Join us at the LDS Natural Living Conference Nov. 2!

[pictured: A 1.2 pound tomato from Caleb's 2013 garden]

Hello all! Come join me at:

LDS Natural Living Conference
Saturday, Nov. 2, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Stone Gate Center for the Arts (Grand Ballroom) 886 W. 2600 N. Pleasant Grove, Utah

$89 per person
Healthy light lunch included.

Every participant will go home with more than $50 in gifts, including: water kefir starts, milk kefir starts, natural yeast starts, raw honey, stevia seed, stevia leaf, stevia extract, recipes, & winter garden seeds!

Check-in 8:30 a.m.

Kefir for Natural Health -- An introduction to milk kefir, water kefir, and their health benefits, including starts to take home and complete instructions on homemade kefir as well as store-bought kefirs. Includes recipes. Kefir grains are a lacto-fermentation culture start that you grow at home, turning milking into a yogurt-like drink that is rich in probiotics and protein. Kefir is exceptionally healthy. Linda Smith is an expert on kefir with many years of experience.
Raw Honey for Health -- Did you know that raw honey and raw honeycomb have exceptional abilities to curtail allergies, asthma, and respiratory health problems? Caleb Warnock teaches the difference between raw honey and “pure” honey sold in the grocery store, and how to use raw honey to immediately improve your family’s health.

Microgreens for Protein -- Sunflower seeds are extremely easy to sprout, contain a wealth of protein and vitamins, and best of all, can be grown indoors any time of year for fresh eating in salads, on tacos, or just for snacking! Linda Smith is an expert a sprouting-for-health expert who is passionate that everyone can grow fresh food in their kitchen window!

Sweet Stevia Baking: Stevia is a green leafy herb that is sweeter than sugar but does not contain any sugar at all, and does not spike the glycemic index. After growing stevia in his garden for the past four years, Caleb Warnock has spent the past two years working on stevia baking recipes using low sugar or no processed sugar for brownies, cookies, cake, caramel, and much more! You will go home with two baking recipes, as well as leaf stevia, stevia extract, and instructions for making stevia extract at home.

November Gardening! Caleb Warnock is the author of the national bestselling book Backyard Winter Gardening. He will teach you what you can plant in your backyard right now, without any artificial heat or electricity, for eating all winter long! You will take home seeds that you can plant immediately for fresh eating, despite the bitter temperatures! Full instructions for small-space winter gardening.

Natural Yeast Cookies -- For the first time ever, Melissa Richardson will teach a class on how to make natural yeast cookies which are delicious and supremely healthy. These techniques will satisfy your family’s sweet tooth without guilt for the holiday’s this year! Don’t miss this chance!

Natural Yeast Holiday Baking -- Melissa Richardson is an expert on baking with natural yeast, which has numerous health benefits. She will take you through the basics of natural yeast baking with surprising ideas for holiday treats that are healthy, all-natural, and delicious!

A New Lie About GMO Food (Being Told For Money) has just published a new interview with Ingo Potrykus, who is a co-inventor of golden rice, which is genetically engineered to combat blindness and death in children in poor countries by supplying 60 percent of the daily requirement of Vitamin A in a single serving (basically splicing a beta carotene-producing gene into rice). The interviewer is very kind to Potrykus, as demonstrated by not asking Potrykus any hard questions. The article is an editorial, not a report, based in the online title -- “It’s Wicked to Oppose Genetically Modified Golden Rice” (When you click through to the actual story, the title disingenuously changes to rephrase the online title in the form of a question).

The writer asked Potrykus why Greenpeace and other groups have been so opposed to his project to create a GMO rice. Potrykus replies: “They've realized that it's politically more effective to be radical and not judge things on a case-by-case basis. I've had high-level discussions with Greenpeace over the years, and it becomes clear they cannot tolerate any genetically modified organisms, even those that can be used for the public good. If you encourage them to change their position on golden rice, their response is the same: They're against GMOs. That's the position, and it's very successful.”

