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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bitter4

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

 

 

 

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!

hibiscus-roselle
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. 🙂

hibiscus-closeup

hibiscus-fresh
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!

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

me-and-country

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!!

me-and-jonathan-baby

 

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.

cute

Love to you all,

Anne-Marie

Calendula & Dandelion Breakfast Egg Cups

Calendula & Dandelion Breakfast Egg Cups…doesn’t that sound delicious? Last night I read a blog post from GatherVictoria.com and she had this recipe I JUST had to try!!! And you know …if you don’t do it right away, you forget all about it and it gets lost somewhere in cyberland.

I did not have every ingredient that she used so I improvised with what was growing right now!

calendula bvf

Calendula (Calendula officinalis) is growing like crazy,  I had plenty to pick from. The recipe only calls for 3 Tablespoons of petals so you can have enough from 5-6 blossoms. Even though calendula is used mainly for medicinal purposes as a vulnerary herb to heal cuts, scrapes, burns and internal wounds, it is also edible and looks beautiful in a salad or in these cute egg cups. Calendula contains antioxidants in the form of flavanoids and carotenoids(beta-carotene converts to Vitamin A).

Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) – the leaves of dandelion are diuretic without removing precious potassium and they are very helpful for the liver removing toxins from the body. The green leaves are bitter, bitter is good, but don’t stress, they won’t be too bitter in this recipe!

Basil – Genovese (Ocimum basilicum) – add a lovely aromatic, sweet yet spicy flavor.

Tarragon (Artemesia dracunculus) – tasty herb that is used in fish dishes, bernaise sauce and it has a anise-like flavoring to it. I LOVE this herb!

Lambsquarters (Chenopodium album) – relative of the beloved quinoa. Otherwise known as Wild Spinach. An excellent substitution for any green that packs a punch of nutrition: Vitamin A, B1,2,3,5,6,  C, protein, iron, manganese, magnesium and more! It does contain oxalic acid so you don’t want to eat a ton of this everyday. Oxalic acid can cause kidney stones if you are prone to these.

muffin1

Gold ole garlic and onions!

This is soooo easy and add anything else you like, be creative, invent a new egg cup!

Recipe for Calendula & Dandelion Breakfast Egg Cups

  • 6 eggs, beaten

  • splash of half and half

  • 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil

  • 2 Tablespoons fresh dandelion leaves, chopped

  • 1 Tablespoon fresh tarragon, chopped

  • 3 Tablespoons fresh lambsquarters, chopped

  • 3 Tablespoons fresh calendula petals

  • 1 garlic clove, chopped

  • 1/4 large onion, chopped

  • pinch himalayan sea salt

  • black pepper to taste

  • 1/3 cup fresh mozzarella crumbled or feta

Wash you fresh eggs and beat them in a bowl with the cream.

muffin2

Saute onion on med low for a few minutes til soft, add the garlic and the greens. Cook just 1-2 minutes.

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Add fresh calendula petals and cheese to eggs. Add the greens mixture, salt and pepper. Mix up.

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Grease a muffin tin – grease it a lot, mine stuck!!!

Pour your mixture into the tin, mine filled 11 cups. Bake in a preheated oven at 350o for 20 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes or so and eat them up!

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You can freeze the leftovers for a fast breakfast, just defrost in the fridge and reheat in the oven(wrap in foil or a covered dish).

They taste wonderful!!!

Enjoy,

muffin6

 

 

 

My Favorite Green – Stinging Nettles!

I love when the Stinging Nettles are coming in!! My favorite green of all time. I am probably the only one that gets excited to see the nettles spreading all over the garden in places that they weren’t before. 😀

stinging nettle
stinging nettle

If you didn’t know, I hide nettles in EVERYTHING I can think of: ranch dressing, soups, eggs, veggies, all spice blends, smoothies, teas…yeah everything. Here is my favorite ranch dressing recipe –

RANCH DRESSING adapted from the Tightwad Gazette

  • 2 Tablespoons dried parsley
  • 2 Tablespoons dried stinging nettle
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. paprika
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper

Mix all of the above into 1 cup of buttermilk and 1 cup of mayonnaise(not the fake stuff either, make sure there are only a few ingredients. Hellmann’s is my fave!) Make 1 pint. Keep in the refrigerator for up to 7-8 days. IF you do not have buttermilk, use regular milk but only 1/2-3/4 cup.

