Eating Acorns and Sharing with Woodpeckers

CreatespaceAcornsAndEat'emFRONTCOVERNature never ceases to amaze me. Did you know that a woodpecker has a tongue that is twice the length of its beak? It is so long, when not in use, it wraps up inside the bird’s head cavity. When it is in use, it drills down ant hills and scoops out the prey. Here’s the sad part. When there aren’t enough acorns, woodpeckers die. And you know the dead trees that are full of holes that are full of acorns? Those are called granaries and they take years to build up and support woodpecker communities.

As more and more people learn to enjoy cooking with acorns, I hope they will not forget the myriad of woodland animals who depend on them for food. It’s that time of year. Let’s gather acorns. But let’s leave an abundance for the birds.Secret Genealogy IV Cover

Suellen Ocean is the author of Acorns and Eat’em, a how-to vegetarian cookbook and field guide for eating acorns,–Vegetarian-Cookbook/dp/1491288973 and Secret Genealogy IV – Native Americans Hidden in Our Family Trees.




CreatespaceAcornsAndEat'emFRONTCOVERMy freezer stalled on me. Unfortunately, I had bags of shelled acorns that I was saving in there. They got a little moldy so I tossed  them outside. The deer ate every last one. I also had a tupperware dish of leached acorns. They were still good. Poor me, I had to think of some way to use them before they went bad with my refrigeration on the blink. Cookies to the rescue! You’ll find the recipe below. Remember, you must first grind and leach the acorns. To see how it’s done, watch the how-to video, Acorns and Eat’em

There is no added oil in this recipe. Fats in here are in the chocolate chips, walnuts and in the acorns.

Mix with spatula:

1 cup leached & pre-cooked, drained & cooled acorns

½ cup honey

2 egg whites

1 tsp vanilla

Add & mix well:

2 cups whole wheat flour

½ tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

2/3 cup milk

Then add this too & mix well:

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 cup raisins

1 cup walnut pieces

Drop by rounded teaspoons onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes. Always watch your cookies, oven temperatures vary.

Suellen Ocean is the author of Acorns and Eat’em, a how-to vegetarian cookbook and field guide for eating acorns. Find it here:–Vegetarian-Cookbook/dp/1491288973

Protecting Your Garden Produce from Mice

AcornMouseCoverMedI’ve posted before, my gardening experience with a terrified, newborn baby mouse but let me tell you what attracted the mouse family in the first place. Compost; eggshells, apple cores, banana peels and watermelon rinds drew them right to my garden. I cover the compost with horse manure but obviously not well enough. When volunteer pumpkins and tomato plants sprang from the pile in early spring, I was delighted and so were the mice. They started in on the tomatoes while they were still green. Ditto with the pumpkins. Further down the garden, I have cantaloupe. They like that too but so far I’ve kept them from eating it. I’ve found that if I place a white plastic tofu container (or the grocery store container that mushrooms come in) upside down on the ground and place the immature fruit on top of it, it keeps the fruit off the ground enough to keep the mice away. It’s necessary to keep an eye on them as sometimes the fruit rolls off. But it’s easy to put it back on the plastic. The plastic tubs help keep other feasting insects away from your produce too and they keep the fruit pristine.Poor Jonny's Cover  Suellen Ocean is the author of many books on diverse topics. Her books are available here:

Using Olive Oil for Skin Care

As we age, our skin dries out. The older we get, the drier it gets. It can get so dry, dermatologists have been known to recommend heavy products like Vaseline. Natural olive oil is an excellent way to clean and moisturize your skin. It doesn’t contain polluting chemicals. It’s just as pure as you can get. Take a small bottle, like the kind that vanilla comes in (the little dark brown bottles) and fill it with olive oil. Keep it in the bathroom. After bathing, before drying off, while the skin is still warm and moist, apply small dollops of olive oil all over your skin. From head to toe. Rub it in well. Afterward, blot it with a towel. Be careful not to get it in your eyes. It is a little irritating and hard to focus if you accidentally get it in your eyes, so be careful with that. It also gets on your towel. It washes out but not always entirely so you might need to retire your towels sooner. It won’t hurt your hair and scalp, olive oil treatments have been around for ages. But it is greasy and could take several days to wash out of your hair so be careful, unless you want to brush it in and slick it back and let the oil treat your hair for a while.

I’ve been using olive oil as skin care for years. I also use it like cold cream. I apply the olive oil onto my face and neck and then take a wet washcloth and blot it. Works wonderfully. Once you get used to using an all-natural product, it’s hard to use something with chemicals and additives. Ancient Grecian mothers understood the cleaning properties of vegetable oils, they used olive oil and tepid water to clean their babies. One last thing… make sure it’s real olive oil. California olive oil has a good reputation for purity.  Suellen Ocean is the author of many books on diverse topics. Her books are available here:

Acorn Chocolate Cake Cravings… Can’t Wait ‘till the Acorns Drop

CreatespaceAcornsAndEat'emFRONTCOVERI think about acorn chocolate cake way too much. If I made one today, I’d have to throw a party, otherwise I’d eat the whole thing. That’s a good idea! An acorn chocolate cake party. Right at harvest time. We could all go for a walk and gather acorns and then eat cake made from last year’s acorns that I kept in the freezer.