Then the interviewer says: “These groups tap into public opposition to GMOs. Why do you think there is such vehement opposition?”

And Potrykus says, “Since the early 1990s, the majority of the media has repeated the mantra that GMOs are highly dangerous for the environment and the consumer. This mantra is fuelled continuously by a well-financed and -organized anti-GMO lobby. One of the cleverest tricks of the anti-GMO movement is to link GMOs so closely to Monsanto and other multinational corporations, because Monsanto has no friends. That strategy guarantees millions of supporters because people are emotionally against multinationals and in favor of organic farming because of the perception that it's run by idealists who protect nature and don't make money from it.”

This is a lie being told for money.

What Potrykus chooses not to say is much more important that what he says. Earlier in the article, the writer points out that there is a project in Uganda and Mozambique that has successfully bred heirloom sweet potatoes to do exactly what this GMO rice does. What no one in the article points out is that heirloom (open-pollinated) food has no owner. Every GMO food does. So the people who developed the improved sweet potato strain have created a food that no one owns -- if you can get some, and you know how to save and grow sweet potatoes (by using slips) then you can have these sweet potatoes, and anyone who wants to can grow them forever -- just like all the heirloom vegetables we have today.

But the GMO rice is owned and patented, and Patrykus will get rich off it, if it is approved in the Philippines (that country is considering it now). And anyone who ever wants to grow the golden rice will have to pay Potrykus’ company, forever. And that is truly wicked.

Not to mention real concerns about the fact that once modified genes are released into nature, humankind cannot ever control them again.

GMO food has one single goal -- to make its owners rich. I know first-hand about the allure. I create vegetable varieties. It has taken years of work to stabilize my two winter lettuces. And I sell the seeds. But once someone has bought the seed from me, they can save it and grow it and have it for the rest of their lives, without ever paying me another dime. They can sell it themselves. They can give it away. (Hopefully they will know what they are doing and know how to keep it pure, which isn’t rocket science but is important.) All of this is as it should be -- because I didn’t invent lettuce. I just created two new and much needed strains for winter growing. I did this hoping to help replace some of the winter varieties that have become extinct because they were carefully and quietly replaced by corporate-owned lettuces.

Owning the food supply is wicked. Improving the food supply is wonderful, but doing it with hybrids or GMOs which are patented and owned will do more to cause starvation and hardship than any other single factor. We give away our ability to feed ourselves for free by forcing farmers and gardeners to pay for seed each year instead of growing their own. This is what Potrykus is not saying in his interview -- sure, he’s created a food that will improve nutrition. But if his rice is approved, he will also force starving nations to pay for his seed forever, just like Monsanto.

There is only one way to support heirloom food, and that is by eating it, whether you grow it yourself and pay for the seed, or you buy it from people who are working hard to keep it from extinction, which has already happened to the majority of heirloom seed. Vote with your mouth, and your money. -Caleb

You can read the whole lie here:

How to Preserve Onions for Winter

My friend Anji Sandage has some great suggestions for taking advantage of the flood of onions each autumn, like we are experiencing now. I asked her to write a guest blog for me, and she obliged :) I've added a few notes too. Here is Anji:

 If you have an abundance of onions -- and with it being fall you just might if you grew onions in your garden, or bought a bunch from a farmer -- you may have more than you can use right away. Onions can be stored fresh, but will start going moldy after about 2 or 3 months if they are not handled properly, and the sweet varieties do not last as long in storage as other varieties do.

To store onions fresh for up to 3 months without them getting moldy or sprouting , here are a few tips:

-Never store onions and potatoes together
-Do not store onions in plastic bags
-Keep onions in a dark, cool, dry storage area, such as a kitchen drawer or a basement storage room.

Onions just left together in a bin will start to go bad after a month or so, even when stored in a dry, cool, dark place, and storing onions in the refrigerator poses other problems, including the transfer of the onion smell to other produce for one, and a loss of flavor and texture after a while is another.

