Welcome to The Pauley Principle!

The Pauli Principle, named for Wolfgang Pauli, deals with atoms and electron-sharing that results in new, stronger bonds. Think 2 parts hydrogen and 1 part oxygen, a shared delectable (!) electron and VOILA! Water!

Similarly, when you prepare whole food to share with family and friends, especially foods you've grown, something amazing happens. Meals become tastier and healthier. Your soul, not just your stomach, becomes fulfilled. You live life more abundantly as a result. During a shared meal, the bonds that people create grow stronger and become something new: GREATER than the sum of the parts! I give you The Pauley Principle.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Why CO-OP Gardening?

Ever consider eating organically? Ever try it? Organic foods, or even just whole foods, cost more money and for several reasons. For one thing, laws governing the production of organic foods make it difficult to comply. The mass marketing of whole foods also presents a problem since crop varieties that can handle storage and transportation often lack flavor and nutrients.

My alternative: gardening, CO-OP gardening!

Not everyone has a garden space. Apartment dwellers are sometimes lucky if they can have a pot of flowers. And yet it is my belief that, within us all, is this deep-rooted attachment to the land. It's positively unnatural to be away from it. My solution then is that people with a gardening area unite with others who love fresh produce. The added value of being with friends outside in the fresh air, of knowledge imparted to children who participate, and healthy physical activity are things you cannot buy in stores.

If this appeals to you, whether you have a garden now or not, I suggest advertising your willingness to form a gardening co-op by posting on Facebook, Twitter, and public bulletin boards that can be found at colleges, libraries and local stores. Consider sharing the love, labor and fun of your fresh garden produce, done as organically as suits you, in your very own co-op adventure.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Maple Syrup--100% Pure YUM!!!

Think about making your own sometime. Maple syrup is made from sap gathered from sugar maple trees. There are no other ingredients, not even water. The taste is incredibly delicious. Maple syrup that is large-scale marketed and not organic may contain a number of additives: high fructose corn syrup and gluten make production cheaper and faster, adding to profits. Added food coloring allows them to market a consistent color. Done naturally, organically, your maple syrup will darken on its own and differences in color will vary.

This year we're hoping to do another round of maple syrup before the daffodills are in bloom. If you'd like to try it, gather your supplies together, find a good sugar maple tree, and watch for the weather to cooperate. Use trees that are greater than 10 inches in diameter for best results. You'll tap into the cambrium layer and damage to the tree will be minimal, very minimal.

We use food safe plastic jugs, buckets, large 30-gallon cans and pcvc waterline for spouts. Ten to fourteen trees can yield 100 gallons of sap over a week. Figure at least a gallon a day on a productive tree. Your cookdown can be in the range of 40 to 80 gallons of sap for one gallon of pure maple syrup. It depends on weather conditions and the density of sugar content within the sap. Sap gathered early in the season, right at the end of the coldest of winter, seems to have a higher sugar content than the sap that is gathered on toward spring. For example, our first gathering this year gave us a 33:1 ratio but last year's March sap was 67:1, a huge difference and a lot more work!

Steaming off the sap can be hazardous to a kitchen, making it a sticky mess. We've even removed wallpaper with the steam! Not our intended outcome, of course, but we learned from our mistake. Now we cook our sap down outside over an open fire. Like I said, plan ahead. Firewood, a tripod and a cooking pot may be added to your list of needs. Or, you could try a method we did one year: a turkey fryer and propane gas! This is a very clean method for a small batch of syrup. Since you can add sap a little at a time in your process, choose the size cooking vessel to suit your needs. Proceed slowly and with caution. When the sap thickens, it can bubble up and over the edges of your pot, and it can boil at a temperature higher than boiling water when it thickens.

Tap in late winter when the days are above freezing but nights are still very cool. The sap should be running. We use a drill size that matches our pipe. The pictures will give you an idea of a method that works for us. When we finish tapping the trees, we plug the holes with short pieces of dow rod.