And before we get to the nettle lasagna and more good recipes here is a little something, something on the crazy good benefits of stinging nettle right HERE

Nettle Lasagna? – holy moly – YES!

lasagna

Recipe below:

Spring Lasagna with Asparagus, Peas and Stinging Nettles
A Recipe from TheBittenWord.com, with inspiration from Martha Stewart Living and Gourmet

Serves 6-8

1 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 pounds asparagus, trimmed
1 medium white onion, diced
5 cups loose stinging nettle leaves (see note); baby spinach can be substituted
2 cups fresh or frozen peas
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
4 1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
4 ounces mild goat cheese
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
2 lemons, very thinly sliced
12 no-boil lasagna noodles

Note on preparing stinging nettles: Wearing gloves, place fresh nettles on a cutting board. Separate the leaves from the stalk. You can use the stems and leaves from the top 6 or 8 leaves on each stalk. You can also use the lower leaves, but discard the thicker stems as well as the main stalk, as they will be too thick and reedy to eat.

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare stinging nettle leaves (see note above), and prepare asparagus: Cut the tips off of each asparagus spear and reserve them. Then cut asparagus spears into 1/2-inch pieces and set aside.

In a large saucepan over medium high heat, cook sausage, breaking up pieces, until no longer pink, about 6 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer sausage to paper towel-lined plate.

Into same saucepan, add 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, then the pieces of asparagus spears. Sauté asparagus until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.

Add remaining olive oil to pan, then add diced onion and sauté until just softened and beginning to turn golden brown, about 3 minutes. Add stinging nettle leaves and sauté until wilted and cooked through, about 3 more minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Cover lemon slices with cold water by 3 inches in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer for 7 minutes. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate using a slotted spoon.

Make the roux: Melt butter in a different saucepan over high heat. Stir in flour; cook for 2 minutes. Whisk in milk. Bring to a boil, stirring. Reduce heat. Simmer for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Whisk in Parmesan and goat cheese, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

Spread 1/4 cup of the roux in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish, then top with a layer of noodles. Top with sautéed asparagus, half the sausage, one third of the remaining roux, and another layer of noodles. Top that with sautéed nettles and onions, peas, half the remaining roux, half the lemon slices, the remaining sausage and another layer of noodles. Arrange the remaining lemon slices and the reserved asparagus tips on the top layer, then pour on the remaining roux.

Cover dish with parchment-lined aluminum foil and bake 28 minutes, until top is golden and bubbly. (You may want to finish it under a broiler for 2 minutes.) Let stand 10 minutes.

More amazing nettle recipes!!!

Enjoy the yumminess!!

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. 🙂

calendula bvf

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

How To Make A Calendula Oil Infusion

Don’t you just love the Spring? Actually it will be officially Summer in a couple week – wow! I love Spring because I can start picking flowers and herbs to use in my infusions, tinctures and all the beautiful other creations. One of my absolute favorite flowers is calendula – beautiful, sunny calendula!

meander basket 2

This year I am growing two full raised beds with calendula – only one is producing flowers right now. Did you know the more you pick the blossoms, the more they grow? Really. At first I would have 2-3 to pick, then 5-6, then 10, now I am up to about 30 per day on average.

Most of the blossoms come inside to be laid upside down on a clean tray to dry. I do it this way so they don’t shrivel up into a little unidentifiable nothing!

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So before I get to the recipe and tutorial, here is a little something for your herbal notebook on Calendula!

Calendula (Calendula officinalis)

calendula flower

Calendula is part of the Asteraceae family of plants. It is a ray flower with many petals in orange and yellow with muted green leaves that are about 4-6″ long and rounded at the tip., It is a self seeding annual that can grow to 2′ tall.

Herbal Actions: Vulnerary, Lymphatic, Anti-bacterial, Antiviral, Anti-fungal, Anti-inflammatory and Emmenagogue

Internally, calendula is used for chronic colitis, surgical wounds, ulcers, chronic sores, varicose veins, candida, lymphadema, rinse after tooth extractions, fungal infections.

Externally it is used  for wounds, cuts, rashes, burns, cracked nipples after breast feeding.

Basically Calendula promotes all kinds of wound healing. 🙂

**As always, check with your medical/herbal practitioner before starting any herbal remedy or do more research to make sure it is right for you.**

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Calendula Infused Oil

Take a few cups of calendula blossoms, fresh or dried and add enough coconut and olive oil to cover all the blossoms completely in a crock pot. For 3 cups blossoms, you would need about 4 cups total of oil. I uses half coconut and half olive oil.

