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

 

Chickweed And Other Good Weeds Growing!

In a sea of brown outside in the pastures and the garden there still is glimpses of green peeking through the leaves and the pine straw. You know those hardy weeds…really good weeds – CHICKWEED!!

By now, many of you know my favorite garden weed is chickweed. If you didn’t know that…now you do! There are salve orders to fill and I want to make sure all of my oils are infused and in the refrigerator for the winter so I can them readily available. I went out yesterday and collected a good size basket of chickweed.

Chickweed galore!
Chickweed galore!
Chickweed peeking out  - so delicate looking but strong enough to grow through the thick pine straw.
Chickweed peeking out – so delicate looking but strong enough to grow through the thick pine straw.

There were some other cool weather greens popping up like purple dead nettle, creeping charlie, plantain of course and even though I planted yarrow, it grows wild too!

Here are some of the other green things – 🙂

Mints!
Mints!
peppermint (Mentha piperita)
more mints
Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)

I infused my beautiful chickweed into some extra virgin olive oil for about 3.5 hours in the crock pot on low, low, low. After straining it, it was so green and full of chickweed goodness!!! I just have to show you –

A full jar of chickweed oil
A full jar of chickweed oil
Beautiful green chickweed oil!!!
Beautiful green chickweed oil!!!

Now you may be wondering, “What the heck is chickweed used for?” Well here ya go – A Mongraph of Chickweed from me to you!

Chickweed – Stellaria media

old botanical drawing
old botanical drawing

chickweed Stellaria media

Chickweed is found all over gardens, pastures and under some trees- creeping shallow roots provide a living mulch for other garden plants. Easily identifiable once you see, smell and taste it.

Description: Small vibrant, green, pointy, smooth leaves on a low growing stem and when in bloom has extremely tiny white star-like flowers.(Hence the name Stellaria media) Does not tolerate Georgia heat and it usually will disappear around early June and reappear in the fall.

All above ground parts are used and are medicinal and edible. No known toxicity but too much will act as a laxative.

Key constituents – Vitamin C, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, iron, zinc, coumarins, saponins.

Medicinal – for all skin irriations and rashes ESPECIALLY eczema. Emollient and demulcent- very cooling, soothing and moisturizing.

For weight loss(see recipe), aid, eye wash, poultice, heals bleeding in the stomach and bowels, cat hair ball remedy, and I have heard somewhere but could not find back up that it helps with lowering cholesterol.

***oil infusion – take 1 cup of fresh wilted(overnight) chickweed tops and chop. Add to top of double boiler or in a crock pot, cover with approximately 16 ounces of cold pressed olive oil. Heat uncovered for 30-60 minutes on low heat, low simmer(double boiler) or 2-3 hours crockpot(set on low first, then on warm). *IMPORTANT* Use a thermometer to keep the temperature between 100-160o. Do not let it go higher or it will be crispy chickweed.

Juice – blend a handful of chickweed with pineapple juice . Mild diuretic and metabolism-stimulating properties.

Poultice – Mash a handful of fresh chickweed tops into a pulp and blend with a tablespoon or two of water into a thick mash. Fold the mash into a cheesecloth and apply directly to the skin. Leave on for 30 minutes. Repeat until irritation/itchiness subsides.

Food of course!!! Here is the recipe for chickweed pesto.

chickweed profile – download this if you want it.

Oh and don’t let anyone tell you that you can use dried chickweed – it HAS to be fresh. Period.

Hope you have a beautiful day!

Anne-Marie

Spring Garden & Chickweed Recipe

How is your garden doing so far this spring? Here are a few pictures of ours in progress. 🙂

I must go out and take more pics of the tomatoes and blackberries. We have had a crazy cool spring week and nothing seems to be growing much. I am READY for red tomatoes!!!!!

The Blood Root is from our woods. I did not get the flower pictures because the flowers are only around for a very short time, must have missed it. The leaves are so cool looking aren’t they? Nothing else like them!

Blood Root
Blood Root

My friend Andrea gave me a million, ok 40ish garlic plants so I dug a ditch and planted them(really seemed like a million!!). The garlic will not be ready for this year but I do have 5 or 6 that will be ready in a month or so.

