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

 

 

 

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.

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

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

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

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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.

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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

The Secret Meaning of Herbs

I was reading through a beautiful post on the Herbal Academy of New England just now referencing the secret meaning of herbs.

When we look at flowers, we sometimes describe them in how they make us feel or how they look. For example, when I look at a Calendula blossom, I think how sunny this flower is with its bright, cheery disposition and I smile. 🙂

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Looking at the list from secret meanings post it shows that Calendula means Health. I can see that! Think about it a moment….if a plant makes you happy and cheerful with a sunny disposition, how can you NOT stay healthy!!!

Here is the full article shared from the Herbal Academy. Also if you ARE interested in any of their offerings, please click the link on my side bar, I would greatly appreciate it!

Enjoy – Anne-Marie

Below from the Herbal Academy of New England

A Few Herbs and Their Meanings:

Remembering the secret meaning of herbs and including them in our daily lives as points for contemplation and by giving tussie-mussies are beautiful ways to pay tribute to the ties between plants and humans that have existed for thousands of years. As we seek to connect with others and the natural world around us, it’s delightful to indulge in little “secrets” now and then, and let our desire for a little mystery and whimsy out to play in a time-honored tradition with a modern twist. Here are a few more herbs and their meanings to get you started (Laufner, 1993):

  • Angelica: inspiration
  • Basil: love
  • Bay laurel: success
  • Calendula: health
  • Chamomile: comfort
  • Echinacea: capability
  • Fennel: worthy of praise
  • Hops: mirth
  • Hyssop: cleansing
  • Lady’s mantle: comfort
  • Lavender: devotion
  • Lemon balm: sympathy
  • Lilac: joy of youth
  • Lovage: strength
  • Mint: virtue
  • Oregano: joy
  • Parsley: gratitude
  • Rose: love, desire
  • Rosemary: remembrance
  • Sage: wisdom
  • Thyme: courage
  • Vervain: good fortune
  • Violet: loyalty
  • Yarrow: healing

To read the FULL article: click HERE

Day 6: Frugality, Health & Happiness

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“I don’t have much in the way of money or worldly possessions, I’m not beautiful, intelligent or clever, but I’m happy, and I intend to stay that way! I was born happy, I love people, I have a trusting nature, and I’d like everyone else to be happy too. ” ~Anne Frank

Shared from FG: Somewhere deep inside we all know that money can not buy our happiness – yet our actions and lifestyles often communicate a very different story. We imagine, dream, and pursue a happier life for ourselves and our family…often to the neglect of everything that is truly important. “If only we had a bit more money”, we reason quietly.

You see, society has conditioned us to desire wealth — to consume. We’ve been trained to want the newest techno gadget or clothing style that the magazines and TV commercials tells us to want; we want to earn more money because then we’ll have the good life…or so they say.

But none of that stuff will bring us happiness or contentment. I’ve learned that no matter how big our income, no matter how much we have in the bank account, no matter how nice our house, our neighborhood, our cars or toys, absolutely none of it will make us happier…”more” will always be knocking at the door. And the saddest thing is, it could take many of us years and years of pursuing wealth and luxury living before we realize any of this.

Research shows that once an individuals basic needs are met (enough) happiness and creativity flow — any more or any less leads to discontent.

In order to embrace frugal living we must find contentment in the way things are.

So what then will bring us happiness? Seeking those things that help us meet our basic human needs of mind, body, and soul! Beyond that…money and possessions are useless and burdensome.

Tips To Help Us Meet Our Basic Needs

Tip #1 Healthy Mind

De-stress
Too much stress will kill you as it eats away your joy. If we were to seek the root cause of our stress much of it can be associated with with our efforts to succeed. Studies show that the more we have, the more stressed we become. So more money and stuff doesn’t bring us contentment…it’s actually killing us! Tips for reducing stress:

  • Spend cuddle time with your loved ones. Nothing fancy…just spend time with them.
  • Turn the TV off.
  • Learn to enjoy the outdoors.
  • Exercise daily.
  • Disconnect from technology.
  • Add adaptogens into your diet like Holy Basil, Reishi mushrooms – in soup stocks, Ginseng, Rhodiola, Schisandra
  • My Recipe for Blackberry Adaptogenic Smoothie (or use peaches or bluberries)
  • purple smoothie

Positive Thinking
I’m a big proponent of positive thinking. Especially during troubling and financially difficult times, we have to remain positive (realistic, but positive). I have listened to so many of you say to me…happiness is a state of mind. Happy people feel empowered, in control of their lives, and have an optimistic outlook on life; irregardless of the size of their bank account.

Engage Your Creativity
What is that saying about idle hands? Same applies to the mind. When our minds are idle and disengaged we begin to seek fulfillment in external things (stuff). Frugality flows out of a creative mind. You, yes you, possess creativity and special gifts that only you have power over. Discover it!

Tip #2 Healthy Body

Sleep
Get enough of it! When we are tried and run down, we tend to make impulsive decisions. This can translate into increased spending, decreased quality time with family members, friends, or co-workers, and places us suseptable to illness.

Diet
We’ve been talking a lot about this lately. But it’s worth repeating — to have the energy and vitality that is needed for frugal living, we must consume a whole foods diet. This includes:

  • transitioning to a simpler diet
  • eat frugal, real foods
  • stick to seasonal, local produce

Fitness
Exercising is such an important piece to the frugal living puzzle. Not only will you improve your health (which saves you money — i.e. medical bills) but you will reduce your level of stress and in many cases exercise balances your hormones, not to mention the “high” you get from aerobic activity. I’m not suggesting that you go join a gym…in fact I’d rather you not and save your money instead. Find a friend to go walking, weed that garden or check out some of the free workouts from Mr. Shut Up & Train. Additionally, here are a few things that I have found vital to any successful fitness program:

  • exercise with others
  • do something you enjoy (Ride my horse!)
  • baby steps (no need to go couch to marathon)


Tip #3 Healthy Soul

Intimate Relationships
We have an inate human need to be intimate with other human beings. Having supportive friends, a well-rooted marriage, and loving family relationships will fill us with happiness. Prioritizing the development of your relationships will nurture your soul and bring a sense of contentment.

Gratitude
Frugality is enoying and being thankful for what we already have. When we take time daily to express our gratitude for the people and things in our lives, peace and contentment can be ours. Gratitude will reduce our desire for more.

Meditation
It doesn’t matter what your spiritual beliefs are, the truth is every human being possesses a soul. And how does this relate to frugal living you ask? Daily meditation is paramount for our spiritual health. Taking time to focus on something greater than ourselves, has the ability to lift us high above this material world — so that we can gain some proper perspective on what truly is important. As for me and my family (and I speak only for us), we believe — no, we know — that God is our provider. In all things, He is what sustains us. When we lose focus on all that He has given to us…we lose contentment. When we neglect to set aside time to daily meditate on His goodness, we place ourselves in an extremely vulnerable position. No amount of money or material possessions could ever fill the depths of my soul.

Amen sister!

Now It’s Your Turn

Daily Goal:
How has your health and happiness affected your ability to live frugally? Take charge of your mind, body, and soul today!

Go do something outside today and get off the computer!!!!

Have a beautiful day,

Anne-Marie

 

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