Hive and Honey: What You Don’t Know and Should

hive and honey cover

This weekend, my husband and I visited the 2013 Lithopolis Honeyfest a small festival in an even smaller yet wonderfully charming town just southeast of Columbus. The mission of the Honeyfest is to educate visitors about the art and science of apiculture – beekeeping; and to raise awareness of the importance of the honey bee on the pollination of crops, to increase the consumption of honey, and to educate about the beekeeping industry. This event is viewed as a component in preserving apiculture, not just in Ohio, but nationwide and globally. In recent years, we have all heard that bees – and their survival – are paramount in the survival of the Earth’s ecosystem and we have undoubtedly heard about the various health benefits of honey. At first thought, you may think going to a festival solely about, bees, honey, bee keeping and their agriculture may be boring, but I soon found out otherwise and now I am going to tell you about Hive and Honey, what you don’t know and should.

I found about the Hive and Honey BEEpothecary at Honeyfest and I almost passed up their shop at first, but set out lip gloss, lip butter, chap stick or anything of the sort (and them combine “all-natural” with it) and I’m pretty much your customer for life.

The mission of Hive and Honey is to “share our amazement of God’s design and the honeybee” in short. They seek to educate others about the usefulness of resources made in the hive and create health and skin care products so others can benefit from the God-created natural riches. Formed just this year, founders Peter and Laurie Dotson and Steve and Jeannie Saum make and sell all of their products out of their homes. They pledge to conduct business in a morally sound manner and are working to produce a supplemental income for later years while giving back 10% of their profits to international Christian missionaries.

You get it, right? They make honey and it’s good for you and they have a good company so you should try it.

Wrong. While the above statements may be true, Hive and Honey BEEpothecary, uses the hive to make much more than honey and I had no idea how interesting, healthful – and not to mention helpful – bees were until I stopped to chat with the shop owners.

In short, they make balms, soaps, salves and drops to help with skin care, ailments, infections, wounds, blemishes sunburns, cuts, burns, sore throats, ear infections, allergies, colds, hot spots (pets), rashes, irritations and a whole host of other common ailments. All of their products are made with raw, natural ingredients and they are not creams or lotions. The owner explained as soon as you add water to a product to make it a cream or lotion, you are inviting the possibility for bacteria to grow so these products have none. The tinctures are made from an alcohol base and the oils are made with an olive oil base.

But, it’s more than honey – their products are also made from propolis and pollen. Here’s the scoop from Hive and Honey on each.

Honey
  • Made by the honeybee from flower nectar
  • Collected locally from two Apiaries
  • Flavor depends on the seasons, blossoms and bees themselves
  • Rich in phytochemicals to provide anitoxidant protection, healing properties and nutritional benefits
  • Is metabolized differently than sugar in the body because it is processed more like a fruit
  • Did you know? Honey helps to stabilize blood sugar and triggers a much lower insulin release than other sugars
  • Did you know? Honey is stored in the liver as glycogen and provides brain fuel
  • Did you know? When honey is consumed before bedtime it promotes restorative sleep by reducing the release of adrenalin and cortisol (stress!)
  • Did you know? Honey is a broad spectrum antibiotic and antifungal used to treat wounds and infections in homes and hospitals.
Pollen
  • Honeybee Pollen (raw) is a complete food and is richer in proteins than any animal source, making it a superfood
  • Like honey, pollen is rich in phytochemicals to provide anitoxidant protection, healing properties and nutritional benefits
  • It has the richest source of vitamins (including riboflavin B2, nicitinic acid B3 and pantothenic B5) found in nature, in a single food
  • Did you know? Pollen has been shown to reduce cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood when taking regularly
  • Did you know? One teaspoon of bee pollen is equivalent to a hearty serving of vegetables
Propolis

Did you know about propolis?

  • Propolis is a thick, sticky substance made by honeybees from tree resin
  • Contains 16 amino acids, essential oils, flavonoids, vitamins and minerals
  • Used for centuries all over the world for medicinal and health benefits
  • It is a natural antibiotic and does not kill intestinal flora
  • The National Institute of Health states it has antibiotic, antimicrobial, antiviral, antifungal, antioxidant and noninflammatory properties
  • Used orally to treat colds, viruses, bronchitis, pneumonia, IBS, sore throats
  • Used mixed with saline as nose or ear drops to aid in sinus congestion or pain
  • Used as a mouth rinse for canker and mouth sores, gum irritations/infections and for toothaches
  • Used externally as is or mixed with lotions for cuts, burns, bites, rashes, skin infections, pain and inflammation, sore muscles, nail fungus, yeast infections, athletes foot , sunburn and other irritations.
  • Research is being done on propolis treatments for cancer, treatment of tuberculosis, burn treatment, GI issues, herpes, wound treatment, boosting the immune system and many other diseases.

