Tag Archives: Recipes

DIY Miracle Healing Salve

Miracle-Healing-SalveFor the past six weeks, I have been exploring alternatives to over-the-counter ointments, salves, and beauty products.  Not only are these products expensive, but as I have learned time and time again, they don’t always work.

Starting with a basic formula for healing salve that I found on the internet, I decided to make my own all-purpose salve and to test it on various ailments to see how it worked.  I added a bit of this, subtracted a bit of that and came up with I call my own Miracle Healing Salve.  The funny thing is that when the final results came in, the formula that worked the best as an all-purpose salve was a version included the same blend essential oils I have been using for muscle aches these past ten plus years.  Go figure.

As easy as this Miracle Healing Salve is to make – and it is easy – it just works. I will share some of the uses that I have become ecstatic about but first, the recipe.

Miracle Healing Salve – The Recipe

1  Cup Coconut Oil (not fractionated)
1  Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
5  Tbl. Organic Beeswax Pastilles

8 each 2 ounce jars or containers ** OR **
4 each 4 ounce mason jars

To each 2 ounce jar add: (double if you are using 4 ounce Mason jars)
5 drops Lavender essential oil
5 drops Rosemary essential oil
5 drops Peppermint essential oil
a few drops of Vitamin E (optional)

1.  Put a pot of water on the stove to simmer.  While the water is heating, put the coconut oil, olive oil and beeswax pastilles in a heatproof jar or measuring cup.










2.  Set the jar filled with the coconut oil, olive oil, and wax into the water and leave it there until it melts, giving it a stir from time to time.  You want a slow, gentle melt so take your time.  It could take 15 or 20 minutes depending on the temperature of the water bath.









3.  While the ingredients are melting, drop your essential oils into each of the containers.  Hint:  I have found that it is easier to use a glass medicine dropper than the dropper that comes with the bottle of essential oil.  This is optional and a matter of personal preference.









4.  Pour the melted oils into each of the smaller jars containing essential oils.  There is no need to stir unless you want to since the oils will mix up on their own.









5.  Cover the jars with a paper towel or cloth and set them aside for up to 24 hours.  Although the salve will start to firm up within minutes, it takes at least 12 hours to complete the firming process.  (The purpose of the cover is to keep out dust, bugs and other nasties that may be floating around.)


A Word About the Ingredients

Coconut oil is a natural moisturizer and is antibacterial.  Olive oil is chock full of anti-oxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties.

Lavender is a natural antibiotic, antiviral, antifungal and antiseptic.  It is a master healer that also helps to prevent scaring.  Rosemary is also antiseptic and an excellent treatment for muscle aches.  Peppermint is an anti-inflammatory and is also antiseptic.  Are you seeing a pattern here?

The optional Vitamin E is an antioxidant and is also used as a natural preservative.

10 Ways (So Far) to Use Miracle Healing Salve

These are the ways I have used this salve with success.  I am sure there are others that are yet to be discovered but these make a darn good start!

1.  Hand and foot moisturizer:  An unbelievably emollient hand and foot moisturizer.  No more dry hands and feet.

2.  Relief for nocturnal foot and muscle cramps (rub on the bottom of your feet and on your calves before going to bed – this really works!)

3.  Eliminates symptoms of eczema and psoriasis:  With the addition of 5 to 10 drops of Melaleuca oil (tea tree) to a jar of Miracle Salver, the patch of psoriasis on Shelly’s elbow has all but disappeared. In the past he has tried everything including diet changes and prescription drugs.  It has taken about 3 weeks for the Miracle Healing Salve to do its thing.  Gone are the ugly crusty patches.

4.  Antiseptic Ointment for life’s little bumps and bruises:  Instead of Neosporin, reach for Miracle Healing Salve to both soothe and heal cuts and scrapes.

5.  Promotes healing of scars:  Slather the Miracle Salve over new scars and watch them heal in days rather than weeks.  You can barely see the scar from my recent surgery. It is no longer tender, red and angry looking.

6.  Makeup Remover: Smear on your face the wipe away your makeup with a damp washcloth.

7.  Facial moisturizer and serum:  Yes, really.  You would think it would be greasy but the oils absorb quickly and leave your face with a nice, dewy texture.

8. Cuticle and nail conditioner: No more ragged cuticles or dry, splitting nails.  This is a byproduct of being diligent about #2.  It just happened without my realizing it.

