Laetiporus – chicken of the woods

I’ve been foraging mushrooms for nearly 2 years. It is so exciting to find tasty treats in the wild.

The other morning I found my first Chicken of the Woods; a highly sought after and desired mushroom. Nearly as prized as chanterelles, morels, porcinis, …

I researched and there are so many suggestions on how to prepare; I eliminated any fried chicken style suggestions, and decided on a teriyaki style marinade.

So first thing was to clean and slice. I then created a marinade with soy, honey, olive oil, sambal, ginger, onion, and garlic. I let that sit, stirring every hour or so for a few hours.

I should have grilled but instead got out a cast iron skillet ( I am still trying to get the char off the pan).

And here you have meal one; white rice, steamed spinach, and teriyaki mushrooms. Oh My Gosh, so good!

I think for lunch today we will have wraps; whole wheat tortillas, spinach, rice, mushrooms, bell peppers…

and oh my gosh don’t even get me started on the medicinal properties


Chicken of the Woods Mushroom Benefits

The most obvious benefit of chicken-of-the-woods is that it’s edible, at least while the fruiting body is young (older fruiting bodies get tough and brittle). Not only is it a good vegetarian chicken substitute, but it’s a low-calorie, low-fat, high-protein food. A 100g serving has only 33 calories, but 14g of protein, and it’s a good source of potassium and Vitamin C[v]. Compare that to a serving of chicken breast (the kind with feathers) of the same size, which has double the protein but five times the calories[vi]. Plus, all mushrooms are cholesterol-free, whereas birds are not.

Chicken-of-the-woods also has a long history in folk medicine in Europe for fighting infections (it has also been powdered and used as snuff)[vii]. Modern research has shown that the mushroom has a large number of biochemical constituents, many of which have medicinal potential—and some are already in use in a variety of products[viii]. The following properties, and others, are either known or suspected for the mushroom:




Hormonal balancing

Dental healthcare


Diabetes treatment

Antimicrobial Properties

Chicken-of-the-woods, or extracts from the mushroom, can suppress the growth of a number of microorganisms, such as gram-positive bacteria, including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Candida (a normally benign yeast that can over-grow and cause several human diseases),  and Aspergillus flavus, a mold that produces a carcinogenic toxin. Substances isolated from the mushroom can also remove denture and dental plaque and are used in commercially-available dry-mouth treatments.

On a less-useful note, one of the bacteria types chicken-of-the-woods can suppress is the one used to ferment both pickled cucumbers and sauerkraut, meaning that the mushroom itself is probably impossible to pickle.

Anti-carcinogenic Properties

Both chicken of the woods or substances extracted from the mushroom have either suppressed the growth of, or actually killed several different cancers, either in mice or in cultured cell lines in vitro. The cancers involved include stomach cancer, leukemia, lung cancer, breast cancer, melanoma, and liver cancer. One of the substances identified as potentially anti-carcinogenic can now be synthetically produced and is being further investigated.

Hormonal Balancing Properties

One substance found within chicken of the woods mushroom promotes the creation of estrogen by the body, and could become part of a treatment for health problems involving low levels of estrogen. Another may be able to undo radiation damage to certain bodily processes involving testosterone and androgen, and may thus be useful for cancer patients who have received radiation therapy.

Diabetes Treatment

A substance found in chicken and certain other polypore mushrooms increases sensitivity to insulin and also improves several other processes related to diabetes, including reducing blood sugar in animals. The substance has promise as a possible treatment for type II diabetes and related problems, such as obesity.

Other Possibilities

There are other intriguing possibilities, too. The mushroom contains a substance believed to act as an anti-inflammatory, as well as melanin, which is both a free radical scavenger and may be involved in melatonin production and pineal gland heath. Chicken-of-the-woods inhibits the creation of cholesterol, possibly because of the presence of some as-yet unidentified substance that has a synergistic effect with lovatatin, a naturally-occurring, cholesterol-lowering drug. Research in mice suggests that a deficiency of  a substance called CoQ9 causes a specific type of brain impairment; chicken is a source of CoQ9. It is interesting to note that almost all these studies involve substances extracted from the mushroom, not the mushroom itself, and that the research did not involve human subjects. Still, the mushroom has possibilities.

Posted in Cooking, Everyday Stuff, Foraging, mushrooms, recipe | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments


Do you remember Tyra Banks’ show, America’s Next Top Model?

We need to all figure out how to smize.

We run around now with masks on, most of our face covered. Those we see can’t really tell our mood, state of mind, or intent.

I find myself smiling at someone and not always understanding their lack of response, until I remember, my big goofy grin is under cover.

Maybe someone has a smizercise video.

  • A neologism coined by supermodel Tyra Banks in 2009 on the television show “America’s Next Top Model,” smizing means smiling with your eyes. It involves bringing life to your eyes while keeping the rest of the face neutral.
Posted in Everyday Stuff | Leave a comment

6 week post op checkup – Spinal Fusion Surgery

Today was my 6 week post op checkup.

