FIRE CIDER!!!!!!!!!! {With Recipe}

How do you all find your immunity these days? Mine used to feel strong as nails, but since my daughter was born...well, not so much.

Over the last year, my immune system has been in the doldrums of its existence. I have heard other women talk about how they felt so healthy while they are breastfeeding, but I just haven't found this to be true for myself. In fact, last winter was a particularly difficult one for me in the illness department, as I got the flu so bad that I actually got shingles!

Coming into the summer, I began to notice that my digestive system just ain't what it used to be. Turns out, over the last several months, I have become lactose intolerant. But I am skeptical of this....even though I have gotten MAJORLY ill from eating ice cream (not once, but twice.) Rather than throwing in the dairy towel completely, I got it in my head that I could heal my gut.

In my journey to healing my gut, I came across fire cider. This awesome concoction is not only great for your immune system, but it's also said to help heal your gut. And since I am such a fan of Mother's Vinegar, which is the main ingredient, I really wanted to give this home remedy a whirl.

It's said to be an old folk remedy, actually, and it takes up to a month to steep, which is why it's taken me sooo long to write this post (well, okay, maybe not, but we'll go with it). For me, living in a small town, the ingredient list was a little challenging to find, but given the challenges, I think I did pretty well and I am totally stoked on my fire cider. I have given this a couple of whirls now, and so I have been able to tweak my recipe a little. It's obviously best if you can use organic and/or homegrown ingredients, but like I learned with my horseradish root, this isn't always going to be possible. Just do your best.

I wanted to share my recipe, which was adapted from Mommypotamous (who, by the way, is amazing) in the hopes that some of you might be interested in making fire cider as well. After giving my first batch a taste, I have to say it's pretty spicy, but I do enjoy the taste. I mixed in some raw honey to give it that extra BAZINGA. My mom felt it wasn't quite as tasty I did, but she still drank it and said, "I think it did something!" I'll take it!

Notice the wax paper on the lids? For whatever reason, you can't have the metal lids touching your infusion. I don't ask questions when directions like this are given, I just follow. Call me a sheep...baaaaa. Now I don't refrigerate this while it's infusing--and let's talk a moment about that; it's not a fermentation, it's an infusion. These are different processes, or so I'm told. I've not tackled fermentation yet. All you need to know is that vinegar is a heck of a thing, and it's not going to go bad. But you do need to shake it every day. If you forget on your first batch (like I totally did) it'll be okay. More important than the shaking part is the storing it in a cool dark place part. 

After waiting...and waiting...and waiting...for a whole month...then you strain out the solids, add some raw honey and VIOLA! Fire cider! YAY! 

Then you can take it several ways. Add it to dressing. Add it to juice. Add it to tea. Or just do like I do and take a shot with lunch. It's how I roll. I mean, seriously, who has time to drink a whole cup of juice with an 18 month old running around? Not me, that's who. What I can say is that in the first week of taking my cider, I was able to eat smaller amounts of dairy without any ill digestive consequences. So I am going to say I'm impressed so far. 

Anyway, if by now you've read this entire post and are ready to tackle fire cider, here's the recipe. I have to suggest that when you fall in love with your first batch, immediately make a second batch. This way, when you work your way through the first, another will be waiting! Also, wouldn't this make a great gift for Christmas?! 

Fire Cider Recipe 
Time: 30 ish minutes +1 month | Makes: 1.5 pints | Difficulty: Easy

You Will Need:

1/2 cup horseradish root, peeled and diced
1/2 cup organic ginger root, peeled and diced
1 organic lemon, sliced into rings 
1/2 (or up to 1 whole) organic onion 
1 bulb organic garlic, minced (you can use much more, up to 1/2 cup) 
1 tablespoon ground turmeric 
1 sprig fresh organic rosemary 
2 organic jalapeƱos, sliced 
Bragg's vinegar to fill 1 quart 

Glass quart jar with lid 
Wax paper 

Raw honey, to taste. 


Add all your herbs and solid ingredients to the jar. Fill with the vinegar. cover the lid with wax paper and then the lid. Give a little shake to combine.

Store in a cool, dark place, shaking once a day for a month.

You may need to top it off after a day or two, just keep a good eye on it, and make sure the solids are covered by the vinegar.

When the month has finally passed, strain out the solids. Add raw honey to taste (I used about two tablespoons) and shake to combine. Store in the refrigerator and take about a shot glass worth each day, more if you are feeling sick! 

Make This Apple Cake {Happy Fall Y'all}

The Criswell house has been quite busy these days! My husband started a new job at the local high school (which, I have to brag, I am so proud of him), I've been working, and Ruby has been busy growing like a weed...which seems to all manifest in her bangs, which, no, we don't want to cut, thankyouverymuch.

In all the hullaballoo, I haven't really had much to blog. Because my "free time" (hahahaha) has been taken up with canning the end of season goodies like apples and peppers, working, and podcasting with my buddy Paul. If you haven't checked out my podcast, Honestly, please do, I'm pretty proud of it, and we're now in our second season.

And here we are: it's fall! I love fall. It's just a beautiful season with cooler breezes and falling leaves. I feel a sense of energy in the fall season, and I love how I naturally begin cooking differently. YES, I have been cooking, in case you were wondering. It's just that these days, it's a challenge to get a recipe down (with pictures, no less) when I have a tiny person clinging to my legs and yelling "MILK!"

Speaking of the fall season and all it's bounty: APPLES!

After purchasing a box of apples from my favorite local farmer, Paul Parsons, over at Parsons Farm in Dagsboro, well, it seemed logical that I would make a cake. Because my sweet tooth is alive and well (read: it's a son-of-a-bitch monster that is out to kill me.)

So, of course, I went to Pinterest to find one, and what I came up with was THIS RECIPE. I substituted oil for the butter, but otherwise followed it to the letter. And it was so good I was like, ermagerd, I have to share this on my blog.

This cake is *trigger word alert* SO MOIST! It's perfectly sweet, too, without a ton of sugar being added, which I think is a true accomplishment. So if you are looking for a simple and excellent apple cake, this is the best thing that could happen to you all week. Seriously.

Also, if you are hankering for more of my original recipes (or, like me, you haven't quite satisfied your apple sweet tooth), you can check out this good one from the archives for apple dump cake! Either way, I want to wish you happy fall, and a happy apple season!