8. Hair serum: A few drops liquefied in your palms and then smoothed over your hair will leave it shiny and less fly-away.

10.  Relieve pet scratching and itching: Tucker the Dog was scratching himself in one spot on his belly so I put a little Miracle salve on the spot and a couple of days later he stopped.  Was it the smell,  the healing properties or just a coincidence?  I don’t know but it worked.


Items replaced by Miracle Healing Salve

The Final Word

You have not heard the last of this.  In addition to Miracle Healing Salve, I have made batches of Tea Tree Skin Ointment and Lemon Salve.  These are themes of the basic formula that were put together to take advantage of the specific properties of oils used in their formulation.  I am also experimenting with an infusions of dried oregano and olive oil.

As with all things at Backdoor Survival, I am testing first posting later.  Stay tuned!

This article was written by Gaye Levy and can be viewed at Backdoor Survival

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

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Autumn Squash

There is a chill in the wind, leaves falling from the trees and the temps dip into the low 50′s at night here.  We grab sweaters and jackets when we leave the house and it’s dark when we get home.  It’s Fall…with Winter fast on her heels.

Thankfully God has brightened our chilly Fall days and Winter nights with glorious beautiful squash….Acorn and Kabocha we will spotlight today, but there are many others.  Speghetti, Butternut, Delicata, Hubbard, Turbin and yes….Pumpkin!, just to name a few.


Acorn Squash


Until the recent rise in popularity of butternut squash, acorn squash were the most commonly available squash in the U.S. They are a great all-around squash, with moist, sweet, tender flesh. They are good for roasting, baking, steaming, mashing, and sauteeing. Smaller ones are perfect for stuffing and make an excellent vegetarian main course for special occasions like Thanksgiving.

Acorn squash are round, with even groves around the entire squash. They are mostly dark green, with occasional splotches of orange and yellow. The flesh is a slightly yellowish pumpkin orange. They tend to weight between 12 oz. and 2 pounds.


Kabocha Squash


Kabocha squash have a remarkably sweet and tender flesh with a slightly nutty flavor. The peel is really more of a rind and is difficult to cut. The dense, smooth, sweet flesh is so tasty it needs very little fuss in preparation. Roasting it or slicing and baking it with a bit of butter or oil and salt are all this delicious squash needs. The dense flesh also holds its shaped with cooked, even in liquids, which makes it perfect for using as chunks in soups or steamed dishes. It pairs well with ginger and sesame as well.

Kabocha squash are large, round, and squat. They are dark green and mottled, often with bumpy skin and make lovely table decoration until they’re cooked.


We couldn’t end this post without some recipes for the season and to celebrate the wonderful bounty from God!

Baked Acorn Squash


  • 2 Acorn Squash, halved lengthwise, seeded and bottoms trimmed to lie flat
  • 1/4 C. Heavy Cream
  • 8 Springs of Thyme (you may use dried to sprinkle)
  • 1/2 C. Grated Parmesan Cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Place squash halves cut side up on a baking sheet and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Divide cream and thyme among the halves.
  4. Bake until squash is tender when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife, 35-40 minutes.
  5. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and bake until cheese is melted.


Autumn Pork Chops – Crock Pot Alert!


  • 6 Thick pork chops
  • 2 Medium acorn squash
  • 3/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 2 tablespoons Margarine, melted
  • 3/4 cup Brown sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon Kitchen Bouquet or brownn sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Orange juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon Orange peel, grated


  1. Trim excess fat from pork chops.
  2. Cut each squash into 4 or 5 crosswise slices; remove seeds.
  3. Arrange 3 chops on bottom of Crock pot.
  4. Place all squash slices on top; then another layer of three remaining chops.
  5. Combine salt, butter, sugar, bouquet sauce, orange juice and orange peel.
  6. Spoon over chops.
  7. Cover and cook on low 6−8 hours or until done.
  8. Serve one or two slices of squash with each pork chop.


Autumn Chicken, Rice & Kabocha…Oh My!