4 xrays were done; all the hardware is exactly where is should be, no indications of movement or issues.

I am released to start weaning off the back brace. 

I did a squeal, internally, when she said that. 

I will continue to wear it while on my walkabouts (I can start going back to the woods), and when standing for long periods; cooking, cleaning, etc. But oh my, to not have to wear it when reading, watching tv, working on the puzzles, etc.

I am released to pretty much do whatever I want; gardening, lifting, etc, within the guidelines of what my back/body tells me. 

I will go for 2 pt sessions so they can show me, then evaluate me on a home pt care regimen.

I will go back to Dr office every 3 months for a year for follow up xrays and eval.

Needless to say, Tom and I are beyond thrilled.

And I don’t need a card for xray machines since my hardware won’t trigger them. I mean obviously it will show them, they just won’t set off alarms.

Posted in Everyday Stuff | Tagged | 6 Comments

Traditional Kimchi

Over the years I have made a number of kimchi vegetable dishes; Thank you Suk.

I decided I need to make a traditional kimchi. We are so missing a number of our favorite go out to eat things; Korean, Indian, Sushi…

I decided to follow this recipe; well as much as I could –

I also love the videos and recipes of Maangchi –

Veg prepped and ready
fresh clean cabbage
sauce is ready, I pureed the garlic and ginger with the fish sauce so you don’t see those chunks.
add the cabbage, I added lots of sesame seeds, but forgot tp photo that.
pack in a tupper and keep on counter for 12-24 hours so fermentation starts. Then into fridge for a few weeks.

I have to say though, I could, and did, eat it right now!

So good!

and here is the meal to go with the fresh kimchi – tofu with 2 sauces, steamed eggplant, roasted baby bokchoi, and I will make noodles to go with too, but only because I only have brown rice which just doesn’t seem right.

Posted in Cooking, Everyday Stuff | Tagged , | Leave a comment

24 days post op – Spinal Fusion Surgery

I am an anomaly.

I spend a fair amount of time reading about, and/or watching reports of other peoples Spinal Fusion Surgery results. Knowledge is power, plus I want to know/understand what is expected.

I am doing really really well. I have had almost no pain. My biggest discomfort is caused by the back brace. The stories by others on the internet about their recovery stories is a bit scary, I keep waiting for something to happen.

I am still restricted to no lifting anything above 5lbs, minimal bending and twisting.

Walk 3 times per day for 30 minutes minimum. Which is difficult right now due to the heat. I do a longish walk first thing in the morning, about 7am. We’ve been going to a store; Lowes, Costco, the mall for the mid day walk. And evenings I do around the yard watering, and in the house, round and round, up and down stairs, etc. I am doing more of the cooking now, and helping a bit more with the dishes. Light cleaning too.

Several things occurred during surgery, which took a bit over an hour longer than expected. The surgery was expected to last 4 ish hours, and went over 5. Apparently the compression on the nerves was worse than anticipated, which took longer to free, which caused more blood loss than expected, which caused anemia.

Blood Work prior to surgery, 12 June indicated mt HGB/hemoglobin was 12.9. 25 June was the surgery. 26 June bloodwork put my HGB at 9.0, and 27 June my HGB was 8.8.

As you can imagine getting my stamina back has been a struggle. I am eating lots of stuff with extra iron and calcium; which includes some animal proteins. I have since moved back away from those. My stamina seems to be getting back to normal.

In fact today, in addition to my walk, and watering, I also spent a little time planting some seeds for Fall crops; chard, arugula, squash, etc. Tomorrow I will put in some beet, and turnip seed. Wish I had some kale seed.

Not much else going on. We have a select few people we trust that we visit with. We work the yard and garden. We walk with the dogs. We keep house and make meals.

Hope you are all staying safe.

Posted in Everyday Stuff | Tagged | 1 Comment

14 Days, post op – Spinal Fusion Surgery

Today was my first visit to Surgeon’s office since surgery; 14 days post op.

The strips were removed, the incision has healed remarkably well, and I am doing very well overall. The sutures are inside, and dissolvable.

I have an appt in 4 weeks at which time an xray will happen to ensure that the hardware is where it should be, and is not shifting.

I am released to start gentle bending, twisting, etc. I can lift up to 10 lbs, and I can drive short distances. My only exercise continues to be walking, which in Richmond in July and August is a bi#*h. We may have to resort to going to the mall and walk there.

I have a monstrosity of a back brace that is QUITE uncomfortable, and hot. I can not have it on when bathing, or lying down. When I get home from a walk my midsection is soaked, not comfy at all.

Still not taking any pain meds, which is pretty amazing, although I am taking some acetaminophen for the muscle knots in my back. The muscles have been separated, and are readjusting to proper alignment, so lots of stress on them.

So overall a very good outcome, to date!

Thanks to everyone for the positive vibes sent out through the ethersphere, and for all the well wishes and cards. I am so very fortunate for each and every one of you.