Making maple syrup is work but the end result is 100% pure YUM!!! Try Stephanie's Sticky Bun Tea Ring for a quick and delicious treat!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Stephanie's Sticky Buns, Gluten Free Version

Maple syrup is really good for you! Some scientists believe that, combined with foods that have baking soda, it is a natural cancer-fighter. Walnuts are also good for you so I encourage everyone to have a sticky bun now and then. Hint: If you buy your maple syrup at the market, however, and you are gluten intolerant, watch ingredients closely. Some marketed maple syrups contain wheat gluten that may be couched in other terms. For further info, see my blog on eating great food gluten free!

Just substitute the biscuit recipe from the GF Bisquick box for the two tubes of buttermilk biscuits. Use buttermilk or add a tablespoon of butter to the recipe. Then knead and roll into balls. Proceed with Stephanie's recipe that is within this blogsite.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Take It OFF! Take it ALL OFF!!!

That's right! Take it off, take it all off. Peel away stress and worry like the skin of an onion, right down though the juicy layers, all the way to the stinky little core. Then, remove the bad smell, that sadness deep inside, that feeling of having no control, of not being able to make a difference. You know what I'm talking about. The world is ever-changing, sometimes volatile, sometimes deadly and downright tough. Darwin claimed "survival of the fittest". Well, it's hard to survive: emotionally, financially, and health-wise. There is also a better side to life, one that we need to stretch to see sometimes.

If we want to arrive at the place where we live life abundantly, our frame of mind has to be in the right place. Peal away the anger, resentment, the sadness, the fears of the unknown. Imagine gentle music playing within you, deep within. Listen to your newly clean inner core. Really get in touch with your body. Think spiritually.

There are a number energy therapies available for however much money you're willing to pay and I believe there is validity in many of them. There is certainly no known risk. According to minddissorders.com, from the Encyclopedia of Mental Disorders (yes,really), our bodies can benefit with most of these therapies. Those benefits include "increased vitality...lowered blood pressure...a sense of calm or relaxation...improved sleep at night...a strengthened immune system".

That's where I come in. I'm already pretty calm and I sleep well. I need to improve my immune system. When I taught in the classroom, I was unable to develop an immune system that kept me from picking up the children's germs, although I washed my hands like Lady Macbeth! You'd think I had a guilt complex!

Energy therapies generally require a practitioner who has been trained to work with your body's energy field. It's not just an accident or a lucky coincidence that this blogsite is called The Pauley Principle. The Pauli Exclusion Principle was developed in 1928, a theory about atoms and what happens when neutrons go the wrong direction. Well, sometimes the energy in our body gets tangled up or goes the wrong direction too, as I discovered from a technician with Healing Touch. With its emphasis on energy flow, using magnets and various other techniques, our energy flow or magnetic field can be improved.

First, some things have to occur and some of this you can do yourself. Our mind's state needs to be relaxed and then our body can relax. That's where pealing away the onion comes in. Take off all the layers that have you stressed. Peal away one layer at a time. This may take time but is an important first step. Soft music can help. Maybe candles and natural oils can help. When your mind and body are in this relaxed state, your energy field is better able to work properly.

Silva Healing Mind Exercise works on the same relaxation principle. First, you get your mind and body in a state that is "conducive to healing". Jose Silva claimed that this is the state in which "cells repair...the immune system is strengthened...physical symptoms are reduced". Then your mind has to be retrained to "eliminate unhealthy habits like smoking, drinking, and overeating". I would guess that excessive worry or tension could be added to their list. The next step is to "transform negative thought patterns into positive ones." Finally, re-set goals by "creative visualization". Maybe people need a trainer but I'm guessing that with some support system, a little encouragement, most people can do this by themselves. What do you think? Check into it. I don't know what they charge, but try the steps for yourself. If it works, you've saved some money and put yourself in a happier place.

In the March 2011 issue of Natural Health, Barbara Welcer, R.N., a certified nurse and Healing Touch practitioner, is quoted as saying, "The therapist's role is to act as a conduit to self-healing, similar to the way a midwife guides a mother in labor."

Peggy Massie, who is a Healing Touch practitioner with the Southern Ohio Center for Positive Energy, agrees and says Healing Touch "works with modern medicine so that your body can heal faster and utilize your medicines more effectively". Peggy can be reached at socfpe@gmail.com. She works with an array of techniques that can improve your body's energy flow and promote self-healing.