  • 2 Tbsp oil, divided
  • 6 skin-on chicken thighs
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 Med. white onion, diced
  • 1/2 Lrg. Kabocha Squash, seeded and cut into large chunks (4 Cups)
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 6 Sprigs Oregano (or can use dried)
  • 1 1/2 C. Whole Wheat & Wild Rice
  • 1/4 C. Chardonnay wine
  • 3 1/2 C. Chicken Broth


  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. In large heavy pot with tight fitting lid, heat 1 Tbsp oil over high heat.
  3. Season chicken with salt and pepper.
  4. Working in batches, cook chicken skin side down till golden brown 6-8 minutes. Flip, cook 1 minute more.
  5. Transfer to plate, discard fat, wipe pot clean.
  6. Reduce heat to medium, add remaining oil to pot.
  7. Add onion and squash and cook till onion is translucent – 8 minutes or so.
  8. Add garlic and oregano and cook till fragrant.
  9. Add rice and cook, stirring until opaque.
  10. Add wine and cook, stirring, till completely evaporated.
  11. Return chicken to pot, skin side up, add broth, sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  12. Bring to a boil, cover, transfer to oven and cook till liquid is absorbed and rice is tender.
  13. Approx 25 minutes. Let sit, covered for 10 minutes.


This article can also be viewed at Simply-Living-Simply




How To Care for Cast Iron

Built To Last

In today’s throwaway times it is good to know that some things are still built to last.  Your cast iron cookware is one of those things.  Properly taken care of, cast iron can last for generations – even become family heirlooms.  Here’s a quick list of ways you can make your cast iron go the distance.

Season Your Cast Iron

When you first get your cast iron cookware and periodically afterwards, you’ll need to season it.  The “seasoning” of your cast iron refers to the patina the cookware will develop, not the taste of your food.  Rub vegetable oil into your cast iron and put it in the oven at a temperature of 350-400 degrees F for an hour.  Then take it out and let it cool.  I season my cookware when I first bring it home, then reseason every 6-9 months, depending on how much I’ve used it.

Soap Is A No-No

I know it is counterintuitive to not use soap on your pots and pans, but cast iron is the exception.  If you use soap, soap flavor will come back out in your cooking later (trust me, it’s gross).  The trick is to scrub the cast iron with warm water immediately after cooking to remove debris.  Then dry thoroughly and oil the cast iron.  If you need extra germ-busting insurance, season the pot it in the oven.  That will sterilize it.  You can also sterilize it with boiling water.

Oil It Up!

After every use, be sure to clean and oil your cast iron.  Our atmosphere is a pretty corrosive place, and your beautiful cast iron will oxidize (rust) if you don’t protect it with oil.  Simply soak a little vegetable oil onto a paper towel and lovingly rub your cookware.  It will immediately gleam and look gorgeous, and you will feel fancy because you know you’ve done right by your cast iron.

Crack The Lid

If your cast iron has a lid and you’re planning to store it, don’t shut the lid tight for storage.  Wedge a folded paper towel or some other shim in between the lid and the pot to keep the lid cracked open.  This will allow air to circulate and keep moisture and funk from building up inside the sealed pot.

Lay Off  The Acid

Don’t cook acidic foods in your cast iron pot.  It’s bad for the seasoning on the pot, and bad for the taste of the food.  Foods like pineapple, tomatoes, and citrus can all pick up a metallic flavor when cooked in cast iron.  It tastes like chewing on a brillo pad.  Play it safe, cook acidic foods elsewhere.

For Your Hands Only

Don’t put your cookware in the dishwasher.  Hand wash it only.  This will prevent rusting and will give you the opportunity to dry and oil you cast iron while it’s top of mind.

The Ultimate Hand-Me-Down

With a little knowledge and some TLC, your cast iron cookware will outlive you.  These wonderful and durablel kitchen tools will deliver generation after generation of meals and memories.  Be kind to your cast iron, and it will return the favor!

Suburban Stone Age was founded in 2011 by Rebecca Simpson with 8 tiny chicks and a small vegetable garden on her suburban lot in Southern California. From there it has grown to a front and back yard orchard, compost piles, fruit trees, several organic vegetable gardens, and of course, the chickens. This project was born out of her desire to live a more sustainable modern life by producing homegrown organic food, and by using simple, time-tested technologies to forge a new way forward in our modern age. The ultimate goal is to prove sustainability works by looking to the past as well as the future.
In other words… Suburban Stone Age is proving sustainability works by looking to the past as well as the future. Our goal: to combine the technologies of the Stone Age, Agricultural Age, and Information Age to build a more sustainable modern life.

This post can also be viewed here:  www.modernhomesteaders.net

Primitive Cooking Methods

Humans have been cooking over an open fire for a long, long time.  In modern times we do more cooking with microwaves than hot coals, but that is about to change.  In an effort to reconnect with the past, I’ll be spending the summer rediscovering primitive cooking methods that have been used successfully for thousands of years.  By sharing what I learn with you, my hope is that by the end of summer we can all cook a beautiful meal using primitive cooking methods.