40 garlic plants were planted last month
40 garlic plants were planted last month

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Beautiful chickweed ready for salve making!!!

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My stinging nettle is growing like CRAZY!!

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Kale and lettuce growing nicely and brussel sprouts growing in the middle

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Gobo Burdock, Motherwort, Borage and ???

Knockout roses in full bloom
Knockout roses in full bloom

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My little friends peeking out of the endless patch of mint. 🙂

Here is a yummy recipe for you –

Chickweed Pesto

2 cups fresh chickweed

2 cloves garlic

3 T sunflower seeds

1/4 tsp. sea salt

1/2 cup parmesan

1/2 cup olive oil

Add everything to a food processor and let it rip! You can stop it when it is really smooth or leave a bit chunky.

I can eat a whole bowl of this with chips and it keeps well in the fridge for a few days without browning. ENJOY!

 

Anne-Marie

Dandy, Dandy Dandelions!

Dandelion(Taraxacum officinale)

When you mention the word dandelion to people what do you hear?

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“Ahhh that darn weed!!!”, “I spray those” or “why the heck would you want DANDELIONS!?” When you mention them to me, I say “YAY for dandelions, love em!” There are so many wonderful benefits of eating dandelions or using them in medicine.

You can find a fabulous recipe for fried dandelion blossoms HERE.

Since the dandelions bloomed in March, I have made dandelion jelly, tea, used them in salads, fried them, made cookies and muffins. Here are some benefits and then I will share more delicious recipes.

Flowers – high in lecithin, which is vital to cell walls and helpful in preventing hardening of the arteries. Healthy cells make healthy bodies!

Leaves & Roots – High in iron, protein and vitamins A, B, C(50% of the RDA recommended!!!) & D. Incredible digestive aid – stimulates appetite through the bitter reflex and aids in digestion. Use leaves in an herbal infusion as a diuretic to safely rid your body of toxins without stripping it of potassium. Clean that liver! Dandelion also helps the gallbladder by stimulate bile production to help the body break down fats.

 By using this as a diuretic, you increase urination and help to lower high blood pressure.

 

So how many ways can you use dandelions? Let me count the ways…

#1 – Fried flower blossoms

#2 – Dandelion Jelly

#3 – Eat those blossoms right off the plant! 🙂

#4 – Stick a flower or two or three in your hair.

#5  – use a blossom for a mini paint brush

#6 – Make MUFFINS! these are fabulous!!!!

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#7 – Make cookies! Fave recipe from Learning Herbs.

#8 – Dandelion Flower Tea – 1 cup petals, juice of 1/2 lemon and 1 T. honey. Pour about 16 oz. boiling water over petals, cover and steep until cool. Add lemon and honey and serve over ice.

#9 – Dandelion Soup – 3 cups dandelion leaves and young flower buds, 1/2 cup minced wild onion and 1 cup of chicken stock. simmer together. Strain out leaves and buds. Serve hot with toasted bread bits. ***Recipe from Ila Hatter*** I might try this with more broth!

#10 – Add blossoms and or leaves to your salad.

#11 – Make a Dandelion Salve

#11 – Make a hot infusion with the whole plant. Decoct the roots first, simmering 20 minutes then add the leaves and flowers and steep for 20 minutes. Strain and drink. DO not drink this in the evening or you will be visiting the potty all night long!

#12 – Make PESTO  or a DIP – Chopped raw dandelion leaves, scallions and chickweed. Add to sour cream along with salt, pepper, garlic powder and paprika and mix well. Experiment with the amount of spices until you get the flavor you like best!

#13 – Kids craft -Trace a dandelion leaf or dip in paint and make a print on paper.

#14 – add leaves to scrambled eggs

#15 – make a pretty yellow dye with the flowers

#16 – Dandelion Fritters

dandelionfritters

Any other ideas?

Have a Dandy day!

Anne-Marie

 

 

 

Dinner From Wild Foods

 

Have you ever made a meal from wild foods?

Spring is just starting to peek about in our neck of the woods and weeds are growing! The first lovely little flower and wild food to pop out is the dandelions of course. 🙂 Along with henbit, purple dead nettle, chickweed, yellow dock and mint.

