, heeling, walking, and even going potty LOL!

Now I must admit, I was not a big dog fan the first time my husband and children came to me with the idea.  I actually hated it.  I knew cats.  They were easy to train.  You show them the litter and you were basically done with training.  I didn't think I wanted to spend a ton of hours on a dog that probably wouldn't get any of my commands.

Well, I'm going to say right here in my VERY public blog that I was wrong to think that a dog can't be trained well quickly.  Yes, the training took longer than a cat-- and believe me when I tell you I felt VERY funny praising my dog REPEATEDLY for the first couple of months being a soul cat owner because my cats Diamond and Topaz WOULDN'T let me live it down LOL!

Managing Sport's training has been tough lately, though.  We've had a few major problems we would have never seen as dog owners.  Sport got bit by another dog who was vicious.  We couldn't see that coming.  I was just doing what I normally did.  I walked him around our neighborhood.  He healed from the actual wounds but the psychological scars run VERY deep in this dog. 

This dog will not walk with me alone anymore.  He remembers what happened to him.  Now please don't misunderstand me-- I AM NOT telling all of you this story to deter you from getting a dog.  PLEASE don't.  They are wonderful animals and they are very gentle creatures.  They are so gentle that I use kit gloves when it comes to Sport now.

I groom him, I walk him with the kids and his BFF, the french bull dog across the street whose owner happens to be one of my best friends.  I also give him a lot of extra attention that he needs as a dog because dogs can and will forget like a toddler what you said or say.

Cats are different.  Cats can be sly, savvy, on the prowl, aloof, or really WHATEVER they please.  They act like you are lucky to have them around-- really.  Some breeds are very talkative, sensitive, and want a lot of attention from you.  Persian, Burmese, and Bangel cats are these kinds of certain breeds.  Others can range because it depends on the kitten. 

Domestic kittens are not always domestic.  Many males (up to 7) can impregnant 1 female cat so given this statistic it's hard to tell what you might actually have on your hands as a cat.  My Diamond acted like a Bombay.  Do a search as best as you can with your cat's characteristics.  I was lucky because Diamond proposed a lot from his Bombay heritage.  He retrieved paper, he opened cabinets for me, he sensed my every move, his emotions filled his face-- ie you could read him, he was VERY independent, he accepted a new cat as long as the cat fit into his life, and he accepted a dog too-- just as long as the dog knew what to do.  Diamond was great.

Topaz is another pet of mine. She loves the constant of life.  She's a perisan and persians do.  They will be happy with others to a point.  They will hiss sometimes if they feel a need but if they love you lots it won't be loud. Nor will they persue.

Fish can be kept in any house hold. You clean the tank once a month.  Certain fish will not habitat with others and I suggest you email me because some people are new at their job and they usually put knowledgeable fish people at a stance and that's not fair.

My WHOLE point is that people with Fibromyalgia CAN have and maintain pets.  It's VERY possible.  Research what you'd like, find out the best possible care and then do what you can to keep it.  Most animals will allow a little modified care if you are impaired.  My animals do for me.

Stay fabulous!


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Fibro and Fabulous is Now Mobile!

So I've decided to become a lot more flexible by going mobile with Fibro and Fabulous.  Now you can read my posts here AND read different ones exclusive to my mobile site here:

Stay fabulous!
Love and friendship,

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