Fire cider, master tonic – whatever you call it, you need to make yourself a batch today. Seriously. Don’t wait until you are already starting to feel a bit peckish as fire cider needs a bit of time for all the ingredients to come together.

So what is fire cider really? Fire cider is basically an apple cider vinegar based health tonic that includes a bunch of ingredients with immune-boosting effects. Fire cider is also great for digestion so it’ll help keep you at your best during cold and flu season. You can buy it online but I like to make my own so I can have a better control of what goes into it (and plus, it is so super easy to make). Fire cider has a wonderful (and potent) sweet and tart taste to it that can be a little off-putting the first time you try it.

 

 

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Fire cider includes some of my favorite ingredients to help with colds:

  • Ginger – Ginger is great for nausea, bloating, gas and a whole host of other digestive issues. It has anti-inflammatory properties and is an antioxidant. Plus, it is simply delicious!
  • Garlic – I love garlic. Garlic helps to strengthen the immune system and is full of antifungal, antiviral, and antimicrobial properties.
  • Onions – Onions are naturally high in sulfur and contain antibacterial benefits along with prebiotics that help feed the existing healthy bacteria in the colon!
  • Turmeric – The health benefits of turmeric include an improved ability to digest fats, reduce gas and bloating, decreased congestion, and improved skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, and acne (another one of my favorite ways to use turmeric is in golden milk).

I think that fire cider might have a little too much of a kick to it for a lot of younger children so I recommend you check out my elderberry oxymel as an alternative. Also, if you don’t want to take fire cider straight, a delicious way to make sure you are getting your dose is by making it into a salad dressing! Simply mix 1 tablespoon of your prepared fire cider with 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, 1 tablespoon mustard and a dash of salt and pepper. Pour over your salad and enjoy!

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Fire Cider
This isn't so much of a recipe as a melding of ingredients. It does require a little bit of time to sit so start making it now!
Course Herbal
Servings
Ingredients
  • 1/2 c. thinly sliced fresh ginger*
  • 1/2 c. peeled and diced fresh horseradish
  • 1 tbsp. turmeric powder
  • 1 head garlic, smashed and peeled
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 2 jalapenos, sliced lengthwise**
  • 1 tsp. whole black peppercorns
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1/2 onion, sliced
  • 1 organic lemon, sliced
  • 1 organic orange, sliced
  • 4 c, raw apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 c. raw local honey
Course Herbal
Servings
Ingredients
  • 1/2 c. thinly sliced fresh ginger*
  • 1/2 c. peeled and diced fresh horseradish
  • 1 tbsp. turmeric powder
  • 1 head garlic, smashed and peeled
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 2 jalapenos, sliced lengthwise**
  • 1 tsp. whole black peppercorns
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1/2 onion, sliced
  • 1 organic lemon, sliced
  • 1 organic orange, sliced
  • 4 c, raw apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 c. raw local honey
Instructions
  1. In a clean 1/2 gallon glass jar, layer your ginger and horseradish at the bottom. Add your garlic, rosemary sprigs, jalapenos, peppercorns, cinnamon sticks, onion, and turmeric powder on top. Then place your orange and lemon slices.
  2. Using a clean spatula, press firmly on all of your ingredients to pack them down. Add your apple cider vinegar, making sure that you fully submerge your ingredients. Seal and give it a quick shake.
  3. Store your jar in a cool, dark place making sure to give it a shake every day or so. After about 6 weeks, strain out your liquid and stir in your honey.
  4. You can store your finished fire cider in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 6 months. For adults, take one or two spoonful's a day during cold/flu season to help ward off illness or when you start feeling under the weather.
Recipe Notes

* If you are using organic ginger or ginger that is harvest from the ground, then you can leave the skin on. Otherwise, peel the ginger using a spoon to scrape the skin off.

** I like to remove some of the seeds/membranes of my jalapenos. It is completely up to you if you want to remove them or leave them in for an extra bite.

