Pasties with Kale: A Meal

The pasty came to the Keweenaw Peninsula of northern Michigan with Cornish miners. The Finns caught on to the hearty meal that was portable. Meat and vegetables wrapped in pastry made a filling lunch during the long hours in the mine.

My grandfathers were miners, and pasties were served for family   dinners. It is a meal that invites group participation for preparation. This year I have had a steady supply of kale and thyme in my garden—and I added them to my pasties.

Kale & Thyme


1 lb. round steak, diced or coarsely ground
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 Tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 clove of garlic finely minced
1 cup chopped and steamed kale leaves
1 cup rutabaga, chopped
½ cup finely chopped onion
4 large potatoes, peeled and diced
1 + ½ tsp. salt

Combine olive oil, vinegar, thyme and minced garlic. Mix into the chopped meat. Allow the meat marinate in the refrigerator while preparing the pastry and the vegetables.


3 cups flour
½ tsp. salt
2/3 cup shortening
1 egg yolk
½ cup + 2 Tblsp. cold water
1 Tblsp. cider vinegar

Combine flour and salt. Cut in the shortening until it appears as coarse crumbs. Mix the egg yolk, water and vinegar. Gradually add this to the flour mixture, stirring with a fork. Mix just until it holds together. If needed added additional water a tablespoon at a time. Divide the dough into six portions and roll out each portion to a 9” circle. Set aside.

Cut the kale into pieces and steam it for about 3 minutes.

steamed kale

Chop the rutabaga and potatoes into about 1” pieces. Chop the onion finely. Add the vegetables and salt to the meat mixture. Mix well.

Place a generous cup of filling on half of each dough circle. Fold the other half of dough over the filling and crimp the edges. Place the pasties on a lightly greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes or until lightly browned. Serve hot.


Linking with Real Food Friday and Friendship Friday

Rubella: Virus & Vaccine

The letter R in MMR stands for rubella. When I was a kid we called it the German measles. (Not to be confused with regular measles–or rubeola–which was in the news this year.) My siblings and I all had rubella when we were growing up; we got a fever and a rash. We stayed home from school for a few days. According to the CDC the symptoms are often mild and complications don’t happen often. Adults are more likely to have complications than children.

But rubella can cause birth defects if a woman has rubella during pregnancy. The vaccine issue popped up again as I worked on some continuing education for nursing. After reading about lab tests that check for infections during pregnancy, I went to the CDC’s page about rubella.

Being infected with rubella in the first three months of pregnancy has the most risk. The rubella virus can affect every organ in the body of the developing fetus. According to the CDC this is the reason that the rubella vaccine was developed—to avoid congenital rubella. The virus can also have delayed effects. Here is the quote that jumped off the page.

Manifestations of CRS [congenital rubella syndrome]may be delayed from 2 to 4 years. Diabetes mellitus appearing in later childhood occurs frequently in children with CRS. In addition, progressive encephalopathy resembling subacute sclerosing panencephalitis has been observed in some older children with CRS. Children with CRS have a higher than expected incidence of autism.

Recently I was reading research reports that described the development of the rubella vaccine. Timo Vesikari described the research in an article.

Under the seniors I was to do much of the work: vaccinate pregnant women prescreened to be seronegative for rubella and scheduled to have a legal abortion a week or two later. The plan was to isolate rubella (vaccine) virus from the products of conception [the baby] and, in fact, we succeeded in doing that. *

The process of developing the rubella vaccine involves viable fetal cells that are infected with rubella.   The line of fetal cells is used to make the vaccine. This is an ingredient in the rubella vaccine that became available in 1969.

image credit:
image credit:

The full list of ingredients in the current MMR according to the CDC’s website: Medium 199, Minimum Essential Medium, Phosphate, recombinant human albumin, neomycin, sorbitol, hydrolyzed gelatin, chick embryo cell culture, WI-38 human diploid lung fibroblasts. WI-38 refers to the specific line of cells developed from an aborted fetus of approximately 3 months gestation.

Why does this bother me? The combined measles-mumps-rubella vaccine  became part of the vaccine schedule in 1971. [Note: the vaccine developed from fetal cells became standard in 1979] At 12 or 15 months of age children received the first dose of the MMR vaccine. In 1970 the rate of autism was 1 in 10,000. In 2012 the rate was 1 in 88. The rate continues to become more frequent. Click here to see a chart with the increasing rate of autism.