Already this month I have made dandelion jelly and wanted to make more but really, I NEED a whole bunch of dandelions to make it worth the hour or so canning jelly. By the garden I was lucky enough to pick 20 or so blossoms, definitely not enough for jelly,….enough for fried dandelion blossoms! Along with the blossoms I picked a few of the leaves, a handful of chickweed and 5-6 baby yellow dock leaves to make a nice, yummy and healthy salad.

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Don’t make the same mistake I made with getting the blossoms ready, pick ’em, wash ’em, dry ’em and batter and fry soon!!! I waited about an hour and my poor little blossoms started to close but not wanting to waste them I battered and fried them up anyway – so tasty. So how did I make them?

FRIED DANDELION BLOSSOMS

As many dandelions as you feel like picking

about 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs

1 egg white

salt and pepper

vegetable oil

Pour some oil in a pot and heat on medium until it is about 350 degrees. Meanwhile wash, dry and cut stems off your blossoms.

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Whip an egg white until a bit frothy, add salt and pepper. Dip blossoms in the egg white and then cover completely with the panko bread crumbs. Drop into hot oil and fry just a minute or two until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.

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Dip in homemade ranch dressing or eat them as is. YUMMO!!!!

I love wild foods and have this amazing cookbook from Ila Hatter – Wildcrafter extraordinaire from Wildcrafting.com

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Enjoy friends!!!

Anne-Marie

 

Recipe for Thieves Formula Spray

Yesterday was quite stormy here in GA so I could not go outside and play in the dirt or ride my horse. 😦 I could have just laid around and watched tv or surf the internet but what did I do? I was productive!

I needed to refill stock on my herbal remedies for the farmer’s market and try out a new recipe. I love new recipes!!! 🙂 My Chickweed Salve is my top seller and I have bottles of previously infused oils in the fridge to save me time and since the chickweed is not going to be around much longer, I must go make some more. The Chickweed Salve is wonderful for dry, irritated skin conditions like rashes, eczema, bites. Dry skin in general and I add a bit of plantain to the recipe as well. Plantain helps with some of the same symptoms but it is fabulous on wrinkles. Yep I use it on my face because I have incredibly dry skin! Now I know I am just dealing with the outside and must fix what is going on in the inside to combat the dry skin thing and I am working on it.

The new product I worked on was Thieves Formula Spray. If you never heard of it, here’s a brief story on Thieves:

Back in the old, old, really old days…in the time of the plague, there were a band of gypsy thieves that would rob the dead folks of their possessions. People noticed that even though they were robbing the ones that just died of the plague, the gypsy thieves NEVER got sick. Why? The reason was, the thieves rubbed essential oils all over their bodies. Now I don’t know if they knew what they were doing or if they just liked the smells but it worked.Whether or not this story is true, the essential oils in this blend are antiseptic, antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-infectious. They will stimulate the immune system, circulation and respiratory system, and help protect against the flu, colds, bronchitis, pneumonia, sore throats, cuts, and more. Modern testing has shown the effectiveness of this blend and studies have found it to have a high kill rate against airborne bacteria.
I have found a few different recipes for the blend or you can buy the blend from Young Living Essential Oils or make your own!

So here is my recipe from the Mountain Rose Herb Blog and if you want to buy essential oils that I used, please visit the link. I receive a small commission from MRH at no cost to you but it helps me continue to make cool stuff!

Mountain Rose Herbs. A herbs, health and harmony c

Thieves Formula Spray

4 drops organic Clove Bud essential oil
3 drops organic Lemon essential oil
2 drops organic Cinnamon Bark essential oil
1-2 drops organic Eucalyptus essential oil
1 drops organic Rosemary essential oil
witch hazel
water

Fill a 1 ounce spray bottle alittle more than halfway with witch hazel(about 2/3s), add the essential oils then fill the rest with water. Shake before using. This size is convenient to carry in your purse, car, camping, hiking gear. It is quite strong and you can easy double or triple depending on the size of the bottle. The original recipe made a 1 ounce jar of just the oil to then dilute as needed. Here it is:

•40 drops organic Clove Bud essential oil
•35 drops organic Lemon essential oil
•20 drops organic Cinnamon Bark essential oil
•15 drops organic Eucalyptus essential oil
•10 drops organic Rosemary essential oil

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I am also posting the recipe for my Chickweed Salve. 🙂

1 cup of infused oil
1/4 cup beeswax
5-7 drops of lemongrass or lavender essential oil

To infuse an oil(I am sorry no pics here), take about 2 cups of freshly wilted chickweed(overnight wilt) and 1/2-1 cup of plantain leaves – place in a crockpot and cover with extra virgin olive oil. You can use other really good oils, that is just my preferred. Do not cover!!! Heat on low with a thermometer in the pot, keeping the temp between 95-120. When it reaches the higher temp, turn it down to warm or it will continue to get hotter. We don’t want crispy herbs!!! I leave it in total, about 2-3 hours until it smells nice and herby. Turn it off and let it cool before straining through cheescloth- squishing out all the good stuff. Keep a cup for the recipe and refrigerate the rest for later.

So heat the one cup of oil in a stainless steel pot or double boiler on low and add the beeswax until all is melted. I test the thickness by using a cold spoon that was in a glass of ice water and drizzle some oil onto the cold spoon. Let it sit a minute and test the hardness. If you like a softer salve, add more oil. Harder salve, add more beeswax.

Next place 5-7 drops of your essential oil into each of two 4-oz jars and pour the hot, chickweed/beeswax mix into each jar. Let cool, then close.

Chickweed Salves and Thieves Sprays
Chickweed Salves and Thieves Sprays

Wildcrafting Wednesday
Wildcrafting Wednesday Featured Blogger Award

Wildcrafting Wednesday-Hygiene Edition
Let me know what ya think. 🙂
Have a great day today!
Anne-Marie

Herb Fairies!!!

Herb-Fairies-Logo

So excited about the new “Herb Fairies for Kids” from Learning Herbs.com!!!! You have got to check out the video with all of the kids learning about herbs and they are having a blast! I wish I had small kids again, anyone wanna lend me some? 🙂

Click the Herb Fairies link for the fun video and below the link, I have a cool activity pack for your children. It is free and downloadable as a pdf. with coloring pages, a free lesson and recipes. Hope you love it as much as I do!

Anne-Marie

Herb Fairies

Herb-Fairies-Activity-Pack
activity-pack-image

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Wildcrafting Wednesday

Weeds,Weeds and More Good Weeds!

What ya got growing outside right now? Weeds, of course! Weeds, weeds, and more good weeds, I should really say. There is a bunch of good stuff out in my garden and pastures right now -Chickweed, Henbit, Purple Dead Nettle, Plantain, Dandelions, Dock and more green stuff that I have yet to identify!

So what can you do with all this? No…..don’t kill it with that crummy weed killer! Poor little weeds. 😦

Here are some ideas of what to do with some of the plants I listed. Ask me for more ideas too! Even though I am posting pictures for you, please make sure 100% you have identified the plant.

Chickweed, ahhh my favorite garden weeds. 🙂

100_1173 chickweed too

Chickweed(Stellaria media), means little star because if you look real close at the plant, you can see a super tiny little white star-like flower on top of the more mature plants. /the leaves are smooth and bright green. Smush a stem and a few leaves between your fingers and feel the slippery liquid, very mucilaginous. Smell the plant, to me it smells and tastes like baby spinach. Very edible and high in vitamin C so eat your weeds! Chickweed is excellent for skin conditions, especially rashes. Very soothing!

Henbit(Lamium amplexicaule) Many people confuse this with dead nettle, Technically it is called Henbit Dead Nettle according to Wikipedia because of the Botanical name(Lamium) but they are two different plants!!! Amplexicaule means “leaves grasping the stem”.

Lamium_amplexicaule_HENBIT

It is a low-growing annual plant growing to 10-25 cm tall, with soft, finely hairy stems. The leaves are opposite, rounded, 2-3 cm diameter, with a lobed margin. The flowers are pink to purple, 1.5-2 cm long. The plant is anti-rheumatic, diaphoretic, excitant, febrifuge, laxative and stimulant. Henbit is also edible in salads or cooked. I have not used Henbit medicinally but when I do, I will post a remedy recipe for you.