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In light of the recent Pepperidge Farm Goldfish cracker recall, I thought that I would bring you this guest post from Candess Zona-Mendola, Senior Trial Paralegal at The Lange Law Firm who also runs MakeFoodSafe.com.


I sat down to read my morning news this morning to find out that a snack I packed in my kids’ fieldtrip lunchbox was recalled for Salmonella. What?!

As a food safety advocate, panic immediately set in. I called my kids’ summer camp to get their camp counselors to remove the offending fish from my kids’ lunchbox. I interrogated them to ensure that my toddler had not snuck a snack before lunch. Five deep breaths later and two pictures of intact Goldish boxes later, I am back to my normal self.

But honestly, I had nothing to worry about anyway. The type of Goldish that were recalled were not the ones I packed for my kids this morning. But I did not take the time to read that. I went directly into “momma bear mode” – protect the young, now!

So, I want to do for you what I should have done for myself. Give you a little bit of info so you can breathe a little easier, and decide if you need to take further action.

Here’s the Lowdown

Pepperidge Farms initiated a recall on these popular kids snacks just yesterday. So, if you did not know about it until just now, it is not your fault. I am just a paranoid foodie who reads the food news every morning.

Here are the quick facts for you on this recall:

  • There is no outbreak of Salmonella linked to Goldfish at this time.
  • The recall is only “out of an abundance of caution.” This means there is likely only a small batch of contaminated products, but lots of products recalled.
  • No kids are confirmed sick with Salmonella from eating Goldfish crackers at this time
  • The recall is on only four Goldfish products, which are:
    • Flavor Blasted® Xtra Cheddar
    • Flavor Blasted® Sour Cream & Onion
    • Goldfish® Baked with Whole Grain Xtra Cheddar
    • Goldfish® Mix Xtra Cheddar + Pretzel
  • No other Goldfish or Pepperidge Farms products are subject to the recall.
  • These products have different packaging depending on sizes, flavors, etc. You can visit the link here for a list (with pictures) of the recalled products.

It is important to mention that the recalled products were distributed in all 50 states. This means that they could be in your home, your friend’s house, at the daycare, at the summer camp your kids attend, at church, at grandma’s house, etc. Let the other people in your life who feed you kids know about the recall, so they can get rid of the products.

What Do I Do Now?

The first thing is not to panic, like I did. Check your pantry and see if you even have a recalled product. If you do, do not feed it to your kids – even if they have already eaten some of the fish inside. You can return the recalled products to your nearby grocer for a refund.

After that, just keep an eye on your kids. The telltale signs of a Salmonella infection are:

  • Fever
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Vomiting

In the more severe cases, there may be some additional symptoms, like bloody diarrhea, headache, chills, and body aches. It is highly recommended that you take your kids to the doctor if they are showing any of these symptoms, and ask your pediatrician for a stool test to confirm if they have Salmonella.


Like all mothers, Candess wears many hats. With 15 years of paralegal experience, she has worked on many different types of litigation.  Candess began her career helping people in family law, civil rights, and employment cases and became a paralegal in order to help people.  When Candess learned that millions of Americans each year were becoming sick from food contaminated with pathogens, she wanted to do something about it. Ever the problem solver, Candess began by finding ways to get more helpful information about food safety concerns and solutions to families (especially other mothers) in a timely fashion.

MakeFoodSafe.com is Candess’ third food safety blog.  Her first food safety blog has won multiple awards and has been recognized as a: Top 30 Food Safety Blog; Top Mommy Approved Blog; Top 10 Blog Posts by Texas Bar Today; and the Blogger Recognition Award.

Candess works closely with Jory and the food safety team to develop and cultivate the firm’s food safety cases. From intake to trial, Candess ensures everyone gets what they need when they need it, even the most challenging matters.

A mother of two, Candess lives in a suburb of Houston with her husband, Tim.  When she is not saving the world one deadline at a time, Candess can be found channeling her inner chef or with coffee and a book.

