Superfoods for Breakfast

This morning I am baking a few loaves of bread for preorders and the loaves are all rising on top of my stove. I wanted to make an omelet but cannot, there is no space on the stovetop! I remembered making some egg cups recently in the oven and thought, “Yes, breakfast!”

Not just any egg cups though…a superfood egg cup breakfast. What’s a superfood breakfast you ask? Well it is kind of like the ole everything-but-the-kitchen-sink casserole with very nutritious ingredients!

My choice of superfoods –

Fresh Chickweed – Stellaria meia – I get excited every single time I see it growing in abundance. This is your go to green for a yumminess addition to any salad, casserole, sandwich, you name it. The taste is a mixture of fresh spinach and fresh snap peas, at least in my opinion. 🙂 Chickweed Key constituents – Vitamin C, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, iron, zinc, coumarins, saponins. More info including recipes Chickweed and Other Good Weeds Growing.

Kale – well because it is kale…vitamin A, C, K, iron, antioxidants, high in fiber, low in calories and low in fat. Add it generously.

Nutritional Yeast – an inactive yeast made from sugarcane and beet molasses. High in B vitamins. This yeast is nutty, reminiscent of parmesan cheese and a fabulous substitute for cheesy flavor in dishes. “A perfect addition to any meal — providing nutrition while saving calories — nutritional yeast is one source of complete protein and vitamins, in particular B-complex vitamins. It contains folates, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, selenium and zinc, making it a great superfood! It’s low in sodium and fat, gluten-free, and doesn’t contain any added sugars or preservatives.” From Dr. AXE.

Wood Ear Mushrooms (Auricularia auricula) – It’s description is exactly as it’s name! Yep it looks like a creepy, brown, jelly-like ear on a log that is rubbery to the touch. Most people are like, eeewwww you eat those? Well if you ever had Chinese Hot and Sour Soup, you too have eaten those. 😀 Hot & Sour soup is a wonderful remedy for colds, sore throats, congestion. Wood ears have been used in the past for sore throats, for the immune system and as a blood tonic. Most wild edible mushrooms are medicinal. This mushroom is best dried, then reconstituted and sliced or chopped, sauteed or added to soups. I had some leftover from making hot and sour soup so I figured I would add it to these egg cups. Gotta use up leftovers!! By the way when you reconstitute they, they magically grow to enormous proportions so note to self.

Turmeric – always gets added to my eggs. Eat your medicine! The amazing natural anti-inflammatory can be eaten daily fresh or dried. For folks with serious arthritis a stronger capsule or tincture of the compound in turmeric, curcurmin may be needed.

Stinging Nettles – just use like parsley, no one will know and you just added a boost of vitamins, iron, protein, magnesium, selenium, chlorophyll, calcium and more! Benefits and spanakopita recipe HERE

Parsley, garlic, onions, black and red pepper too!!!

Recipe for Superfood Egg Cups

  • 6 farm fresh eggs plus splash of half and half
  • 1 Tablespoon Nutritional Yeast
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp. turmeric
  • pinch of sea salt and black pepper
  • pinch of red pepper flakes or more if you like it spicy
  • 1 Tablespoon Stinging Nettles dried or 2 if fresh
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1-2 garlic cloves chopped
  • 2-3 Tablespoons chopped onion
  • wood ear or other mushrooms chopped, I didn’t measure, maybe 2 tablespoons
  • handful fresh kale and chickweed chopped
  • Pecorino romano cheese to taste or any favorite cheese

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First, heavily grease your muffin tin or use liners – I cannot stress this enough, mine stuck even with all that butter. Preheat oven to 350o.

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Whisk eggs and half and half real good. Add dried spices and whisk again.

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Divide fresh veggie mix amongst the muffin tins – probably 10

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Pour the egg mixture over the veggies about 2/3 full. Sprinkle with desired cheese.

 

eggcup5 Bake 18-20 minutes. They will be very puffy when they come out of the oven but then will fall flat. Let cool just a few moments and carefully using an flat narrow spatula, remove to a plate or cooling rack. Eat right away or refrigerate for up to 2 days. Can be frozen for 1 month!

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Another yummy recipe using flowers and weeds,

Calendula Egg Cups

Enjoy your day folks!

Anne-Marie

 

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United We Stand, Divided We Fall

In lieu of all that is around us now, I thought I would chat about this highly divided topic. You know the old saying, “United We Stand, Divided We Fall”. It has been used in songs, speeches, articles but where did it come from?

My thoughts, it came from biblical times, possibly this verse from Matthew 12:25

25 Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand.

