I Still Sew… I Love it. Here’s Why

All my favorite clothes are the ones that I made for myself. They are the most comfortable and they fit my personality. The fabric is the most suitable for the season and for laundering. They are tailored to fit, or to hang loose for casual wear. They can be funky, frivolous or serious. My needle and thread, my choice. Even with fabric at an all-time high, if I watch the sales, it’s still cheaper to make it myself, especially when you factor in quality.

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

Do Spice Cabinets Lie?

I have a sister-in-law who insists she’s not handy in the kitchen and yet when I looked into her spice cupboard it was well stocked. And well used. How do I know this? I know because I saw spice dust on the little jars and there was a slight disarray to them. I’ve seen plenty of tidy little spice cupboards with unused bottles of spices. They stick out like unopened presents under a Christmas tree.

I am not one to condemn those who don’t enjoy cooking. Laboring in the kitchen is not everyone’s favorite pastime. However, there is something about a spice cabinet. It conveys how someone genuinely feels about cooking. Everyone can have pretty things in their kitchen. But when it has spice dust on it… watch out. Spice cabinets don’t lie.

Suellen Ocean is the author of the Civil War Era Historic Romance, Black Pansy.

Available Here:

http://www.amazon.com/Black-Pansy-Suellen-Ocean/dp/1484900278

Eating Acorns… Are There Any Benefits? In the Bedroom?

When autumn comes along and pretty brown acorns are lying on the ground one should wonder… why bother to collect them? Why not leave the acorns for the squirrels? Unfortunately, acorns can get messy so folks usually rake them up and the wildlife has to do without.  But if you were to gather them, what is the benefit? Similar to nuts, acorns have oils in them that are beneficial, they also contain a little protein and small amounts of phosphorus, sulfur, magnesium and calcium. But the best benefit of all is getting outside and gathering them. Another benefit is how pretty they look in a basket on the kitchen table. And they don’t look too bad in a jar leaching in the fridge. They look fantastic in cookies, they give them a pretty brown color. And there’s always that old book that said that acorns and oats were good to eat for “sexual strength.” Whether or not that’s true has to be decided by those who eat acorns and although it’s a lot easier to cook up a bowl of oats, there’s nothing like dipping a corn chip into a delicious bowl of acorn dip, knowing it just might have… benefits.

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

Vegetarian Cooking… Try Something New for Breakfast

Next time you’re putting together a tofu scramble, try using soy flour instead of tofu. One-quarter cup of the dry flour has 10 grams of protein, 10 % of the daily requirement for calcium, 25% for iron, 14% for phosphorus and 30% for magnesium. I find that very impressive for something that is also quite tasty.

In a small cereal bowl, take a couple tablespoons of soy flour and add equal parts water. Mix it well with a fork. Add two raw eggs and mix well. Add a tablespoon of salsa and scramble that in. Cover the bowl with a small plate and microwave it for three-and-a-half minutes. When done, drizzle soy sauce on it. Serve with whole-wheat toast and fresh avocado slices.

Suellen Ocean is the author of the vegetarian cookbook, Poor Jonny’s Cookbook. Available here:

http://www.amazon.com/Poor-Jonnys-Cookbook-Suellen-Ocean/dp/0965114031

Losing Weight – Go With the Flow

Why do those extra pounds cling to our bodies? Almost everyone I know can tell you how hard it is to lose even a few of those unwanted pounds. Everyone is also familiar with carbohydrates and many of us are used to eating them… to feel full. I’d be hungry all day if I didn’t eat bread, rice, cornmeal and pasta. But carbohydrates can take up to four hours to digest. We should be conscious of foods that digest quicker and run through and out of our bodies faster, like fresh fruits and vegetables and digestive stimulants like fresh, hot peppers. Maybe those extra pounds will go with the flow. Better energy comes with better digestion and even our brains are connected to our digestion. Strong body… strong mind. How about lively body… lively mind.

Suellen Ocean is the author of the vegetarian cookbook, Poor Jonny’s Cookbook. Available here:

http://www.amazon.com/Poor-Jonnys-Cookbook-Suellen-Ocean/dp/0965114031

Don’t Be Afraid of Turmeric… Spice it Up!

Turmeric has been across the news for several years. It is purported to be useful in cases of inflammation and heart disease and there are reports it is good for the brain and may fend off Alzheimer’s. I heard someone on the radio last weekend, touting its liver cleansing properties. I heard a report a couple of years ago that cultures who cook with turmeric (sometimes included in curry) have less incidence of Alzheimer’s. What’s not to like? I was already using curry powder but when I heard that not all curry powders include turmeric, I decided to add turmeric to my soups, stews and stir-fried vegetables. I was quite pleased. I buy the turmeric in bulk at a natural foods store. I use it sparingly but if I accidently use too much, I have found it is not offensive. If I make a pot of vegetable soup, suitable for four people, I would probably use no more than one teaspoon of turmeric powder. It has a wonderful bright yellow-orange color. Another idea is to sprinkle a pinch on brown rice, add some sweet red peppers for color, a spoonful of raw sunflower seeds and a dash of olive oil, maybe a sprig of parsley and you have yourself a dish that fulfills many of the day’s nutritional requirements.