If a fetus that is infected with the virus during pregnancy can show long-term effects on health during childhood, is it possible that in some children the vaccine can cause long-term effects? Is there a time period that the vaccine is more risky? Is it possible that the rubella portion of the MMR, in combination with other factors, contributes to the rising autism rate? A large number of research studies indicate that this is possible. Click here for a link to the studies.

Do we completely understand how the vaccine impacts a toddler over a period of years? The current vaccine injury program requires that severe reactions be documented in a timely fashion. Only with this documentation can the family have a hearing before a special court.    If the court decides that a vaccine caused the injury, the family is compensated. The U.S. government has paid out 3.2 billion dollars in compensation for vaccine injuries.

Who is looking for the side effects that may occur over an extended period of time? Who believes the observations of parents? Coincidence or side effects?

The current CDC schedule requires 2 doses of the MMR: first one at age of 12 – 15 months, second one at age 4 – 6 years. The second dose is given because 2 – 5% of children don’t develop an immune response after one dose. If a child has had one MMR vaccine she may not need a second dose. A blood test can determine if a child has antibodies. A second dose might not be necessary.

In hindsight I wish that I had been better informed about vaccines when my children were little. I urge parents to become educated on this topic.    As Christians, how do we feel about the injection of cells derived from an aborted fetus into a healthy toddler? a child whose immune system is still developing?

CORRECTION: Although the rubella vaccine from fetal cells was developed in 1969 it was not initially accepted in the United States. The first rubella vaccine was developed from duck embryos. The vaccine developed from fetal cells was licensed in the U.S. in 1979 and replaced the vaccine developed from duck embryos.

*Vesikari, Timo, M.D., PhD., “From Rubella to Rotavirus and Beyond”, Human Vaccines & Immunotherapies, vol. 11, issue 6, 2015 pp. 1302-1305.

Linking with The Ladies Collective Link-upThe {Not Just} Homemaking Party,    A Little R & R, WholeHearted Wednesday and Tuesdays with a Twist

The Lunar Eclipse

It was a big event this week. My husband and I (like so many others) sat outside last Sunday night to watch the lunar eclipse. We had a good view of the blood moon. I took some pictures that are kind of fuzzy and saw many great pictures on Facebook. I even saw photos from Finland and Israel. It seems that whole world was watching.

Photo credit: pixabay
Photo credit: pixabay

It brought to mind thoughts of Jesus return. I wonder if the whole world will be watching then. We are beginning to see events mentioned in the Bible related to the end times. Is the blood moon one of the signs?

The blood moon is a curious event. Three things coincide: a full moon, the moon is at the closest range (a super moon) and a lunar eclipse. These events cause the moon to appear a deep orange color–a blood moon.

The remarkable view in last Sunday’s night sky, coinciding with the Jewish feast of tabernacles, was on my mind when I went to Bible study on Tuesday. We are studying Acts. We talked about the following verses in our discussion.

Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. I will show wonders in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord. And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.  Acts 2:18-21

We all want to know the timing, but Jesus said that only the Father knows this.   (Acts 1: 7)

So we must be attentive to the signs and live expectantly. The second epistle of Peter has additional instructions.

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.

Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the day of God . . .     II Peter 3: 10-12a

We live in challenging times. We need to be attentive, faithful and bold in our witness. God has given us the Holy Spirit to help us in our weakness.

Linking with Sunday Stillness,  Faith ‘n Friends,  Weekend Whispers,  Grace & Truth,  Faith Filled Friday and Thought Provoking Thursday

Successful Breastfeeding

As a mom I breastfed my babies–learning more with each child. As nurse and grandma I have had experience in helping new moms to establish breastfeeding. Breastfeeding has many health benefits, but sometimes there are hurdles to get over. I have collected some articles that address problems and best practices.

Have you heard of the breast crawl? Research has shown that if newborn infant is placed on its tummy, skin to skin with mother following birth, the infant is has built in reflexes that help him seek and suckle the breast. This should take place within 90 minutes of a healthy birth.

photo credit: T. Adriaenssen
photo credit: T. Adriaenssen

This finding has led to a new understanding of best positions for breastfeeding. In an article in Mothering, Nancy Mohrbacher writes:

Every brand-new baby comes into the world with a whole repertoire of responses that are custom designed by Mother Nature to make baby an active breastfeeding partner. Baby is born with what’s needed so that–when conditions are right–breastfeeding and bonding happen easily and naturally. These responses work best when baby lies tummy down on mother with gravity anchoring baby there.  Read more here.