God Bless. Wishing you improved health and a life of abundance!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Maple Sap, Ready to Tap!!!

Alright, everybody! The firewood is gathered and stacked. The maple sap is ready to tap. Chris has some tips for first-time maple syrup makers. Then, once you try it a few times, you'll be hooked and you will develop a rhythm and method of your own.

First, get permission to tap sugar maples that a friend or neighbor has if you don't have your own trees. Then plan to share your syrup as a thank-you.

Each year you'll wait in happy anticipation for the weather to break, about the time you see the first robin. In southern Ohio, that's NOW!!! Warm days above freezing and cool nights hovering around or just below freezing make great sap gathering days. The sap isn't always running so fast. I counted drops coming out of our spouts this morning at 2 to 3 per second!

When you drill into a tree, match your drill bit to the size of your spout for tapping. We use clean cpvc plumbing pipe, cut about 5 inches long. Chris tapers the spouts down on the end to fit snugly in the tree. You can also, if you have access to them, use elderberry spouts which you make yourself, or purchase the maple syrup industry's standard spout. Chris says to drill the hole so that the spout will point downward. Otherwise, the sap can run back into the tree and freeze or, worse yet, attract ants.

Gallon water jugs make an excellent container to hang on the tree. Leave the lid on and just cut a small hole near the top big enough for the tap to poke into but not so large that debris will get into the jugs. Secure with a strap that can slip over a nail that is secure but not deep into the tree. (Chris plugs holes after sap season.) Plan to check jugs about three times a day.

The jugs of sap, looking as thin and clear as mountain stream water, are then emptied into clean food-safe plastic buckets. These are carried to a tank for safe keeping until they are added to the cast iron kettle. The sap will naturally turn darker as it thickens but can be as light as honey. With cast iron, expect it to reach a rich brown. With stainless steel, it will be more like dark honey. The sap can boil but we like to keep it at an even simmer, feeding the wood fire carefully, and then adding sap to the pot as it cooks down. We keep a tally of every gallon we add. As the sap gets close to the syrup stage, we check its thickness more often and clean off the foam that forms naturally and any debris from ash as it collects. When the kettle is almost full with a thickening sap and we're ready to shut down the sap cooking, we heat to boil. It's important to get to the right temperature, 219 degrees, (7 degrees about the boiling water temperature here in southern Ohio) and the right sugar content, 66 to 67 Brix on the hydrometer. Then it's ready to filter into cute little maple syrup containers or jars. We filter through a thick wool felt that I found at a fabric store and boiled.

About the hydrometer--useful to check the sugar content--66-67% solids in the syrup when it's just right. Above 67% can yield a syrup that turns crystalline in storage containers. A hydrometer is handy but unnecessary. The old-time method of taste and feel works pretty well.

Plan to gather 35 to 45 gallons of sap for every gallon of syrup you make. This means the process will take a few days. It's work, but so fun and the end product is absolutely 100% pure YUM!!!

Monday, February 14, 2011

GF means Great Food for the Gluten Free!

For people who have to stick with a gluten-free diet, finding the foods that are good for you can be a real challenge. In fact, just finding out that you need to eat GF can be challenging. Randy Armbruster said, "From the time I started exhibiting symptoms, it was probably 2 or 3 months that I was diagnosed and started this new adventure of GF eating...My plan is if I'm not sure,I don't eat it!" For both Jessica Pauley and her uncle Kevin, loss of weight and constant stomach aches led to multiple doctor's appointments and testings before finding the problem.

Complicating matters is that so many food producers are embedding elements that contain gluten. Jessi says to check with the manufacturer to be absolutely sure a food is gluten free or less than/equal to 200 parts per million. Terms such as natural flavors, malt (made from barley), caramel coloring, anti-caking agent (as in powdered sugar), and thickeners, maltodextrin (made with corn in U.S.). With oat and corn products, assume cross-contamination. Roquefort cheese a big NO! It is made by pressing bread against the cheese. Who would know??? Be careful with Dijon mustard, ketchup, cocktail sauce, shampoo/lotion, toothpaste and spice mixes. And of course, avoid sausages, deli coldcuts, and meats from fast foods that contain secret ingredients!