Suellen Ocean is the author of the vegetarian cookbook, Poor Jonny’s Cookbook. Available here: http://www.amazon.com/Poor-Jonnys-Cookbook-Suellen-Ocean/dp/0965114031

The Environment… When is it Okay to Eat Acorns?

When I began gathering and preparing acorns for food, I lived in the Pacific Northwest in a vast forest of tanoak trees. Most years, acorns were so thick on the ground, they sprouted in the spring and created a thick undergrowth of baby oaks. Now I live in the Sierra Foothills and in some areas, there are barely enough acorns to sustain wildlife that depend on them. In that instance, I leave the acorns right where they are. There is no way I want to go to bed at night thinking I have robbed the squirrels of their winter food stash. Where do I feel comfortable collecting acorns? In parks and yards where the acorns are raked up and put into the trash. I understand why people do that but it pains me that they do. Yes, acorns in the yard can be a real mess. Next year, if acorns are abundant, you might mention it to your local elementary school teacher or the local cub scouts. Perhaps they would like to bag some of them up for their history studies or nature survival course. And don’t forget taking some into the house for yourself. They turn cakes and cookies into delicacies.

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

http://www.amazon.com/Acorns-Eatem-How–Vegetarian-Cookbook/dp/1491288973

It’s Not Too Late to Save Our Forests

North American forests began their decline when Europeans viewed trees as something to exploit. Land was cleared for farming, wood was for ships and home building. Fortunes were made selling American lumber to Europe. About 1681, a well-known American historical figure, William Penn saw that the colonists were insensitive and unwise about their forest practices. The Indians had been here for thousands of years and saw nature in a different light. William Penn must have seen that same light because he required his colony (Pennsylvania) to save an acre of forest for every five acres logged. Unfortunately, this requirement was ignored. But ten years later, in 1691, Britain understood the seriousness of clear-cutting New England, and enacted a law that all of Massachusetts’s white pines were to be saved for British ship masts. That didn’t work too well either, it only angered the colonists, who resented English rule. Probably many a white pine was downed in defiance to the monarchy. It wasn’t until 1876 that Congress created the Division of Forestry.

Compare this with Switzerland. They have preserved a forest called Sihlwald Forest since 1291. And France started preserving their forests in the early 1700s. Planting trees to replace those logged has been a practice of Norway, Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Germany for many years. It’s almost impossible to imagine that in North Africa, the Middle East and some parts of Asia, where the desert is now, was once a thick, beautiful forest. Not only do tree roots hold water but trees create their own environment and draw precipitation. They

bring the rain.

Suellen Ocean is the author of Acorns and Eat’em, a how-to vegetarian cookbook and field guide for eating acorns:

http://www.amazon.com/Acorns-Eatem-How–Vegetarian-Cookbook/dp/1491288973

Dancing Around the Oak, Would it Be Better on the Full Moon?

It appears that Joan of Arc was fascinated with Pagan Druidism, trendy during her era. The church put her through an inquisition. One of the questions Joan was faced with was about an oak tree in the village where nature worshippers hung mistletoe. Joan admitted to joining in that tradition. She may have believed in the little people that the Druid’s believed lived in their sacred oak trees. If you can imagine an oak woodland with people dancing around an oak tree and hanging mistletoe on its branches, you’re picturing the Druid ceremony. If you let yourself get carried away, you may even envision the little people, the fairies and the elves that the Druids believed lived in the branches of the great oak that provides so much to both the human and animal kingdoms. In the spirit of nature… relax and let yourself go.

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

http://www.amazon.com/Acorns-Eatem-How–Vegetarian-Cookbook/dp/1491288973

The Druids and Their Oak Trees… What Was That All About?

The Druids were Pagans and Druidism was a religion practiced throughout Europe. Their worship centered around oak trees, which they believed were sacred. I agree with them there. A big oak tree provides shade, habitat for birds, and acorns to eat. The ancients knew that the balance of nature was important. For heaven’s sake, they hunted the birds and animals that grew fat on the acorns. They rested under the trees that brought relief from the sun. When they sacrificed the oak tree, they used the base of the tree as a foundation for their homes, like we use cement today. In England, some of those foundations lasted for hundreds of years, outlasting those made of stone. They built homes out of the lumber from the tree, oak is a wonderful wood. What’s not to like? The oak was paramount to the Druid’s existence. They got it. Next time you gather acorns, see if you can find a spot to plant a few. Sudden oak death has taken thousands of our California oak trees we need more of this beautiful, sacred tree.

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

http://www.amazon.com/Acorns-Eatem-How–Vegetarian-Cookbook/dp/1491288973