Purple Dead Nettle(Lamium pupurea) is called dead nettle because unlike stinging nettle, it has no stingers. It is not even related to stinging nettle. I wonder who comes up with these names. The leaves look kind of like lemon balm leaves but they are hairy or furry as I like to call them. I am a very visual person and associate a bunch of descriptive words with plants to help me remember them. Does anyone else do that? Dead nettle grows right next to henbit but once you see both, you can tell the difference. Henbit has leaves that are more round and scalloped as well as they encircle the stem completely whereas Dead Nettle has scalloped, furry leaves that are more spade shaped, if that makes sense. Don’t worry, the pictures show it better!

Lamium purpureum DEAD NETTLEPretty, isn’t it?

The entire plant is edible raw or cooked, high in fiber and iron. For internal use, purple dead nettle can be made into an infusion or (with sweetener of your choice, preferably honey) a tea, and taken orally to induce sweating or as a diuretic. It has a reputation, historically, as being valuable in flushing out the kidneys and spleen of toxins. For women’s health issues (ie., menstrual problems) it also can be of help taken internally. According to Culpeper, a famous old herbalist, when crushed and used as a poultice applied to the back of the neck, purple dead nettle can stop a nose-bleed. Other purposes for poultices made from the herb are for sciatica, gout, and various muscular and joint pains. *** from examiner.com***

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Week of Learning to Share

This has been a good week of learning! Wednesday, I interned with Diane(The Garden Lady) at her home. She has 88 garden beds – in a subdivision!!!! Some are small and some quite large but there is a little bit of everything from fruit trees to herbs to flowers to veggies all on a small neighborhood lot! Well my job this week was to harvest the turnip greens for their seeds and there were a bunch of aphids that had to be smushed – yuck! Tiny little grey bugs.
I then bundled all the plants to hang and dry so Diane could save all the seeds for future planting.

Thursday night was our Ladies Homestead Gathering and we had a guest, Joanne Roth, speak to us on permaculture – agricultural system: a system of agriculture that uses a mix of trees, bushes, other perennial plants, and livestock to create a self-sustaining ecosystem that yields crops and other products. She explained the purpose of planting taller trees as a wind block and the shorter trees and bushes for shade over the garden for part of the day so that your plants don’t burn up in full sun for more than 6 hours a day. I thought full sun meant ALL DAY, 8-10 hours. I also learned that we are no longer zone 7, this area of Georgia is currently zone 8. That would explain all the crazy hot weather we have like the 85 degree days we had while it was still winter! For you gardeners out there – plant Lavender around your garden to repel deer. Then if you’d like, you can harvest some of your lavender for medicinal purposes of to cook with. I have a wonderful Lemon Lavender cookie recipe that I must find and post for you.

So Saturday came around and I had my Backyard Medicinal Workshop which turned out awesome! We learned about what different plants, weeds, flowers that are either in your backyard or your neighbors that you can either eat or use medicinally. All 8 of us took a nice walk on my property, in the pasture and in the woods to identify the plants. Come to find out, I have 3 peach trees with fruit on them that must have been planted 30+ years ago on the new property out back. I am so excited!!!!! I did not know they were there because for one, in the winter, to me the cherry and peach trees look alike and they were covered up by briars and kudzu but the cows have been working on that.

We finished up the class by making three medicinals to take home. A Lavender Calming Spray to use around your home, office,car or on your hands to sanitize, a Holy Basil Tincture(Holy Basil or Tulsi is an anti stress herb to help your overall health) and a Chickweed and Plantain Salve to sooth skin conditions such as eczema, scrapes, rashes, wrinkles. Can’t wait to teach another class!

Finally today I got to ride my horse, Tina. I felt like Dr. Doolittle because as I went through the back gate, I got on Tina and right behind me was my two dogs and one of the cats. Then up ahead were the two cows but they did not feel like staying with us so they took off running. Beautiful morning!

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