Two links: www.wholefoodsmarket.com/specialdiets and www.livingwithout.com are excellent for finding foods you want or need. Living Without is a magazine designed for people with dietary needs. Another magazine, the March issue of Natural Health, has a compilation of its annual Good Food Awards. The GF foods that make the list in the Pantry Staples category are: Mary's Gone Crackers Original; Lundber Rice Chips Sesame & Seaweed; Kind Bar Mango Macadamia; and Simply Organic Cocoa Cayenne Cupcake Mix. Winners in the Refrigerator Favorites category include Kraft Athenos Traditional Feta Cheese; O.N.E. Coconut Water; and Nancy's Organic Cream Cheese.

My thanks to Kevin, Randy, and especially to my daughter Jessica for their tips on living life gluten free. Our hope is that their knowledge and experiences help others to live their lives more abundantly through good GF foods!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Shepherd's Pie

The cold wintry days are not yet over. Here's a recipe to take off the chill and comfort your soul. You can make this with either beef or venison but note the use of chicken broth, not beef broth, for this recipe.


1 lb. ground meat
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 T. butter
1 T. flour
1 pint chicken broth (or one 14 oz. can of chicken, not beef, broth)
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1 cup frozen peas or broccoli
1/2 teaspoon savory, dried, and/or 1/2 teaspoon marjoram, dried
1 tsp. Kosher or coarse salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1/2 T. Worcestershire sauce
1 T. red wine, not a salty cooking wine but a wine you might have with the meal
1 cup shredded cheese, cheddar or a mix of colby and Monterey Jack works well

mashed potatoes to serve 4 to 6 people
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese

Slowly brown the meat to just rare, letting the fat melt out. Add the chopped garlic. Drain off the fat. (You're going to trade the beef fat for butter for a better flavor and texture.) Add the butter and flour to the meat. Allow to brown slightly before stirring to give the nutty flavor to the flour that makes gravy so good. Stir and brown a little more.

Stir in chicken broth, shredded carrots, peas, savory, Worcestershire, red wine, salt and pepper.

Bring to simmer. Continue to stir frequently until gravy thickens.

If you're making this ahead, wait until serving day and then warm the dish in the oven prior to adding the mashed potatoes. Mound the mashed potatoes up on top of the meat/gravy mixture. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes, just until cheese melts.

Serve with hot bread and an assortment of pickles or chutney. Serves 4 to 6 people.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Heavy Leanings by Food Industry on FDA Will Lead to More, Not Fewer, Additives

Don't expect the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to protect us from the food industry's growing use of unnecessary and non-nutritional additives. Thanks to Mark Bittman of the New York Times, we learn that the FDA yielded to pressures from Big Food with weak guidelines for the food industry in the 2010 report. Sad news for consumers since those guidelines won't be updated again until 2015. In processed foods, as long as the food industry can show relatively low saturated fats and sugars, they pretty much have a free hand to cut their budgets, add fillers and provide lower-quality foods for the masses. But it's not just the fast food industry. See Mark Bittman's opinions in the New York Times. I suggest following him on Twitter @Bittman. He's prolific and points out many of the tricks Big Food uses to increase profits while cutting down on nutrition!

Frankly, the cost of eating whole foods is high but it's much, much healthier and can be much better tasting than eating most processed foods. That's why I highly recommend taking the time to supplement your grocery expenditures with foods you can grow or process yourself at a small fraction of the retail cost. Live your life well with fewer stops for fast food and fewer trips to the doctor. We can live longer and better in spite of the food industry and its powerfully heavy leanings on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Yours for abundant living,

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Winemaking--Funny Things Happen When You DIY

OK. Has the wine bug bitten yet? It's so, SO FUN! Just a word of caution. If you like your wine a little fizzy and go ahead and bottle it, the first time you hear a loud pop, you might look around to see if a bird flew into your windowpane and fell dying underneath. But the second time you hear it, you realize you have a mess to clean up.