Wow. I didn’t know about propolis, but I can’t wait to try it and find out for myself.

Hive and Honey prices are very reasonable and far less than what you would pay in a pharmacy or grocery store for the same types of products. For just about $30, my husband and I purchased the Propolis Tincture, Honey and Herb Skin Balm, Minty Lemon Grass Lip Balm, Honey Lip Balm and a Honey Perfume Locket. No chemicals, no additives, no preservatives. Not a one. NONE.

hive and honey products

Visit the Hive and Honey BEEpothecary Shop and see their products.

Tell me about you. Do you use honey, pollen or propolis? What for? Have you heard of propolis or it’s health benefits? Would you try it?

Until the next mile marker,

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Sara’s Summer Garden Series: How to Dry Your Hot Peppers

Sara's Summer Garden Series CoverEveryone should know I love hot peppers, hot sauces, spicy food and spices (if you don’t know, just look at my fridge). The hotter the better – there’s nothing I won’t eat. I’ve been known to eat habaneros right off the plant, ghost chilies out of the pot and hot sauce by the spoon full. If the chemicals in spices really help to thin the blood (along with a variety of other health benefits) it’s a wonder why I ever had a blood clot because my blood is probably at least 77% hot sauce on any given day. My garden is basically a pepper garden and this year I have been growing habaneros, chilies, banana peppers, green and red bell peppers and Serrano’s to name a few. And, for as much as I love hot peppers, every year I grow more than enough and often don’t eat or cook with them fast enough before they go bad. This year I wanted to preserve them not only to save more from the yield (I have a ton of habaneros), but to enjoy the taste and benefits of peppers over the long winter months. My method for preserving them is drying them with a food dehydrator, something I had not done before and now I am sharing how to dry your hot peppers.

What will I need?

There are many different methods for drying peppers. To dry yours like I did mine, you will need peppers, a cutting board and knife, a food dehydrator (or an oven), glass jars and labels (or alternative storage system of your choice). So, here’s how to dry your hot peppers!

First, pick your peppers and rinse them in warm water to remove any dirt or insects or spider webs. Then, dry them thoroughly with a towel or cloth, being careful not to damage their skins. Sometimes I let them sit out on the counter to dry while I am deciding what to preserve and what to eat.

Peppers fresh from the garden

Discard any peppers that are soft, mushy, spoiled, have gray/white diseased looking spots or are questionable for eating.

Remove the stems from your peppers. If you’re drying in them in food dehydrator (or oven) slice the peppers in half length-wise (this will allow them to dry faster). Any peppers that are less than an inch in length can be left whole, although I tend to cut all of mine in half to allow for quicker and more complete drying. I leave the seeds in my peppers, but you do not have to. Some of them will fall out during the drying process.

habanero on cutting board

Place the peppers on the dehydrator shelves, leaving space between each half to allow for proper air flow.

serranos on tray clear pic

habaneros and serranos on tray

long chilies on top tray

Cover your peppers and turn the dehydrator on.

putting lid on dehydrator

My dehydrator does not have a temperature setting so all I have to do is plug it in and check to make sure it is heating up, which beings instantly. If your dehydrator has a temperature setting, place it between 135 and 145 degrees. Let the peppers lay in the dehydrator for 8 to 12 hours (mine is always towards the longer end), checking every so often to see if the smaller or thinner pieces have dried out.

top view of peppers on top two trays

When they are dried out, remove them from the dehydrator. Larger pepper pieces may take a few additional hours to dehydrate. If my peppers are taking longer to dry, I sometimes turn them during the process, being careful not to shake all of the seeds out (If some fall out, that is okay).

DRIED chilies

After they are completely dry (test by feeling them), separate them by pepper type and place them in airtight glass jars to prevent moisture from getting to them. I put mine in glass canning jars and label them.

jars of peppers with open lids

lids of peppers

So that is how to dry your hot peppers and here are the answers to some common questions you may have-

How can I be sure they are dry?

Properly dried peppers should be devoid of any should not feel “fleshy” or soft at all, but have a slight flexibility to them. They should not be brown, crumbling, or rock hard. The peppers should be dried evenly all over, slightly brittle (not crispy) and have a toughness to the skin.

What about using my oven?