You can follow Candess and MakeFoodSafe on Facebook

Wow. Caleb is 6 1/2 months already. I absolutely cannot believe it. While we think that he started teething back when he was 3 months old, we still haven’t had any teeth break through the surface. Every time I feel around in his mouth though, I wouldn’t be surprised to find a tooth poking out. We’ve been keeping a few items in the fridge to help soothe his gums (and him on these hot summer days) so I thought that I would share a few of our, or rather Caleb’s favorite items to help him through his first teething experience.

Is your little one having issues teething? Check out the Hippie and the Hunter's suggestions for teething helpers!

Wink Naturals Cool Gums Teething Gel 

I picked up this teething gel long before the FDA released its warning in May about teething gels with benzocaine. The Cool Gums Teething Gel is a natural, drug-free formula containing zero numbing agents and it helps soothe tender gums. It has a great flavor to it and Caleb really seems to enjoy it. Sometimes I’ll even put it in the fridge for a little bit to get it a little extra cool. Fun fact: you can also use it on canker sores yourself!

Use “EELLIOTT15” to get 15% off of anything in the Wink Naturals shop!

 

Baby Buddy Silicone Finger Toothbrush

I’ve mentioned this product before but it is too good to not mention again. This is sort of like a starter toothbrush for those first teeth but it doubles as a gum massager to help with sore gums. It’s never too early to start your little one on the right path to good dental hygiene! The finger toothbrush is super easy to use and it almost seemed like a game to Caleb for me to use it. It’s a completely different sensation to have against your gums and I think he found it funny!

Mary & Kate Benny the Bunny Teether Rattle

This wooden rattle is made of European beechwood and is such a fun little rattle to play with. I love the sound of it. It’s durable and safe for babies to chew on. Studies have shown that wood can naturally eliminate even most harmful bacteria like e-coli or salmonella from its surface within minutes, so you don’t need to sterilize some wooden toys. Just rinse them under running water or wipe clean. This rattle was designed Montessori style to stimulate baby’s senses, encourage learning and social skills and promote grasping and fine motor skills development.

Go GaGa Squeeze & Teethe Elephant – Kiki

Finger!

One of Caleb’s favorite things to gnaw on is my finger! Or rather… my knuckle to be more specific. I don’t mind, especially since he doesn’t have any teeth yet. Even better – fingers are free and easily cleaned!

Essential Oil Blend

Yes, there IS an essential oil blend that may help with teething. To 2 tablespoons of coconut oil, add 1 drop of lavender essential oil and 1 drop of roman chamomile essential oil. You’ll want to massage a small amount on the OUTSIDE of your little one’s cheek along the gum line. Again – OUTSIDE. Essential oils are potent and should be treated as such!

What are some of the things that helped your little one when s/he started teething?

 

Robb just got back this past Sunday from being out of town for two weeks. That meant two weeks where I was 100% responsible for Caleb. Why I do care for him the majority of the time, I rely on Robb a lot to get other stuff done around the house and for late night diaper changes.

I started not feeling well before he left though and that feeling only intensified. By the time week two rolled around, I was feeling a bit miserable. My muscles ached so bad that I could barely pick Caleb up, my nose was stuffy, my throat was killing me and surprise – all of that led to my body being susceptible to viral pinkeye! Good times! I don’t remember my body ever struggling like that. In fact, when I told Robb that I felt worse now than when I had my c-section, that prompted him to call asking if I needed to go to the hospital.

But I kept going. I applaud all of those single moms who just keep going because they have no other choice, because they can’t stop. I took three days off of work to rest some and theorized being able to straighten up the house, but since it hurt to just switch the laundry from the washer to the dryer and I would feel faint after minutes of pulling weeds in the garden, I didn’t get much done.

I maintained Caleb’s routine. Yeah, he might have missed a few baths but I still kept him fed and changed and we managed to have play time. We didn’t have a lot of snuggles though out of worry that I would pass something on to him. The thing about Caleb though is that he really is an easy baby and we have been so blessed by him. During this time when I felt so poorly, I was especially thankful for that.