If you keep your onions in a brown paper bag with holes punched in it, they will last up to 3 months. There is a blog post on the Yummy Life blog that has some great tips for storing onions for up to 3 months here:

But, what if you have, say, three or four 30-lb. bags of onions that you just got for really cheap through a farm co-op or a group buy? [note from Caleb: Where I live, 25-lb. bags of onions are on sale right now for $4 and change!] In this case, 3 months may not be long enough. You may want to freeze them. Onions when frozen will last much longer than 3 months, especially if they are vacuum sealed.

To freeze your onions, the first thing you want to do is peel and chop them. Nothing like chopping a 30-lb bag of onions to make you cry – but there are a few things that you can do to minimize the tears

-Don't touch your face after chopping onions until you have washed your hands.
-Don’t breathe the onion fumes though your mouth – as much as you are tempted, it’s better not to hold conversations while chopping onions. I’m not sure why this is, but the waterworks start as soon as I start talking to someone while chopping onions.
-Keep some cold water running close by – If my eyes are stinging, bending close to the faucet with cold water running really seems to help.
-Keep your onion pieces together while chopping to prevent as much of the oils from escaping into the air. The tighter I keep the pieces together, the less tears I seem to have. It works best if I peel the onion, then slice it in half, and then lay each half on its side and cut it in thin slices, hold the slices together, and then cut in thin slices again in the opposite direction. This allows the rings to work for you in that the structure of the onion has done most of the work for you and there is a lot less chopping to do.

[note from Caleb -- you'll have fewer tears from onions if you use a very sharp knife, which keeps the onion juices from splattering.]

Of course, if you have a food processor, that saves you a lot of work, and all you have to do is peel and quarter your onions, fill your food processor with the quartered onions, and then pulse until they are finely chopped. After the onions are chopped, there are a couple of different ways to do this – one involves small vacuum seal bags and a foodsaver. The other involves a greased muffin tin and gallon-sized Ziploc bags. Of course the vacuum sealed onions are going to last the longest, but not everyone has access to a vacuum sealer, and the bags can get expensive.

[note from Caleb - if you don't have a vacuum sealer, there is a self-sufficient answer: the Archimedes Principle. Put your chopped onions in a freezer bag, and lower the bag into water until only the top is not submerged, and seal the bag. This removes all the air.]

I have also found that the juice from the onions tends to get everywhere and even with the vacuum sealer on the moist setting, the bags sometimes will not seal because the onions get too juicy. Freezing the onions in muffin tins allows you to have a bag of ready to use ½ cup measures of onions that are easily accessible, and they still stay good for several months. I used lard from pasture raised pork to grease the muffin tin to make the onions come out easier after they have frozen. I also added a small amount of water into each measure of chopped onions so that the bits would stick together better in a cube (or my kids called them hockey pucks) after freezing.

Once the onions are frozen, just store the frozen onions together in a gallon sized Ziploc bag in your freezer, and when you need an onion, simply toss in one of your frozen ½ cup servings (or more if you like) into your cooking ground beef or into the slow cooker with your roast, or thaw it out beforehand and drain any excess liquid to use the onions in salads or other recipes.

Anji is the mother of 4 children, and a blogger at She is the chapter leader for the Salt Lake County chapter of The Weston traditional foods and herbal remedies, and works as a certified foot zone therapist.