Think about that for a moment, whether you are a Christian or not…

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That scripture or the United We Stand saying can relate to more than it implies. How about a home where husband and wife fight all the time, cannot ever agree, will not budge on their opinion. They think they are both correct and will not bend. No bending, no flexiblity…nothing…period! Think if a tree, it is flexible, bends with the wind but when stiff, old, damaged – it will break. BREAK and not ever stand again, gone forever. A marriage that has no bending, no flexiblity will break, be divided and eventually be gone. But if each person will just give a tiny bit, listen without judging, try even though it may be wrong in their eyes, be kind to one another….maybe , just maybe that tree will strengthen, be nourished and grow and stand tall. Like the mighty oak.

tree

Our country is like a bad marriage right this moment. Judging occurred waaaayyyy before our new President took office. Because he was not the norm, different, strong, wasn’t gonna take any crap, crass and not refined in his speeches. BUT WHY do we have to be refined, perfect, with fake smiles, make promises to make others happy? Is that what people want? Maybe they do! People say things they do not mean later. EVERYONE does! No one person is perfect and without fault. Also think about this…people who boast about crazy, eye popping, shock and awe type content usually are seeking recognition. Think about high school, there was always that one guy or two that would say “hey guess what I did with Mary or Susie last night”, really they did nothing, nothing..maybe a kiss, maybe nothing at all but they NEEDED affirmation or a “thatta boy” high five.

ACTIONS speak LOUDER than words. I know I am going all cliche here but trying to make sense of all of this division and un-unity.

I am not proud of my fellow women that marched for many reasons I do not quite understand but yes some women truly marched peacefully, respectfully, for rights that I do believe in, not extremists just normal rights we all stand united on. Yes we need more compassion for others that are different, more education for children with disabilities and not take rights away already in place. But let’s face it, no one is going to take women’s rights away from them. Rules may change I am sure but we are not going back into the dark ages, it just won’t happen. I will admit, I am on the fence on the main issue with women, NOT THE PINK P*** HAT CRAP, but with the abortion law. YES I do think in the case of rape, abuse, danger to the mother, a young teen who acted stupidly and without care and thought to what might happen, should have that option very very early on in pregnancy. ONE TIME! I hear too often of teens, twenty -somethings having multiple abortions, what? WHAT? Multiple!! That is murder with intent, disregard for control, for responsibility or for their body. Don’t hate me. I don’t care if I get flack for this, seriously, I am my own person with my own opinion but still…I stand united with all of my people, my country, my America, my freedom, the laws -to be followed not be abused or defied.

Rules are made to be broken but laws are not. Without law and order we have chaos, chaos leads to mobs that may become angry protestors, possibly then riots break out, people break into stores, businesses, steal and destroy things( never could understand that everytime there is a riot, folks are running down the street with tv ‘s or other electronics??!). Riots lead to divisions and hate and unlike that broken marriage that may just end, could fester and become a war…a war between ourselves. We do not need another civil war in our country. We need Unity, We need Community and remember UNITY is in COMMUNITY. 🙂

So my final thoughts on this subject? How about for one stinking day – we share peace, love, happiness, acceptance, patience, prayer, hugs, kisses, kindness, helpfulness, support, promise, hope, atta girls and smiles. Who is with me????

Let’s start today – you can share the last paragraph on sharing on your fb page or instagram, tag me on it if you wish. Let us start our own movement – sharing the love!!

Love to you my friends –

Anne-Marie

 

 

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Bitter What? Benefits of Bitters

Bitters…have you ever tried them? Do you know what the benefits of bitters are? I am here to tell ya!

Bitter is a flavor that many Americans think is wrong. You hear all the time, “yuck too bitter!”, “needs more sugar” ad stuff like that. We NEED that flavor in our diet. America loves their sweets more than any other country in the world.

If you frequently feel lethargic after meals, bloated, constipated or just crummy in the tummy, you may benefit from taking a tincture of bitters before or after each meal. I find it works great before meals. As soon as you put the tincture on your tongue, it stimulates the salivary glands producing your first digestive juices which is telling your stomach to get ready, here comes the food, start the digestive process!

Not only that, it may help –

  • sugar cravings,
  • regulate blood sugar
  • balance appetite
  • increase absorption of vitamins
  • help the liver

BUT who is it not for???? Someone with IBS with diarrhea – we don’t want to encourage that for goodness sakes.

There are many commercial bitters on the market today with an array of flavor profiles but it is super easy to make. Of course if you don’t want to make it yourself, I can make it for YOU!

There are so many herbs and fruits to choose from when creating your bitters as well as choices of alcohol. I personally prefer to use brandy, it is mild and helps the medicine go down, so to speak.