Then Saturday came. I went over to Mom’s for a yard sale and she saw first-hand how poorly I felt. That evening, my temperature crept up to around 102. I had been texting my mom all evening with updates on my temperature and she kept asking if I wanted her to come over to watch Caleb. But I kept saying “No, no. We’ll be fine.” I knew that my mom was tired and that she needed her rest as well. Finally, there was a knock at my door and when I opened it, my mom was standing there, night bag in hand.

My mom knows just by looking at me if I’m running a fever. She always has and we never owned a thermometer growing up. Another thing about my mom is that she knows when I probably do need her, even if I don’t say anything. She got to work helping me clean the house for when Robb got home and sacrificed her own sleep that night so I could rest.

I started feeling better on Sunday. Even though I’m still not completely well, I’m getting there. I think that having her help went a long way in my recovery.

We all need help sometimes but why does it seem so hard to ask for it? I’m not one to really ever ask for help. I like to think that I always have it under control and my mom raised me to be fiercely independent. But when it all boils down to it, there is nothing wrong with having someone to step in, is it?

The crud has hit our home. Robb and I have both been battling a cold the past few days and with Caleb only 4 months old, we’ve been careful to try not to spread it to him. Thankfully I’ve read that breastmilk contains protective antibodies to help Caleb’s immune system fight off infection and illness. He seems to be good right now but I’ve been keeping a close eye on his health.

Cold’s suck. I’ve never liked taking medicine to begin with but now I have to take extra precautions while breastfeeding. I’ve always preferred time, rest, and a good dose of Vitamin C. Elderberries are a great source of Vitamin C (as well as being said to have anti-inflammatory, antiviral, anti-influenza, and anticancer properties) and while I usually create a hot tea with the dried berries and a bit of honey, I also like to transform the berries into an oxymel for easy consumption.

A oxymel is basically a syrup with apple cider vinegar added to give it a sweet and sour taste. This is definitely an acquired taste. I actually like it, it is very reminiscent to a shrub. When I’m starting to feel a bit under the weather, I take about a tablespoon full every 4 or 5 hours. For Robb, I mixed a bit of the oxymel with some tonic water – though I admit, he did not like it one bit. I highly recommend stocking up on dried elderberries BEFORE cold and flu season arrives as they become harder to find and a lot of shops sell out. This recipe also needs to sit for a few weeks so make it early on during cold and flu season to make sure that you have it on hand. Once it’s prepared, it’ll last for about 6 months in the refrigerator.

I’ve also been taking Zarbee’s Naturals Baby Cough Syrup + Mucus. Since it’s safe for infants 2+ months, I figured that it would be safe for me to consume. It has a delicious grape flavor and helps to clear mucus and soothe irritated throats. There are no artificial flavors/sweeteners/drugs/alcohol/dyes, only organic agave syrup, English ivy leaf extract and a few other items.

Now that I’m over this cold… it’s time to prepare for allergy season~…

Print Recipe
Elderberry Oxymel
Course Herbal
Servings
Ingredients
  • raw apple cider vinegar
  • dried elderberries (purchase here)
  • raw local honey
Course Herbal
Servings
Ingredients
  • raw apple cider vinegar
  • dried elderberries (purchase here)
  • raw local honey
Instructions
  1. Fill a quart or pint sized mason jar 1/3 full with your dried elderberries.
  2. Add an equal amount of honey and apple cider vinegar. Stir well and cover with a plastic lid (the vinegar will cause a metal lid to corrode).
  3. Let this mixture sit for about 4 weeks, shaking the jar a few times a week. When it's done, strain it through cheesecloth, taking care to squeeze the cheesecloth to get out any extra bits of liquid.
Recipe Notes

I like to store my finished oxymel in a glass amber bottle but you can use any container. It'll last for about 6 months in the fridge.

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