If there’s anything that will catch people’s attention, it’s something made with acorns. They’re so tasty, it’s hard to believe that they’ve not become a commercial success. It’s just as well. The animals go nuts over them. In areas where they’re sparse, they’re eaten in a week or two. The crows and turkey vultures guard over them from above, while mice, birds and squirrels run in, grab them and run off.

I only gather acorns from areas where the harvests are plentiful. I know how important they are to wildlife. They wait for them. I’m waiting for them too. Can’t wait for that chocolate cake.

Suellen Ocean is the author of Acorns and Eat’em, a how-to vegetarian cookbook and field guide for eating acorns. Find it here:–Vegetarian-Cookbook/dp/1491288973

Apricots… a Quick Way to Beautiful Skin

If you want to have beautiful skin, eat apricots. A 100-gram portion contains 2,700 units of vitamin A. That’s a lot. In the summertime they’re plentiful and in season, so they shouldn’t be too expensive. Another summertime source of vitamin A is cantaloupes. I was pleasantly surprised at the high vitamin A content in those sweet, tasty melons. I’ve had pretty good luck growing them in my California garden. Cut into chucks and packed into ziplock bags, they freeze well. In the wintertime, it’s good to have dried apricots on hand. Really, the secret to rosy cheeks and a nice complexion is good old vitamin A. When it’s cold outside and we turn our ovens on, sweet potatoes, yams and pumpkins are the vegetables to bake and make pies with as they contain higher amounts of vitamin A.

Suellen Ocean is the author of many books on diverse topics. Her books are available here:

Fitness and Exercise… Ever Wonder Why Your Body Doesn’t Trim?

I just finished a short session of lifting five-pound weights. I have a little routine where I dance around, kick my legs up, lean backward (hoping to tighten my core) and raise and stretch the weights over my head. Feels good. I also have my own moderate yoga routine and I hike quite a bit. The five-pound weight lifting does an excellent job of keeping my upper body strong, I also feel it in my face muscles. But the only easy way to trim my legs is on my bicycle. Why doesn’t hiking, yoga and leg lifts do the trick? If I’m active in a variety of ways, wouldn’t you think those muscles would trim just like my calves? Why in the world do I need muscles that I don’t use? What can I do that will use those muscles, particularly the inside thigh? Obviously we used to be frog-like. I’m not kidding. They swim, climb on rocks and hop around. If you look at their outstretched bodies, their arms and legs and little round tummy, resemble humans so much, science teachers have seventh graders dissecting them.

Swimming is great for exercise and trimming up, but who has a pool? I don’t. Now that my kind has evolved to terrestrial living, I’ll have to make do. But it would behoove me to remember that my ancestors, millions of years ago, might have been more like frogs. When I dance around the living room trying to trim up the easy way, I must be more frog like. Lunges and squats. Think that will do it?  Suellen Ocean is the author of many books on diverse topics. Her books are available here:

Grape Juice is Wonderful… Fermented or Not

I always say, it’s the things we love the most that will bring us down in the end. I hope grape juice is not one of those things. I love grape juice. The unfermented kind. I love everything about it; the color, the tart sweetness as I gulp it down, the sound of ice cubes rattling as I sip it. Even though it’s 100% fruit juice, and contains natural sugar, it is still a sugary drink so I must be careful. Even though I water it down, those calories can add up. Especially on hot days when I want to gulp it down, glass after glass.

Looking at a chart, I see that table grapes are not that high in vitamin A nor vitamin C. (100 units of A and 4 units of C in a 100 gram edible portion.) This is why vitamin C is added to a bottle of grape juice.

Suellen Ocean is the author of many books on diverse topics. Her books are available here:


Gardening… I wish the Mice weren’t so Cute

The Acorn MouseI was watering my small pumpkin patch by hand when I heard squealing. Out ran two baby mice. The blast of cold water on their newborn skins must have been traumatic. One was so distraught he rolled over on his back and stuck his feet in the air as if he believed his life was over. He was so young, he had no fur to speak of, just a dark gray felt. I couldn’t leave him there. He was so tiny and light, I was able to flip him over with a piece of straw. He was then able to run. Quite quickly he ditched back into the leafy pumpkin patch. I harvested all but one of the pumpkins. They had already eaten half of it. Even if they hadn’t, I would have left one.

I really don’t want mice in my garden but darn it… that little guy was so cute… and desperate to survive. Just like the rest of us mammals.

Suellen Ocean is the author of many books on diverse topics. Her books are available here:

Hunter Gatherer Types… It is Time to Start Thinking About Oaks and Acorns

CreatespaceAcornsAndEat'emFRONTCOVERYes, the summer has just begun but before you know it, your favorite oak trees will be bursting forth with green acorns. As the days shorten, the acorns will turn brown and drop to the ground. That’s when you grab your basket and start gathering. The acorns will look beautiful in a basket sitting on your mantle or kitchen table but don’t leave them there very long. Get cracking. If there are any worms in them, they will eat your acorns and make them unappealing. They will still be good to eat, a few nibbles from them won’t hurt but make haste. Crack them and either freeze them for later leaching or leach them and then freeze them. Acorn chocolate cake… I can taste it now.  Suellen Ocean is the author of Acorns and Eat’em, a how-to vegetarian cookbook and field guide for eating acorns. Find it here:–Vegetarian-Cookbook/dp/1491288973