First choose your bittering agents, one or a combination: Use between 10-50% of total ingredients.

  • Gentian Root – the bitterest of all bitter herbs on the planet. Very strong!!! Don’t go overboard.
  • Dandelion Root and Leaf – a common bitter that is eaten but does well in a tincture
  • sarsaparilla, wormwood, artichoke leaf – I have not tried yet
  • Orange, lemon or grapefruit peels

Flavorings or aromatics to help the flavor profile:

Spices, herbs, fruits:

Cardamom, Cinnamon, Coriander, Coffee, Ginger, Fennel seeds,  Black pepper, Vanilla beans, Cacao nibs(because chocolate goes with everything!)

Chamomile, Hops, Hibiscus, Hawthorn berries, Mints

Citrus fruits and peels, fresh or dried.

The sky is the limit really!

This is my recipe adapted from a recipe from Learning Herbs and from The Kitchn.

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all the ingredients

Grapefruit Bitters

  • 1/2 fresh grapefruit, washed well, cut up into chunks
  • 1 Tablespoon dried dandelion root
  • 1 Tablespoon dried dandelion leaf
  • 1/4 cup dried hawthorn berries
  • 1/4 cup dried hibiscus roselle (sabdariffa)
  • 2 Tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 2 Tablespoons raw cacao nibs
  • 1 Tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • approximately 24 ounce brandy or other liquor

You can find most the the herbs at Bulk Herb Store I like that they are close by in Tennessee and I really love their story, check it out!

Add fruit, herbs, spices to a quart glass canning jar.

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Then pour your brandy to cover completely!

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Mix well and put a lid on it. Keep it on a shelf out of the direct sunlight, where you see it daily to give it a shake.

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Grapefruit bitters and valerian tincture macerating

This is it after 24 hours – beautiful!! BUT you must wait a few weeks until it is ready. Taste it after two weeks but 3 might be better.

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Once it is done, strain it into another jar. You can add a bit of warmed honey to it but not too much, maybe 1/4 cup. You don’t want it too sweet or it won’t do its job. 😉

I will post the finished product when it is ready.

Share with me your recipes or your experience with bitter.

Enjoy your day – get out into nature and take a walk – 

Anne-Marie

 

 

 

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Breakfast of Champions

What is YOUR Breakfast of Champions? Cheerios, Wheaties, donuts or a good well balanced meal? Hopefully you answered the last option. 🙂

My favorite is eggs and kale or a variation of that with whatever I have in the fridge or the pantry. ANYTHING can be put into an egg dish to make a nutritious, satisfying and healthy meal.

Today I made a Kale & Shiitake Omelet. Yum!!! Did you shudder when I said omelet and thought, “oh no, I can’t make an omelet” ? Omelets are easy peasy so long as you have the proper pan and you are patient.

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Before I give you this delicious recipe, how about some herbal goodness on the ingredients!

Healthy Benefits – 

Eggs – one of the most amazing food items on the planet! Farm fresh eggs are best with chickens that are fed an organic feed. Full of protein, antioxidants, B vitamins, maintains healthy thyroid function, GOOD for the heart, selenium( for the brain) and omega -3.

Coconut oil – good fat that increases your HDL – healthy cholesterol

Butter – well, it’s butter!!! Grass fed is best. Sadly I did not have grass fed.

Kale – high in fiber, very high in vitamin A, C, K.K is known to be anti-inflammatory , cancer preventing benefits, low in calories, easy to grow!!

Stinging Nettle – you know I cannot leave this out of anything – hee hee. Nettles are high in iron, protein, vitamin A, calcium, magnesium, fiber, for allergy symptoms, hair growth- strengthener, lots more!!! You can also feed it to your chickens for better egg production.

Shiitakes – well you know these are MY faves. Super high in B vitamins and good source of protein – medicinally:

Antibacterial, anti-candida, antitumor, antiviral, blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, immune enhancer, kidney & liver tonic, sexual potentiator, stress reducer.

Onions and garlic – besides awesome taste, antibacterial, antiviral.

Turmeric – anti-inflammatory, immune boosting, cancer preventer, anticoagulant, diabetes management, antioxidant, helps cholesterol levels.

Cayenne – anti-inflammatory, warming, stimulates circulation.

and cheese – everything tastes yummier with cheese!! 😀

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Kale & Shiitake Omelet Recipe

  • 1/2 – 1 cup diced fresh shiitake mushrooms
  • 1/8-1/4 onion diced
  • 1 cup torn pieces of kale
  • 1/2 garlic clove chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder, organic
  • 1 tsp. dried stinging nettle
  • 1/2 dried cayenne pepper chopped, or more if you like it hotter
  • sea salt and black pepper to taste
  • 2 eggs
  • butter and or coconut oil

Heat up a small, non stick saute pan on medium heat. Add a teaspoon or so of butter or coconut oil or both( that is how I do it). Add your mushrooms and diced onion. Cook for 5-6 minutes, adding more fat as needed. salt and pepper.

