3 Reasons to Consider Giving This Critter A Second Thought

For those who love all things spooky  and creepy crawly, this is the perfect time of year to suggest this creature receive a moment in the spotlight.

Instead of screaming, laughing and running away heroically as you escape the clutches Halloween spook, read on. You will be surprised.

This critter is something no one wants to give a second thought too. Eeeeewwww is about as far as you have been...until today.

Maggots. Fly larvae are really pretty awesome…keep reading, I promise it's nifty

Food Chain

Think about it. These beasts decompose things none of us even want to look at. The rotten raccoon nestled on the curb, gushy, soggy plant material and piles of well…poo.

Ever hike where pet owners think they don’t need to pick up after their amazing four legged friends?

Swarms of flies are maddening BUT given enough time flies that lay their eggs in those mounds of yuck will have offspring that will decrease the size of the pile.

Forensic Entomology

Yep, maggots help forensic scientists. Flies will lay between 200-500 eggs on a dead body preferring eye sockets, nostrils and a gaping mouth.

Within 3 days maggots will hatch and go to town eating the decomposing flesh

Nasty, BUT the stage these bugs are found helps determine the time of death for the victim, providing evidence for investigations.  

Medical Maggots

Not only do they eat rotting flesh in carrion on the side of the road but they eat it off people too.

Disinfected maggots are used to clean out necrotic (dead) tissue within wounds – think ulcers and abscesses.

These voracious creatures will eat 5 times their weight in only 2 days. Consuming only the dead flesh they leave the live flesh alone. Their saliva is also known to have antibiotic properties. 

Cultures have used maggots for eons to do just that. Clean out wounds to increase chances of survival.

Medical maggots have been approved for use since 2004 by the US Food and Drug Administration.

If the mere mention of medical maggots doesn’t make you want to hurl, you can even watch them go to work on YouTube, search ‘medical maggots’. You’re welcome.

Maggots have a rotten reputation as they are the larvae of flies and flies are gross because they love all things we deem disgusting. Perhaps like bats, they need a second chance too.

Happy Thursday!


Confessions of a Coconut Oil Rookie

Peek into my clothes closet, it would be tough to accuse me of being trendy. 

A few years ago I became like that with food too. Sick of the expensive trends, ingredients promising to rule the world, the diet of the day, etc. I rolled my eyes over the hype of coconut oil and didn't bother digging any deeper because I was so tired of the "latest" super power food.

I drew the line until this weekend and in a weak moment I cracked. Hard. At Costco.

Coconut Oil is what broke me. I have been holding out for what feels like years with this trend. Really truly, it was because of the cost as much as it was the trend.

Skylander Giants figure Double Trouble, a magic power. Cleary I was lured in with powers as strong as magic to buy this!

Skylander Giants figure Double Trouble, a magic power. Cleary I was lured in with powers as strong as magic to buy this!

$25 for twins wrapped snugly together with a band of shrink wrap piled with their buddies prominently on an end cap pallet.  It’s organic and kosher. Big Deal. Blinders on and keep on walking...for years.

One 48 oz bottle of canola oil adds about $2.50 to the grocery tab. I prefer canola oil math to coconut oil math. BUT canola oil is made mostly with round-up ready GMO rapeseed. AND it's heavily processed with harsh chemicals. Maybe I need to re-think my math.

Possessed by demons? Maybe. I started to dig deeper into this fascination with coconut oil. I did what anyone else would do, I asked my family what they thought.

Consulting my mother in law and sister in law this weekend each one exclaimed wide eyed and with conviction how much they loved it. Ok, my sister in law has gorgeous huge eyes anyway, I was just adding drama.


It all comes down to processing and Medium Chain Triglycerides.

PROCESSING - the label states it's cold pressed and not chemically treated during production. Very cool. Very much an unadulterated whole food which is my language.

MEDIUM CHAIN TRIGLYCERIDES. DON'T FALL ASLEEP, this is not Chemistry Class anymore. These babies are super cool because they aren't stored immediately as fat as other fats are. They are metabolized in the liver the first time through which means they are used as ENERGY fueling our cells immediately. SUPER COOL! Fat not stored as fat as long as you are moving enough to burn the calories you are consuming.



Asking my family how they use coconut oil, this is what they shared.

  • Melt a tiny bit on air popped popcorn and sprinkle with a tiny bit of salt
  • Sauté vegetables in the coconut oil
  • Grease the griddle before pouring on pancake batter
  • Smear on dry scaly skin
  • Antibacterial properties can be used to help treat skin infections

My resolve was that for $25 bucks per twin pack, I was going to use it in places where it matteredSmall amounts in food we eat regularly.