Posted in Everyday Stuff | Tagged | 6 Comments


When I was 12 or 13 my cousin and I decided it would be a good idea to pierce my ears.

We were having a weekend at our grandmothers, and she had gone out so we were home alone! You see where this is going right?

Oh my gosh, it was a horror show. Sewing needle and thread. We tried ice cubes, then snapping clothes pins, then it got down to brute force. The two of us in hysteria, crying, but determined to get the job done. And we did. I, to this day, sport those holes, fairly symmetrically spaced in each lobe.

I wish I could remember when it was that I decided to get my right ear pierced all the way up and around the top. I know it was before 1980. By remembering events, I think it was about 1978.

I wanted a rainbow of Titanium rings to embrace my ear from the attachment curve down to the lobe. Unfortunately the cartilage at the top of my ear was too thick and tough, you wouldn’t believe how many of those ear piercing guns jammed up and had to be pried loose. I wasn’t sophisticated enough back then, nor could I have likely afforded, to go to a tattooist or piercer.

Anyway, this is how it ended –

When I first had the piercings done I wore little diamond studs. Although cute, impractical; Motorcycle helmets, scuba diving…

I switched to the little silver rings you see above. These are a procedure to change, you need tools; 2 pr needle nose pliers, and great stamina. For that reason they haven’t been changed in 30+ years.

I had several surgical procedures without having to remove them, they were just thickly bandaged.

That is until this back surgery. I was told if I didn’t remove them the OR staff would; I wanted to laugh!

So Tom removed them.

After a few days post op I requested that he put them back. Sadly 2 of them broke. Took me a while but I found the little diamond studs and we are in the process of putting them in. But I will search for some little rings with which to replace the studs.

If anyone has a resource let me know; infinity rings, no clasps, armatures, etc. Just circlets!

Posted in Everyday Stuff, piercings | Tagged | 8 Comments

Ah, Youthful Hubris – Spinal Fusion Surgery

In a time of youth and arrogance, read long ago, I did construction tear down.

It was a good gig; set your own hours, pick and choose the jobs, outside…and frequently paid in cash.

During an exterior deck tear down I felt a pop and pain in my back while moving a pile of lumber to the back of the pickup for transport to the dump. I was young, and invincible, read, with great hubris!

That was the beginning of back pain that I have struggled with more than 1/2 my life.

A few years ago it got super bad.  I tried to manage with drugs, ice packs, sclerotherapy, chiropractic, and massage.  All were short lived relief solutions.

A little over a year ago I was referred to a Pain Management Clinic.

That started me on cortisone epidural injections.   They worked like nobody’s business, for a short time.  

When the last epidural had no effect I sought a Neurosurgeon.

This brought me to Thursday, June 25 when I underwent spinal fusion surgery.   L3-L5 were fused, bone was scraped and inserted where needed and now I am in the healing process.

I was released from hospital Sunday June 28.

Tom has gone above and beyond trying to keep friends and family apprised, but some always get left out; for that we both apologize.

Everything is going well, overall.  Most of my discomfort is from muscles and tendons that hadn’t been used properly in a while.  In particular my hip flexors, I hadn’t been able to stand straight for quite a while.    I’ve opted to not use the pain meds, opioids, and am using acetaminophen, but only infrequently.

I am finding the relief from pain to be mind altering. I am, at 7 days post op, walking further than I have been able to in the past year, standing for longer periods of time than pre-surgery…

  • Hubris is the characteristic of excessive confidence or arrogance, which leads a person to believe that he or she may do no wrong. The overwhelming pride caused by hubris is often considered a flaw in character
Posted in medical | Tagged | 10 Comments

Fun with Fermentation

I’ve been playing with fermenting foods.  I’ve done fermented things in the past; sauerkraut, pickles, conserva, sandwich slaw, kombucha, etc.

During these days of quarantine/lockdown/whatever I am spending more time internet surfing.   I have found a couple of very cool fermentation youtube sites.

Based on one video I watched I decided to make a fermented honey garlic.


Beautiful garlic bulbs, unfortunately from the SuperMarket rather than Farmers Market as the Farmers Markets are closed down.


Cleaning and sterilizing the jar and lid!


Now the tedious part, peeling, and cleaning the garlic


et voilà, my finished product.  I used fabulous fresh raw honey from my friends hives in Colorado; plus some local Virginia honey.

I need to find something to weigh down the garlic, you can already see the fermentation bubbles, after just 1 day!


found these handy
fermentation caps on Amazon;


Posted in Cooking, Everyday Stuff | Tagged , | Leave a comment

So, What do you do when on Self-Quarantine?

So what do you do when on Self-Quarantine?

During the day is no problem.

Tom works on projects; Currently he is putting lattice around the bottom of the deck.

For me it is housework, gardening, cooking, and art projects.

Evenings are different; we are usually entertaining, or going to friends, or going out to theatrical or musical events.

So evenings currently find us watching tv and drinking wine!

Is that a bad thing?

Posted in Everyday Stuff | 1 Comment