2

Add kale, garlic, turmeric, nettles and cayenne – reduce heat to medium low and cook until kale wilts a bit – 2-3 minutes.

3

Whisk eggs together until there is no visible white part. Can add a tiny amount of milk or water.

5

Add a bit more butter to pan, spread veggies evenly out.

4

Now reduce heat to low. Add eggs evenly across the pan. Shake and swirl pan to coat. Cook 2-3 minutes – NO TOUCHING!

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Then using a large spatula, flip – yes I said flip – you can do it!!! If nervous, you can slide it out onto a plate and then invert plate back into pan.

7

8

VOILA!

Sprinkle cheese, whatever you like or not. I used pecorino romano.

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Cook 1 minute more. Fold and slide out onto a plate. Eat and enjoy!!

If you love mushrooms, here is a link for some really good recipes at Mushrooming Together.

Mushroom goodness

Anne-Marie

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Medicinal & Edible Benefits of Hibiscus

The colors of Fall are beautiful with the trees changing into an array of yellow, red, gold, orange and brown. You don’t expect to see many plants producing as you do in the Summer.

hibiscus-close-up

There are some exceptions of course. The beautiful Hibiscus Roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa), with its ruby red calyces and deep burgandy stems. After flowering, the calyx swell with a seed pod at which time we harvest the calyces and peel the red outer covering off to use for teas and jellies and more!

hibiscus-parts

The leaves, flowers and calyces are all edible. The calyces are well known around the world for their gorgeous red color for your teas. In Jamaica they call their drink,  Jamaican Sorrel which is made from the hibiscus calyx along with fresh ginger and sugar. It is delish!!!

I do have one hibiscus plant but it bloomed late so I only have a few calyces to pick BUT I am lucky enough to have some good friends that invited me to the farm they work at to pick all I wanted!

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My Hibiscus plant

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My friend Denise helped me process this giant load of hibiscus. I could not have done it without her. 🙂

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fresh hibiscus peeled from seed pods. Pic Credit*Denise Hardin

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the leftover pods pic credit* Denise Hardin

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All my trays of drying hibiscus!

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My favorite photographer Denise Hardin

Here is an Herb Profile for you about Hibiscus:

Herbal Lesson on Hibiscus

Hibiscus sabdariffa, also known as Roselle or Jamaican Sorrel, is a beautiful tropical plant with reddish green leaves, red stems, red calyces and pale yellow flowers with a red center. It can be grown here in Georgia if started early enough because it flowers in late summer.

Edible uses: The leaves, flowers, calyx are all edible. The red calyx swells up after flowering and then peeled to dry for teas.

To make tea: Use 1 T fresh calyces or 1-2 teaspoons dried per cup of water. Steep 10 minutes. Sweeten.

SYRUP/CORDIAL
This syrup will keep for at least a year. Once opened, it will keep for months if refrigerated. The syrup is delicious over crepes, fresh fruit, custard, ice cream. To make cordial, a very small quantity of syrup can be added to a glass and filled with water. The syrup can also be added to milk to make a delicious drink.
5 cups sugar
4 cups water
4 cups calyces, chopped
Heat the sugar and water in a large saucepan until the sugar is completely dissolved. Add the calyces and bring to the boil. Lower the heat and simmer gently until the volume of liquid is reduced by a third. Remove from the heat and strain. Bottle the syrup while still hot into clean bottles and seal. The strained calyces can be eaten as a dessert with ice cream or custard.

Medicinal Uses:  Good for the cardiovascular system – can help maintain healthy cholesterol and blood pressure levels. Full of antioxidants, high in vitamin C

Cooling to the body and astringent due to the tartness so helpful for fevers, excess fluid, hot flashes, sore throats.

Hibiscus and Ginger Tea : 4 T fresh hibiscus and a few slices fresh ginger to a quart jar, add boiling water, let steep 10-15 minutes. Sweeten with sugar, honey – I used coconut sugar.

www.bellavistanaturals.com – Anne-Marie Bilella  – Bella Vista Farm

Have a beautiful day friends!

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Easy Peasy Lip Scrub Recipe

Have you ever used a lip scrub? Maybe one of those super expensive, high end ones at the department stores?