Racking is necessary to remove the wine from the spent lees (sediment, used-up yeast, seeds, etc.). You simply siphon from one jar into another. It's part of filtering to make a good clear wine but it requires height to siphon properly. So, while the wine's airlock bubbles away and the wine is settling out, you decide to place the 5-gallon carboy in a handy spot on the basement floor, out of the way, in a nice clean dark spot, only to find later that you can't lift the 5 gallon carboy to rack the wine into another carboy.

It's been fun. No, really, it's been FUN!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Wine Making Supplies

Thinking about making your own wine? If you enjoy a glass now and then, either with a meal or as an after dinner drink, making wine has been a really fun hobby for me and you may enjoy it too. The home winemaker can make a delicious wine as sweet or as dry as personal taste dictates since he/she controls the ingredients, and it can save considerable money over buying as tasty a wine at retail prices.

For your first attempt at winemaking, I recommend using grapes. Around our area, Concords are easy to find grown locally. If you have access to vintner grapes, they are grown specifically for making wine and have some qualities that differ from Concords. It is said that "grapes want to be wine". That seems true since, after the first week of diligent work, the wine seems to make itself.

Your essential but basic supplies:
--a primary fermenter. This can be a clean, 5-gallon food-safe plastic bucket, preferably with a lid.
--a secondary fermenter called a carboy. Pawn Stars featured one that was pre-1800 and hand-blown, worth exactly umpteen hundred dollars. What you actually need is a 3 or 5 gallon narrow-necked glass jug. Smaller jugs will also be useful. You can use plastic. I prefer glass because it's easier to clean and less likely to impart flavors from a previous use.
--air locks. Glass or plastic bubblers to fit the neck of the primary fermenter. You fill it with water or a sodium bisulfite solution to keep air away from the wine.
--siphon hose. About 6 feet will do the trick.
--strainer. You can use cheese cloth, muslin, a collander, or a pillowcase (really!). I use a combination to filter the wine. Sediment in your wine will make it cloudy and throw off the taste.
--wine yeast. Grapes naturally have yeast on them but it's not always the type of yeast that would make a good wine, so you buy a yeast designed to give a good, strong fermentation. Lalvin D47 or Bourgovin RC 212 are both good for a red grape wine.
--sodium bisulfite. You will need this chemical to sanitize your utensils and fruit.
--pectic enzyme. This breaks down the fruit's pulp and yields more juice. It has the added benefit of producing a clearer wine.
--grapes. About a bushel is needed for five gallons of wine.
--sugar, either cane or beet white granulated sugar works well. I've even tried brown sugar and may prefer it for grape wine.
--long-handled spoon. Some long plastic ones are on the market that work well in winemaking.
--a reliable wine-making book. I have several.
--dark wine bottles, corks, a corker such as a tabletop model and labels.
--hydrometer. Nice to have. Helps you read out the amount of sugar in the wine and calculate potential alcohol content.

You can buy winemaking kits that include juice or pulp. I haven't tried these yet but they come with step-by-step instructions. The drawback for me is the chemicals that you add in addition to the list above. The additional chemicals speed up the process so that the wine is ready in 30 days but these kits put things into the wine that I don't want. Time (up to several months) and simplicity often make the best wines. I like a good, clean wine, one that has filtered itself out and defizzed over a few months without added chemicals.

I use a supplier who is within a short drive of home but I also order supplies online.

Making wine is easier than it sounds. In recent years I have made several batches of wine but I am not an expert. You don't have to be. There's some chemistry involved but you don't really need to know exactly what actions and subsequent reactions are occuring, just trust that they do. Yes, it's work but it is such a fun hobby! Like a good cook, you develop your taste and get a natural feel for what works. Watch my upcoming blog "How to Make Concord Grape Wine" for a basic procedure.

Winemaking at home is legal in the U.S. for up to, I believe, 200 gallons for personal use and no, you can't sell the wine unless you become a wine vendor. But as your kindergarten teacher used to tell you, "Sharing is nice!" (In fact, I may have been your kindergarten teacher!)

As with any alcohol, do NOT drink too much and NEVER drink and drive. Taken with self-control and moderation, this will be a hobby you will treasure. Plan now for your own delicious wine next winter and live life abundantly!

From your little old winemaker, me (Quoting the old Swiss Colony ad.)