Place the peppers on a pan or cookie sheet in a single layer and place it in the oven. Set the oven to its lowest temperature setting, which is usually labeled as warm, or just below 150 degrees Fahrenheit (120° to 140° is ideal). To allow moisture to escape, keep the oven door slightly open at least a couple of inches). Every hour, rotate and/or flip the peppers over for even drying. You do not want them to get soft, brown or stuck to the pan where they can cook so if this happens, turn down the temperature of the oven, open the door wider or flip them more. Drying in the oven can take several hours to a few days and can also heat up your kitchen considerably.

What can I do with dried peppers?
  • Keep them whole to use in sauces, chili and other dishes.
  • Crush them in a food processor, blender, or spice mill and create a seasoning.
  • Give them either whole or processed to family and friends as gifts to use in their own recipes
  • Save some of the seeds to replant for a bountiful crop the following year.
Can I rehydrate peppers to cook with them?

To rehydrate the peppers, take them out of their storage containers and place on a medium warm griddle or skillet. Roast for a 3-4 minutes, but do not burn them or they can’t be used. If your peppers are small, you will need to turn them frequently or roast them for less time. After they are roasted, place them in a bowl of hot water and cover for 30 minutes. Remove the peppers from the water and chop them up or blend into a paste as desired. Sample the soaking water to ensure it is not bitter (if it is, discard it) and you can use that water in your paste or in place of any water the recipe calls for to add an extra layer of peppery flavor.

Tell me about you. Did you know how to dry your hot peppers? What is your favorite way to preserve foods? What do you preserve? Do you love hot peppers too? Have you ever dried them or will you now?

Until the next mile marker,

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Weigh-In Wednesday: Week 17

WIW graphic for post
Weigh-In Wednesday Weekly Stats

Weight Watchers Week Number: 17

Lbs Lost this Week: + 1.2

Lbs Lost Total: – 15.4

WW Stars Earned this Week: None

Food of the Week

salad and spaghetti

I made homeade spaghetti and meatballs this week (gluten-free), which was a real treat! I made sure to include a fresh salad with fresh tomatoes and peppers from the garden. I bought a gigantic tub of spinach and baby lettuce leaves so we are having a salad with dinner about every night now. It has also served as lunch for me during the day with some tuna or other vegetables added in.

Activity of the Week

grace at wagfest

While my ankle is healing, it is still tender to the touch, which means I have been easy on it the past three weeks now. We were at Wagfest (a festival for dogs) all day Saturday and while I wasn’t exercising per say, I was moving around and got a lot of fresh air on a short dog walk Saturday and again on Sunday (Monday was National Dog Day in case you missed it). Being outside in nature definitely helped improve my mood, but I am sure a lack of regular physical activity for this much time now has contributed to my gain this week.

Personal Weight Loss Goals (crossed off when reached)

I want to lose…

10 lbs

20 lbs

30 lbs

35 lbs

40 lbs

45 lbs

50 lbs

55 lbs

60 lbs

65 lbs

70 lbs

Personal Fitness Goals (crossed off when reached)

I will…

Run a 5K  Read all about it here.

Run a Mud/Obstacle Race (Pretty Muddy Women’s Mud Run 5K; Columbus, Ohio September 14, 2013)

Run a Quarter Marathon or 10K

Run a Half Marathon

Start Strength Training (again)

Backpack (more)

Start Biking

Reflections

So my 31st birthday is THIS Friday and THIS is happening this weekend in Troy, Ohio. It’s really all I can think about (other than I wish my ankle would heal so I can exercise again and I think I heal slower on blood thinners for some reason). I cannot wait, I cannot wait, I cannot wait, but I will wait! Stay tuned for my post on Friday about why Mumford and Sons means so much to me. Many have asked and now I will tell!

Reader’s Recap

my article

I’m really excited to have had the opportunity this past week to do some writing outside of this blog. Don’t miss my published article in the premier issue of Fit Columbus, a new fitness and healthy lifestyle magazine now available in Columbus, Ohio. You can read my article here. Also, head on over to This Crazy Life of Mine by my fellow blogger Nanci and read my guest post.

Question of the Week

me collage

I’ve been feeling creative (not necessarily good!) with my camera lately. What do you think of weekly posts that are just photographs and maybe a caption? Yay or nay? Should I do that or continue including photos in the Weekly Weigh-In Post? Do you view photograph-only posts on other blogs or breeze by? Tell me your thoughts in the comments!

Until the next mile marker,

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Weigh-In Wednesday: Week 14

WIW graphic for post
Weigh-In Wednesday Weekly Stats

Weight Watchers Week Number: 14

Lbs Lost this Week: – 3.2

Lbs Lost Total: – 12.8

WW Stars Earned this Week: None

Food of the Week

Sea Veggies SpicyI found these in the grocery store – spicy seaweed! They were really good and about 60 calories for the whole pack, which was small enough to put in my bag or purse.