In this week’s post, I’ll start with three popular methods and put them to the test.    We can take a look at the concept and review the actual results.  Let’s get started!

Baking in Leaves

This method of cooking requires wrapping your meal in edible leaves and baking them in hot ashes.  Before you try this method, make sure that the leaves you are using are from plants that will not cause you ill effects.  In my case, I used pumpkin and grape leaves for the experiment.

Concept: Prepare three layers of leaves, with the largest leaf on the outside to act as a wrapper.  Next, wrap the meat completely in the leaves, and secure with a knot (I used flax, which was handy at the moment).  Finally, set the packet in the ashes and cover with coals.  Wait about 15-20 minutes for 4 oz. of meat, you may need more or less time depending on the size of your meal and the temperature of your fire.  Once the package has finished cooking, remove it from the fire and unwrap it.  The meat inside should be cooked through and be tender and juicy.

Result:  This method worked beautifully.  The steam from the leaves cooked the meat to perfection, and even though the outside of the packet was charred, the inside was not touched by the ashes or flame.  As long as you have a handy supply of leaves available, this method is definitely a winner.


Frying On A Rock

Concept: This cooking method revolves around heating a flat rock  and using the surface to fry.  You can surround the rock with coals in order to heat it, or lay it across two other rocks and heat it with coals from underneath.  Once the rock is hot and free from ashes, lay a piece of meat on it and let it fry just like you would for a frying pan.

Result:  This method worked much better than I thought it would.  The biggest obstacle was preventing the meat from sticking to the rock and not letting the grease catch on fire.  The high heat also means the meat cooks quickly, so thinner cuts should cook all the way through before the outside burned, but thicker cuts may not.  Be sure you leave yourself a way to get in there and flip the meat without burning yourself.  Also, if your rock is small you may flip your meat right into the ashes.   Overall, this method is a win.  I did burn the meat a little on the edges, but it was still delicious and mostly clean.

Plank Cooking

Concept:  This method is new to me, but I thought I’d give it a try.  The idea is to fasten your meal to a plank with wooden pins, and cook it near the coals.  The heat from the coals and the wood cooks the meal through.  Sounds easy, right?

Result: I totally failed at this technique.   I had a few problems that will need to be fixed next time.  For example, upon further research, I noticed the  meat was cooked flat against the plank, which I did not do.  This left the side facing the wood less cooked than the side facing the coals.  I also had trouble finding just the right distance to place the plank, which controls the temperature.  I ended up setting the plank and the meat too close, catching them on fire and ruining the meal.  Finally, not having enough room in my fire pit to move the log around was a problem. Finding the perfect distance at which to cook is key, and having enough space to move the plank gives you temperature options if you get in trouble.  All in all, I need to go back and practice this again, with a better plank and a better setup.

Live And Learn: Tips and Tricks

  • Cook with coals, not flames.  You’ll have a more even heat and better control when you use the coals as your heat source.
  • Have two zones going if you have the room- one with flame that makes coals, one where you cook over the coals you’ve made.  Moving coals from one zone to the other makes it easier to control the heat, and you won’t be having to reach over flames while you’re trying to work with your meal.
  • Be careful when cooking with stones – the may explode.  Don’t use stones that have been in a lot of contact with moisture.  When they heat up, the moisture turns to steam and the rocks can shatter.
  • Be mindful that dripping grease can catch on fire.  This is important when frying, you end up setting your food on fire.

In conclusion, I have realized that primitive cooking methods are both an art an a science.  It is one thing to understand the theory of why the method should work, another to put it into practice and manage all challenges.  I definitely need more experience, and intend to revisit the methods I performed poorly, in addition to trying new ones.  I look forward sharing more with you on our journey to rediscover primitive cooking methods this summer!


Suburban Stone Age was founded in 2011 by Rebecca Simpson with 8 tiny chicks and a small vegetable garden on her suburban lot in Southern California. From there it has grown to a front and back yard orchard, compost piles, fruit trees, several organic vegetable gardens, and of course, the chickens. This project was born out of her desire to live a more sustainable modern life by producing homegrown organic food, and by using simple, time-tested technologies to forge a new way forward in our modern age. The ultimate goal is to prove sustainability works by looking to the past as well as the future.
In other words… Suburban Stone Age is proving sustainability works by looking to the past as well as the future. Our goal: to combine the technologies of the Stone Age, Agricultural Age, and Information Age to build a more sustainable modern life.