"Choir of Angels": A Christmas Treat

Some of you might know that from Oct. 1 until the end of each year, I read only Christmas novels. I love to get into great Christmas-themed books. Right now I'm reading The Christmas Train by David Baldacci. My friend Michele Mirabile has just published a new short Christmas novel (with my own publisher, co-incidentally). Choir of Angels is at once cozy and tender, reminding us that, like her character, Riley, we know “exactly what Jesus would do” when the warmth of the Christmas Spirit is interrupted by adversity. Riley teaches us that when we let go of pride, a spirit of love will wash over us and settle into our hearts. After all the presents under the tree have been opened, only the gift of love and humble acts of sacrifice bring lasting meaning and happiness. Be prepared to fall in love with Christmas all over again. . . 
I asked Michele to share with us how the story came to be, and an excerpt of the first pages:
"I drew on the emotions and trials of my own life over the past few years. Our oldest daughter passed away in January due to complications of the flu, leaving behind a husband and four sons. Shortly afterward, another daughter announced her first pregnancy. And all the while my husband bravely battled through one complication of his stage-four cancer, and then another.
"These trials of life and death filled us with joy, anger, and untold pain. But the angels of our community reached out with support and love and gave us a whole new perspective of the importance of service, and the gift of sacrifice. It was during this time I came up with the idea for Choir of Angels, the story of how a young boy’s redemption made for the “Best Christmas Pageant Ever.”  
"I always wanted to write a Christmas story, and my mind was constantly sorting through elements and wondering how I could pull them all together for a good read. My father was a band director, and he kept his kids busy with music lessons of one kind or another. I played the piano and flute, and spent years performing in concert and marching bands. So I understood the dedication and elation (the story's main character) Riley felt while competing for the part of Joseph and winning.
"I hope everyone who reads Choir of Angels will come away with a renewed desire to serve. And that their lives may be enhanced with the same degree of joy and satisfaction Riley experienced during Riverwood Elementary School’s best Christmas pageant ever." 

And now, an excerpt from the beginning of Choir of Angels:

Riley loved Christmas as much as any other boy or girl. He loved how his breath 
hung in the crisp December air like little puffs of clouds. He loved the way lights twinkled like tiny stars from the eaves of houses. And he loved the way his heart soared at the sound of Christmas strains. 
As far back as he could remember Riley had been moved by the sounds of 
Christmas. As each melody wafted from the radio or from carolers who strolled from 
door to door, Riley’s soul filled with such bliss it was all he could do to keep his feet on 
the ground. 
But this year, he had a whole new reason for such joy. He’d earned a spot in the 
school choir, and today he was auditioning for the part of Joseph in Riverwood
Elementary School’s annual Christmas pageant.
Even now, the thought sent Riley’s heart soaring to grand new heights. All he 
could think about was how great he’d be as Joseph—and how much everyone would
admire him. 
He’d worked very hard in preparation. He’d rehearsed every word of every song
until he could barely eat or sleep because of the music that rolled through his head. He was so consumed with the pageant and the prospect of playing Joseph he didn’t know 
what he’d do if he didn’t land the part. 
“Come on, Riley. Let’s hustle.”
Derek pushed through the open door and stomped his boots on the mat. He’d been 
Riley’s best friend since Kindergarten, and he came by every morning at the same time to 
pick him up for school. 
Riley jumped at the sound of Derek’s voice. He’d been so lost in his thoughts he hadn’t heard him coming up the walk. 
He scrambled to his feet and snatched his jacket from the back of the chair. The last thing Riley wanted today, or any other day for that matter, was to risk being late. Because late meant trouble. And trouble meant Sam.
“Bye, Mom!”
“Good luck today.” His mother waved from the kitchen. “And don’t forget your 
Riley grabbed his homework and his crutches, and made a beeline for the front door.
Riley had never been able to run like other kids. He wore special shoes with built-up soles and a leg brace for stability. Most of the time, he got around just fine with the help of crutches. But every so often, when his strength just wasn’t up to par, he needed a wheelchair. 
Today, however, was a good day for Riley. He stepped outside into winter’s icy embrace and pulled his zipper to his chin. Draped in a blanket of new-fallen snow, the world had transformed into a wonderland. 

Riley looked left and then right. Catching no sight of Sam or the Wilson twins, he followed Derek down the walkway, shuffling through the powdery wilderness like a boy without a care. He loved the way the snow crunched beneath his boots and clung to his lashes.