Activity of the Week

I have not run since the 5K two weekends ago. I need to get back on that, but I feel so drained from it. That, and I am learning I will once again have to schedule time to work out and stick to it.

Personal Weight Loss Goals (crossed off when reached)

I want to lose…

10 lbs
20 lbs
30 lbs
35 lbs
40 lbs
45 lbs
50 lbs
55 lbs
60 lbs
65 lbs
70 lbs

Personal Fitness Goals (crossed off when reached)

I will…

Run a 5K  Read all about it here.
Run a Quarter Marathon (Emerald City; Dublin, Ohio; August 25, 2013)
Run a Mud/Obstacle Race (Pretty Muddy Women’s Mud Run 5K; Columbus, Ohio September 14, 2013)
Run a Half Marathon
Start Strength Training (again)
Start Biking

Reflections

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It is all about the food and what I put in my mouth. I did better with food choices this week and it shows in the loss.

Until the next mile marker,

Easy Shredded Crock Pot Chipotle Chicken Tacos

Cover Easy Shredded Crock Pot Chicken Tacos

While I love peppers (the hotter the better), in the past, Chipotle has not been one of my favorite flavors of peppers so I don’t cook with them very often. I also have never made and then shredded meat for a dish. This Easy Shredded Crock Pot Chipotle Chicken Tacos recipe is changing my mind about Chipotle Peppers and shredding meat. It was super easy and so delicious!

In case you didn’t know, a chipotle comes from the Nahuatl (language of the Aztecs) word chilpoctli meaning “smoked chili.” It is a smoke-dried jalapeno (or chili) used primarily in Mexican and Mexican-inspired cuisines, such as Mexican-American and Tex-Mex. This recipe calls for canned Chipotle Peppers in Adobo sauce and you can find them in the Latin aisle of most grocery stores. I get the ones made by Embasa, which look like this:

Chipotle can of peppers

I don’t find Chipotle peppers to be overly spicy, but they can be depending on the amount you use. Chipotles have a rich smoky flavor which forms the basis of flavor for this dish and it is enhanced by the additional smokiness of the Adobo Sauce. If you don’t like any spice, just use the Adobo sauce, but I suggest you use at least one or two whole peppers to add flavor to your meat. By keeping the peppers whole, much of the spice remains in the pepper anyway and you will get wonderful flavor.

This recipe is really simple and can have many variations in how you serve it, but just remember the simplicity is what makes it so good.

What You Will Need
  • 1.5-2 pounds chicken (I used thighs with skin when I made it because that is what we had, but you could use whatever!) Note: You can use more chicken for more servings or leftovers
  • 1 medium to large sliced red onion
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • Ground black peppercorns (to taste)
  • Salt (to taste)
  • 2 canned chipotle peppers (or to taste – I used the whole can) and Adobo Sauce
  • 1 cup diced red onions
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro (dry will not work for this recipe)
  • Corn (or flour) tortillas
How to Make It

Generously season your chicken with the salt and pepper.

Place chicken in a crock pot. Add sliced onion, garlic, chipotles with sauce and enough water to just cover the chicken.

Cover crock pot and cook for 6-8 hours on low or 4 hours on high (until chicken is cooked through and falling off the bone).

Remove chicken from cooking liquid, and set aside until cool enough to handle. You can either choose to keep or remove the skin before shredding, depending on your personal preference. My husband likes the skin so I left it and in my serving, I ate the pieces with no skin to reduce some of my fat intake.

Shred chicken with a fork and place shredded pieces on a serving dish/plate.

Shredded Chicken

Spoon some of the liquid from the crock pot (onions included!) over the shredded chicken.

Pouring sauce on shredded chicken

Remove the peppers from the crock pot and chop, set aside to serve (if you want extra spice on your tacos)

Assemble Your Tacos

Grab a corn or flour tortilla and fill with chicken

Top with diced red onions, chopped chipotles and cilantro

Toppings

Enjoy!

Tacos with white border

This recipe is really limitless in the possibilities so feel free to be creative with toppings and assembly, although the simplicity of it is part of what makes it delicious! The combination of sweet (from the red onions, tortillas), spicy (chipotles) and smoky (Adobo) is perfect just the way it is prepared  – fresh, simple and elegant just the way it is.

Going Paleo? Try making it with Cauliflower Tortillas instead, you can find a great recipe here from We can Begin to Feed.

Until the next mile marker,