  • Melt in pan before scrambling eggs - will they taste like coconut eggs? ummm, not so sure that would be awesome
  • Definitely in the pan as we sauté summer squash (we eat squash about 5 times a week)
  • Use in place of canola in the homemade granola that I eat daily
  • Gussy up fancy popcorn for the kiddos parties with friends – air popped popcorn, COCONUT oil, salt, pepper and freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • Tried it in a pie crust for a pumpkin pie this weekend...still on the fence as to how much I liked the coconut flavor with pumpkin

The more I learn about this trend, the more excited I am becoming over this ingredient.

As I chew on deciding if this is something I will buy again, I wondered something. One could argue that the premise of Think Inside the Blender may be a trend too. Naaaw, on second thought I disagree. Trends are things that come and go.

We have focused on this way of eating - specifically with fruit and vegetable smoothies for over 4 years. Our trend of eating whole foods, whole grains, fruit and veggie smoothies, while eating as much as we can that has been home grown is now a lifestyle which elevates it from trend status.

Eating this way comes with no fancy package or marketing dollars from corporate giants. It is propelled instead by readers like you who have seen how eating this way makes a difference.

You feel better, your kids are healthier, you visit the doctor less, well-checks or annuals are met with good news most of the time.

Adding coconut oil will not change the foundation of how we eat, but adding and tweaking small things will strengthen our foundation. Maybe I will keep using it.

How do you use coconut oil? Please share your insight with me!

Happy Home Cooking!


Using Your Garden to Help Pay for College Part 1 of 2

Part 1 of  2

After WWII, my grandparents bought a used Army bus and converted it into a mobile grocery market.  My grandparents were solving the problem of food deserts before the term was coined.

Suppose it was in our blood to do the same. Deliver the good stuff, right to the people.

About 7-8 years ago my kids started their own mobile green grocery store with the extra pumpkins grandpa had grown for them. Their mobile market was a little red wagon and their customers, gracious neighbors.

Ligtbulb moment.

Making a few bucks off pumpkins several years ago has evolved into our own CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) of sorts. We sell veggies and a little bit of fruit by the box each week to a set list of people who want our fresh, home-grown love. Proceeds go toward college.

  • My kiddos use my garden (and my dad's) to help pay for college as they pick produce and deliver it each week to their customers.
  • Here are the deets on our College Savings Garden Boxes the kiddos sell to our gracious friends and neighbors.
  • Produce is picked by the entire family once a week from our garden and at my parent’s house.
  • Everything that is fresh and ready to go that week gets divided up equally into the boxes - think seasonal, low-carbon foot print micro-farm.
  • Boxes are delivered – not only does it ensure I’m not babysitting boxes of produce with no room in the fridge should someone forget to pick it up, it creates a real connection with the people who receive the tasty garden treasures.  I’m told people love our boxes as much as they love the visit with the delivery. Yes, it takes longer but it’s time well spent.
  • Money is piled up. We charge $10 per box and deliver 9-11 boxes weekly depending on availability of customers and if we have “back up homes” for the boxes. I have been told more than once by more than one customer we don't charge enough. *Shrugs*
  • A weekly box can be too much for some families so we do have a few who get them every other week.
  • Our season begins in early June with just bags of peas (shelling and snap) - $2.50 for quart bags stuffed full(actually sold $10 gallon bags this year too).
  • Boxes start around mid-June with a handful of anxious regular customers until we can put together the volume needed to start delivering to everyone around mid-late July. The picking ends when the frost hits.
  • If the kiddos don’t help pick they don’t get paid. Our first grader may only net $20 this year because he only likes to help deliver. His sisters are totally cool with not having to share too much with him. They have math skills.

Kids are bitten by mosquitos, fight over who is picking what, take too long to pick the green beans, eat gobs of blackberries when they should be picking and are learning how to sweat until the job is all the way done.

With peas and box delivery the kiddos counted up over $700 last night. We still have 5-ish weeks to go in the season and will easily surpass our goal of $1000 a season.

We are able to do this because we have refined the process over the last several years. Start with a wagon full of extras, evolve to a few boxes and see what you have the energy and time to support.

Next Tuesday's post will be about what is actually in a box, an excellent idea if you only have time and space for one "crop", how to make money with produce without having a garden and how I tricked my kiddos into having a tangible feel for how much college costs.

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Happy Growing!