It is also important over the next 48 hours, to observe the infant for cues that show an interest in breastfeeding. The baby should breastfeed on demand–8 to 12 feedings in 24 hours.  Sometimes problems occur in the first month.  I have been aware of moms that gave up. They were breastfeeding frequently but the baby wasn’t satisfied.

It could be an incorrect latch at the breast. The baby might be restricted in achieving a good suck because tongue is tied more closely to the gums. Heather at has written a post with detailed explanation of tongue and lip ties. She includes photos and advice from an expert doctor. Click here to read her post.

After persevering through the early weeks and then months of breastfeeding, a mom can be surprised when the baby suddenly refuses to breastfeed. This could be a nursing strike. To understand this phenomena read Nancy Mohrbacher’s article. Click here.

Many moms have to return to work. The breast pump offers a way to continue. One mom worked out a schedule for maintaining breastfeeding by successfully pumping. She shares her story here.

It is true. Breastfeeding requires patience, commitment and support from the family. Sometimes expert help is needed. During times of difficulty it is good to remember the health benefits for mom and baby.

A Swedish study demonstrated that women who breastfeed their     babies have a reduced risk of rheumatoid arthritis. Click here.

A Canadian study explained the role of healthy bacteria in the gut.    Infants that are breastfed develop healthy microbes in the gut and are less likely to develop allergies. Click here.

Whether a mom breastfeeds or bottle-feeds her infant, she needs the support and encouragement of family and friends. Mothering a newborn is both wonderful and very demanding.

Linking with Ladies Collective Link-upWholeHearted Wednesday,  Titus 2sday,  the Art of Homemaking,  MYHSM

Rock and Salvation

Lake Superior
By Lake Superior

For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence,

for my hope is from him.

He only is my rock and my salvation,

my fortress; I shall not be shaken.

On God rests my salvation and my glory;

my mighty rock, my refuge is God.

Psalm 62: 5-7

Linking with Wordless Wednesday,  Good Morning Mondays,  Sunday Stillness and Weekend Whispers

Herbal Home Health Care

This summer my husband and I were in a bulk food store. He wandered around while I chose whole grain flour, spices and coconut oil. He brought a book to me and said, “I think you would like this.” The title of the book is Be Your Own “Doctor” An informative Guide to Herbal Home Health Care. The back cover explains that the author is an educator and midwife.

Be Your Own Doctor

When I flipped through the book I agreed with my husband. It is a good resource. The book has chapters on a number of herbs including chamomile, comfrey, echinacea, lavender, red raspberry leaf and slippery elm. Rachel Weaver describes the way she has used these herbs and the results she achieved. Throughout the book Weaver gives recipes and instructions on teas, salves and tinctures.

Weaver covers pregnancy, infant care and common ailments with her suggestions for supporting health. Some of the treatments I was already familiar with.

Garlic has been part of our home health for many years. The chapter on garlic provides a good review of information that I have read in other sources. The new feature in this chapter is a Super Duper Tonic, a combination of garlic and herbs that acts like an antibiotic.

Weaver provides a recipe for a gallbladder flush. It is similar to one that I have used over the years for a colicky gall bladder. My doctor recommended that I have gall bladder surgery after my youngest son was born. I was breastfeeding him and didn’t want to have surgery. I decided to try a gallbladder flush first. I was able to avoid surgery.

The book contains common sense, but it is good to keep in mind that every family is unique and may find some information more helpful than others. A paragraph in the foreword explains the benefits and limitations of the book.

Be Your Own Doctor is not intended to give you any medical advice. The FDA prohibits me from doing that. I am not a medical doctor and the things that I am presenting here were not scientifically tested at the cost of thousands of dollars. I am only passing on to you common sense information that is the result of common sense living and has been used by many mothers and grandmothers for hundreds of years to heal their families. The proof that these things work, lies in the successes of people, not in the million-dollar tests of the laboratories. But remember that you are responsible for whatever information you choose to use from this book.

I was happy to see that the book is available from the Bulk Herb Store. Just click the button to visit the this store.

Great selection of bulk herbs, books, and remedies. Articles, Research Aids and much more.