This post can also be viewed here:  www.modernhomesteaders.net

Herbal Medicine Kit – The Terrible Three!

Leaves of three I did not see
and now I have Poison Ivy…

~ Beverly R. Titus

Welcome Back…

…to another posting of the Herbal Medicine Kit.  Today we are learning about and discussing Poison Ivy, Poison Oak and Sumac.  We will discuss in more depth the herbs Grindelia & Comfrey.  We will also be making several herbal remedies; Poison Ivy, Oak & Sumac Remedy, Paste & Bath!

Poison Ivy, Oak and Sumac – The Terrible 3!

The Terrible 3!

Poison Ivy, Oak and Sumac are famous for the itching and oozing rashes they can cause.  Despite their names, these plants are not really poisonous at all…NO, Really!!  The danger lies in an allergen called urushiolir.

These plants are all related; so if you are one of the unlucky people to be allergic to one…you will be allergic most likely, to all three.

 The itching, blistering  and oozing rash usually associated with these Terrible Three plants appears anytime from a few hours of exposure to several days after exposure.

Other possible symptoms also may include nausea, tiredness, mental disorientation and fever.  Very bad cases can also cause breathing difficulties and kidney damage, requiring medical intervention.

And some people….don’t react AT ALL to these plants!

Poison Ivy Arm Rash

John and I had personal experience with our friends…the Leaves of Three when we went back to our Homestead in May.  Our acre of land was covered with beautiful green vegetation growing beneath our towering black oak trees.  Never having seen Poison Ivy as a kid we weren’t aware that we were traipsing through this wicked stuff for over 4 days, cutting and trimming and weeding and raking…well, you get the picture!

 Low and behold about 3 days later when we arrived back home we both broke out in odd rashes.  John’s was quite severe and lasted almost 2 months, mine was very mild and had the same duration.  We opted to NOT go to the Doctors because it seems the medicine of choice for them is steroids and we didn’t believe that would be beneficial to us…only a band-aid and side affects on top of that!

Oozing Poison Ivy Rash

The best way to protect yourself from Poison ivy, Oak and Sumac is to stay away from them…of course!  But if you aren’t aware of what they look like that is hard.  Become knowledgeable…you never know when you will run into them!

Be able to identify the Terrible 3!

Some Precautions to take:

Wear protective clothing, on arms and legs.  Wear gloves and heavy shoes.  Be prepared to throw these clothes away as the oils from the plants can stay imbedded into the fibers even after multiple, multiple washings.

If you do get the oils on your skin, wash immediately in COLD water and soap.  DO NOT use hot water as we automatically think of doing.  The heat from the water will open up your pores and push the oils in and even cause them to spread.

Herbs to the Rescue!

I find it interesting that one of the herbs used to alleviate the pain and itching from the Poison Ivy, Oak and Sumac grows near it…Grindelia.  I took pictures of it on our property not knowing at the time what it was.  Just that it was gorgeous.


Several Herbs are very helpful and beneficial for treating Poison Ivy, Oak and Sumac; Grindelia, Plantain, Comfrey, Jewelweed.


More Helpful Tips:

 Plantain poultices help to immediately reduce swelling and itching.  Jewelweed helps to effectively fight reactions.

Comfrey and Aloe Vera promote healing and help soothe the skin irritated by the allergic reactions.

A lukewarm bath of oatmeal, herbs and Epsom salts can soothe and give relief.

For oozing rashes, mix herbal paste with ground oatmeal and cover the rash.

Poison Ivy, Oak & Sumac Remedy

Click HERE to print


 Poison Ivy, Oak & Sumac Paste

Click HERE to print



 Poison Ivy, Oak & Sumac Bath

Click HERE to print




 Recap:  Today we looked a various herbs that help with allergic reactions to Poison Ivy, Oak and Sumac.  We made several herbal remedies.

 Looking ahead:  Next week we will be looking at, and discussing Shock.  We will be making a Rescue Remedy and also a Lavender Compress.

Reminder:  Gather your herbs and in this case some flowers; rock rose, impatiens, clematis, star of bethlehem and cherry plum, and your lavender!!

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 I am also a Contributing Author at:


Modern Homesteaders

This post can also be viewed here:  www.modernhomesteaders.net