I found this easy, peasy lip scrub recipe that I wanted to share with ya’ll! No Tricks, just Treats today – Happy Halloween 🎃

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Of course if you don’t want to make it yourself, I will happily make it for you.

Luscious Lip Scrub Recipe

  • 1 Tablespoon Extra virgin organic coconut oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Raw honey
  • 2 Tablespoons pure cane sugar

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Mix it all in a bowl and transfer into small jars.

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You can put it all in one jar if you want to use it as a facial and hand scrub in addition to the lip scrub. To use: place a small amount on lips, rub gently in circular motions, lick up the extra :D. Let sit a minute or two and wipe off with a wet facecloth.

Now kiss someone so they can feel your soft, luscious lips!

Enjoy –

Anne-Marie

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Celebrating 50 Years!

I am celebrating 50 years….born 50 years ago in 1966! Holy moly how did THAT happen?

For the last month, I have been dreading turning 50, thinking I will be an ancient, old lady. 😀 I mean really, 50 – a half-of-a-century. maxine-cartoon-character-clipart-1

This week I had the realization that it is always better to celebrate life, successes-even small, milestones rather than dwell on past mistakes or worry about the future and getting old. If I really think about it…I am only middle age because many of my grandparents, great grand parents and great-great aunts have lived to 90 and beyond.

I thought about what I have accomplished up until this point in my life and there has been a-l-o-t of things, exciting things. I could not find all of my photo albums, you know, before we decided to keep all of our pictures in cyberspace? Here is my little “walk down memory lane and celebrate life”. Hope you enjoy it!

Before we get to the pictures – what else celebrates 50 years this year? My mom told me on an apron she gave me: 50 years of the Country Music Awards, the Monkey’s (yeah you have to be old enough to know who they were) 😉 the first Super Bowl and 50 years of Southern Living Magazine.

cool apron from mom

cool apron from mom

baby-me-and-mom1966

Me and my mom

my 1st birthday

my 1st birthday

all 4 generations

all 4 generations

I was lucky to have my Mom, my Gram and my Nanny – 4 generation of women!

Gram taught me how to crochet when I was 8-9ish

Gram taught me how to crochet when I was 8-9ish

I played the clarinet and then the bass clarinet in junior high

I played the clarinet and then the bass clarinet in junior high

 

Me in the back freezing during cheerleading

Me in the back freezing during cheerleading

I was a cheerleader in high school but not at school – it was nearly impossible to join. This was with a youth association, we had the best time for a couple years!!

Missing a few years of pics, cannot find those photo albums – grrr 😀

I met my love in 1985

I met my love in 1985

Wedding shower with mom and gram

Wedding shower with mom and gram

John & I  and the gang

John & I

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Horses became a big part of my life in Georgia. We rode for pleasure, trails and then competed, became a student of Parelli Natural Horsemanship, attained my own goal of Level 3 Liberty 2010 and Level 2 riding with my current mare Tina(not pictured). The video is here if you care to watch. Freestyle riding video

1996 olympics

1996 olympics

I was lucky to be picked to work at the 96 Olympics in GA as a barn manager. I was totally excited to braid an Olympic horse’s mane!! The pic on the right is in Oympic Village the night before the bombing.

Our beautiful baby

Our beautiful baby

After 9 years of trying to conceive – our miracle baby was born. The biggest celebration of life!

Baby Jonathan's Christening and my whole family came!

Baby Jonathan’s Christening and my whole family came!

Look at that munchkin face – so adorable!!

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halloween, we all loved dressing up

halloween, we all loved dressing up

Trip to Paris - a once in a lifetime trip

Trip to Paris – a once in a lifetime trip

Ladies Homestead Gathering 2011

Ladies Homestead Gathering 2011

I met my tribe – women who love everything homesteading! I have learned so many things from these ladies and the friendships are treasured and to be celebrated!

1st time with a chainsaw

1st time with a chainsaw

The things you learn….

log-pic celebrating our first mushroom logs that WE innoculated together in 2013ish

Happy Faces!

Happy Faces!

Meeting the famous Rosemary Gladstar – just wow!

celebrating my birthday with my new herbie friends! 2014

celebrating my birthday with my new herbie friends! 2014

Celebrating Gram, to be my very last visit with her. Miss her lots.

Celebrating Gram, to be my very last visit with her. Miss her lots.

Jonathan and I

Jonathan and I

my year of learning to be a better herbalist

my year of learning to be a better herbalist

our beautiful farm!

our beautiful farm!

So remember, don’t fret about the past or worry about the future, celebrate your accomplishes, live your dreams and enjoy the moment.

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Love to you all,

Anne-Marie

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