Friday, February 4, 2011

Tomato Seed Planting Day has Come!

I'm excited! My order of tomato seeds and seed-starting plugs finally arrived! :)

The Mayo Clinic claims that "a high intake of lycopene-containing foods [such as tomatoes, especially, and other red fruits] reduce the incidence of cancer, cardiovascular disease and macular degeneration." Lycopene is a bright red carotene that acts as an anti-oxident. As a disclaimer, the Mayo Clinic also reports that "Since tomatoes are sources of other nutrients, including vitamin C, folate, and potassium, it is not clear that lycopene itself is beneficial." What has been proven in lab experiences is that tomatoes "reduce the incidence of cancer and cardiovascular disease". Apparently, they also help to keep our eyes healthy. Good to know, whether it's because of the lycopene, other nutrients or the combination!

This weekend I will be planting the tiny little seeds that will become the tomatoes for tomato sauce, salsa, juice and eventually make their way to my own table in Mediterranean and Mexican dishes. My grandchildren love the tomato soup made from the sauce. I also enjoy a glass of homegrown, homemade tomato juice when we have movie night with popcorn.

If you have never tried growing your own tomatoes, I highly recommend it. A couple of potted tomato plants can yield several pounds of tomatoes. Homegrown tomatoes, after using an Italian tomato press, produce such a sweet fresh flavor for your sauces! It's indescribable and nothing like any tomato or tomato sauce I've found in a store.

Today I have Gurney's Gurney Girl, Early Girl, and Cherry Tomato. I will also start a yellow tomato but have not decided which one. They're less acid, mellower in flavor, unless you go with an heirloom such as Heidi or a Mr. Stripey. Added to the red tomatoes, the yellow tomatoes give another layer of flavor, especially nice for juice, and I'm told the blend makes an absolutely delicious Bloody Mary!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Stephanie's Sticky Bun Tea Ring

6 T. butter, melted                   Temp. 375 degrees F    Time:  5 min. prep;  20-25 minutes baking.
6 T. maple syrup
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 cup chopped nuts
2  12-oz. tubes of refrigerated buttermilk biscuits

Brush 10-inch bundt/tube pan with 1 T of melted butter. In a small bow combine remaining butter and syrup. In another bowl combine brown sugar, nuts and cinnamon. Drizzle 2 to 3 T of buttery syrup in the pan. Sprinkle 1/3 cup sugar mixture over syrup. Place 1 tube of biscuits in the prepared pan. Then repeat with the syrup and sugar. Place the second tube of biscuits in the pan. Top with the remaining syrup and sugar mixtures.
Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Then cool for 1 to 2 minutes before inverting onto platter. Serve warm.  YUM!!!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Healthy Cooking and Eating=Healthier YOU!

My ancestors on one family branch often lived into their 80's and 90's at a time when this was uncommon so I set out to find out why. They were largely farmers and raised most of their own foods, even their pastured animals. It would have been a challenging life but active and much of the time was spent outdoors. Their foods, whole and organic, were home raised and home cooked. Most raised their own wheat and corn for flour and cornmeal. Their lives had a rhythm but not always to the same beat. The tempo would sometimes be dictated by seasons and weather conditions. They liked to have gatherings with friends and family and I  imagine what the scene would be like at one of those gatherings.

For years I have been trying to  reproduce this pastoral life on a very small scale to supplement our family's diet and, yes, to bring great food to the table that won't make us sick. I hope you are able to do this. Most aren't. It requires land and planning, time and work.  A community garden might work for you as a great way to start raising your vegetables and fruits. You can plan canning or freezing parties! Anything to lighten the load and make it fun! Also, find people who produce the rest of what you need without dangerous additives.

The self-acclaimed best source on the web for healthy eating may be "the world's healthiest foods", http://www.whfoods.org/. They conduct research and offer a special feature called Food Advisor that will make personal food recommendations based on your health needs. They're all about healthy cooking, healthy eating and a healthier YOU!

In the past week, "the world's healthiest foods" had articles on using pomegranate, dill, collard greens, and a tip that too much folate can cause nervous system disorders. OOPS! Too MUCH extra virgin olive oil? Watch out, Rachael Ray!