Linking with Titus 2sdays,  Friendship FridayBooknificnent Thursday,  Whole Hearted Home, A Little R & R,  the Homemaking PartyTuesdays with a Twist and the Art of Homemaking

Honor or Riches

Honor or Riches

Last week I quoted half of this verse in Proverbs because I wasn’t quite sure what to make of the second line. I was glad to have the opportunity to attend a class on Hebrew poetry. The class gave me new insight.

Our teacher, Tim Sigler, gave an overview of Hebrew poetry. One of the features is parallelism. One verse contains two lines; when they are placed alongside each other, they expand the meaning. Each verse can have a nugget of wisdom that applies to many situations. This is especially true of Proverbs.

The parallelism can be affirming, opposing or advancing. The verse that had been playing in mind all week is an example of opposing parallelism.

A gracious woman gets honor,
And violent men get riches. Proverbs 11:16

Gracious is in contrast to violent. Honor is in contrast to riches. I have been thinking about the controversies in our culture.

The abortion industry. The vaccine industry. A connection exists between abortion and vaccine development. Click here. I grasp at ways to pray about these issues.

In real life a medical researcher that refused to be paid in return for omitting data from a research study demonstrates the characteristic of honor. Is bribery and deceit a form of violence? Consider a quote from an interview with this doctor. The interview appeared in Der Spiegel, a German magazine (September 5, 2015).

SPIEGEL: In your early years as a researcher, a pharmaceutical company offered you a bribe equivalent to two years of your salary: They wanted to prevent you from publishing negative study results. Were you disappointed that you weren’t worth more?

Peter Wilmshurst: (laughs) I was just a bit surprised to be offered any money, really. I was a very junior researcher and doctor, only 33 years old, so I didn’t know that sort of thing happened. I didn’t know that you could be offered money to conceal data.   Click here to read more.

A whistleblower, who was part of a research team for the CDC, has claimed that some data, significant to the safety of vaccines, was omitted from a published study. Is the pursuit of success and money at all costs a form of violence?

Proverbs 22:1 offers another angle on riches.

A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold.

I am troubled by the impact that the pursuit of riches has on our health care system. Children and families experience the consequences. Perhaps out of fear we submit our children to more and more vaccines. Yet chronic disease and immune system disorders are on the rise. It seems that the family is under attack by forces that are veiled.

And so I pray for children and the family.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, you love the children and have entrusted them to our care. I pray for truth in medical research. Give parents wisdom as they care for their family. May we understand our limitations and seek to support health with a deep respect for life. You have created us and we seek wisdom from you.

Linking with Words with WinterSunday StillnessWeekend WhispersFriendship Friday and Thought Provoking Thursday

Grace in Marriage

Gracious Woman

A gracious woman gets honor. Proverbs 11:16

This week I listened to a webinar on life coaching. This was the basic question being addressed: How do we help people make healthy changes in their lifestyle? The program was designed for health care workers, but it applies to family life as well. I took notes as I listened and identified practical tips for encouraging changes in behavior (mine and my husband’s).

It is easy for me to get frustrated with my husband’s way of doing home repair. We have different perspectives. It’s the engineer with great designs vs. the manager of home and hospitality.

The first thing I need to do is, to listen to him explain his plans. Then I can ask questions—helping both of us to see a project more clearly. The conversation should include two reflections for every question. A reflection restates what the other person has said and confirms understanding.

Making demands or instructing my husband on what needs to be done doesn’t work. Instead demands throw a wedge in our relationship and can shut down our communication. We can both be pretty self-centered. I want a project done yesterday. Hubby wants to work on his own time-line. The appearance is important to me and hubby is satisfied when it is functional. We need to listen to each other in turn and compromise.

I am not going to get everything I want, but we can stay us on a path of progress, working together. We can increase our understanding of each other’s strengths.

Dialogue works (supporting motivation) when positive comments are in a 3:1 ratio with negative comments, for relationships in general. In a marriage relationship the positive to negative comment ratio needs to be 5:1. I was startled when the lecturer said this. I need to improve!

How often do I notice the good things my husband is accomplishing? Do I let him know? Do I affirm his strengths?

The word I chose for 2015 is gracious. I have been paying attention to the way I interact with people that I meet.  And I can still grow in    graciousness toward my husband in our daily life.

The apostle Paul’s letters to the Christians at Ephesus and Colosse    addresses  husbands and wives. They struggled in their relationships too!

Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.                     Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them.                      Colossians 3:18

Linking with MYHSM, the Art of HomemakingWholeHearted Wednesday, Dance with Jesus,  A Little R & R,  Titus 2sdayMotivation MondayWeekend Whispers and Sunday Stillness

Potato Salad with Apple

L of L

The apples are ripening. So many good recipes include apples, but have you ever added apples to potato salad? A Finnish chef shared a recipe for potato salad with an apple at a conference I attended. Here is my version of the recipe:

6 medium size yukon gold potatoes

2 Tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon vinegar

1/3 cup mayonnaise

1 apple (I like pink lady for this recipe)

1 large dill pickle

2 Tablespoons of chopped chives

1 garlic clove, peeled and diced (optional)

1/3 cup whole milk yogurt

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

Steam the potatoes until tender. Immediately peel them—the skin will slip off with a little effort. (I use a fork to stabilize the potato and a knife to gently remove the skin.) Chop the hot potatoes coarsely. Mix the olive oil and vinegar and add it to the potatoes. Mix. Then add the mayonnaise. Mix. A southern chef taught me this process of working with the potatoes while they are still hot to preserve the creamy quality of the potatoes.

Then refrigerate the potatoes while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. Peel and chop the apple, dice the dill pickle and garlic clove. Add the apple, pickle, garlic and chives to the potatoes and mix.

Make sure the potatoes have cooled down before adding the yogurt. When it is cool add the yogurt, salt and pepper.

If you make the salad a day ahead the flavors have a chance to meld together.

Potato Salad with Apple

Potatoes have these nutrients: Vitamin C, Vitamin B-1, Niacin, Potassium and Iron.

The Michigan Potato Industry Commission has these tips for storing potatoes:

  • Handle gently. Bumps and bruises can lead to rot.
  • Store at a temperature between 40 to 50 degrees. Storing in the refrigerator may be too cool, causing the potato starch to turn to sugar. (I don’t really have room in my refrigerator for a bag of potatoes.)
  • Store in a dark, dry place. It is a little challenging to store potatoes in the summer! How do you store your potatoes?

Linking with The Art of Home-Making,  Motivation MondayFriendship Friday,  From the Farm and Real Food Friday

Pilgrim’s Inn: Book Review

When I picked up the book, Pilgrim’s Inn: The Herb of Grace, at a resale shop I didn’t realize that it is the second book in a series about the Eliot family. Elizabeth Goudge wrote a trilogy; the first book is The Bird in the Tree and the third book is The Heart of the Family. Pilgrims’s Inn was published in 1948 and is a good read by itself.

Pilgrim's Inn

Rue is the herb referred to in the title. The leaves on this herb have narrow green lobes, and in the summer it blossoms with small yellow flowers. According to the Complete Herb Book, “Rue was known as Herb of Grace, perhaps because it was regarded as a protector against the devil, witchcraft and magic. It was also used as an antidote against every kind of poison from toadstools to snakebites.”*

The story reveals that the Inn was once managed by a group of monks, offering hospitality to travelers. The Inn contains a secret, a wonderful room with hidden art.

The Eliot family in postwar England is burdened and weary. Through the manipulation of Lucilla , matriarch of the Eliots, her son’s family settles in the Inn.

I read a couple chapters each evening and began to appreciate the careful drawing of each character as they worked through trouble and frustration. The author has a keen perception of children and writes a forgiving description of their mischief.

Elizabeth Goudge has painted a picture of Pilgrim’s Inn, ascribing to it an attitude of hospitality and healing. She has written about the forest behind the Inn and its animals with fine description. A love of nature permeates her words.

Like the Inn, this book was a peaceful welcome for me. It took me to a place that I enjoyed. The closing chapter contains a message about children and the family.

There were still children in the world, and while there were children, men and women would not abandon the struggle to make safe homes to put them in, and while they so struggled there was hope.**

The book has a soothing quality, clearly conveying the value of family life.


*Jekka McVicar, The Complete Herb Book, Kyle Cathie Limited: London, 1999 p. 166

** Elizabeth Goudge, Pilgrim’s Inn: Herb of Grace, Coward-McCann, Inc.: New York, 1948 p. 331

Linking with The Art of Homemaking,  Friendship FridayGrace & TruthBooknificent ThursdayWhole Hearted HomeA Little R & R,  Not Just Homemaking Party,  Tuesdays with a Twist and Roses of Inspiration