Put a thermometer in the pot, do not cover. Heat on low to warm, depending on your personal crock pot since some run very hot. Keep temperature between 110-150o, ideally and definitely below 160o so you don’t get crispy fried calendula!

Heat for about 3 hours, turn off and let cool until you can strain it. Sometimes I will cover the pot with a cooling rack and towel while it is cooling down.

Strain through a muslin or cheesecloth lined mesh strainer into a clean glass bowl. Let this bowl sit covered on your counter overnight and then decant the oil into another bowl or jar. This allows the sediment to go to the bottom of the first bowl(if there is any water or particles) and you will have clear pretty oil.

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Now you can use your oil in herbal recipes or put it in the refrigerator(LABELED) where it will keep for up to a year.

So what will you make? Let me know! Please share this post with your friends – thank you 😀

Enjoy your lovely day,

Anne-Marie

Recap of Mother Earth News Fair

I don’t know what happened to April, it just came and went in the blink of an eye!! So I must apologize to my readers for not blogging much the last two weeks.

Many cool things happened this month. We had the launch of our Herbal CSA with 10 shareholders and the distribution of the Spring Herbal Basket –

Spring CSA

A couple weeks ago, at a last minute decision, I drove to Asheville, NC to the Mother Earth News Fair just to meet Rosemary Gladstar – the most famous, amazing, inspiring herbalist of all!!! Of course I did some of fun stuff too, I was there anyway. 🙂

If you ever get the chance to go to one of these fairs, I think the next one is in Pennsylvania, you MUST! Holy Moly homesteading/farming/herbal classes galore and the shopping – ahhhhhhh!

I met a few folks from Mountain Rose Herbs – here is Josh in the booth. They gave out samples of herbs and lots of stickers!!! I even got a stack of stickers for the Herbal Notebook Class – of course with their permission. 🙂 You can buy some of these sticker on their web site for about a buck – awesome.

fair mrh

The first class was on Herbal Beauty Products – loved it! It was with Sue Goetz, author of Herb Lover’s Spa book. She gave a bunch of fabulous recipes out. Here is one –

Bathing Blend Recipe

Whole organic oats – my guess would be 1/2 cup

Lavender – 1 T

Lemon Verbena – 1 T

Rose Petals – 1-2 T

Add to a muslin bag or a cotton sock. Tie to the faucet and let very hot water run over it. Then add cool water to the temperature you prefer. Sit and enjoy a relaxing soak!

Next I went to a Wild Foods class – yep right on target! The guy’s name was Alan and I can’t for the life of me remember his company…..oh wait No Taste Like Home. Here is his website. I want to go on one of his amazing adventures!

fair wildfood

He gave us a list of the top 100 wild foods – ramps, acorns, ants(hell no!), puffballs, purslane, apples, beautyberry, hawthorn berry, sassafrass leaf….the rest in the link.

here ya go! FOODS

I learned about mushrooms from Mushroom Mountain and purchased some Reishi(Ganoderma) spawn to innoculate some logs. Yippee!

I saw Dr. Christopher’s son from the School of Natural Healing.

fair dr c

David Christopher did an entire talk on comfrey. It was eye opening to learn all the different ways comfrey(Symphytum officinale) can be used and to not be so afraid of the the PA’s(Pyrrolizadine Alkaloids). It is used for bruising, broken bones, slipped discs, sprains, muscle pains, severed fingers etc…He explained that the Symphytum officinale is lowest in PA’s, especially the larger older leaves and how it can be taken internally on a short term basis without negative effects unless someone was also taking many pharmaceuticals in which case could affect the liver. Soooo I think I will use Comfrey internally but probably just for my family until further investigation. 😀

Oh and if you wanted books – mega amounts of homesteading books.

fair books

fair books too

And one I need to save for –

fair book

My HIGHLIGHT of the day? Meeting Rosemary Gladstar of course, and getting one of my books signed!!! Oh my was I ever excited – you can see it in my face! rosemary was as sweet as she looks, so friendly and chatted with me as if she already knew me. Sigh…oh to go study with her one day. I can dream can’t I?

fair rose
Snapped a pic of her talking to someone else
chatting
chatting
signing my book
signing my book
Happy Faces!
Happy Faces!

She even asked if we have met before – ahhhhhhh. Well maybe she saw my face as one of the new contributor on Herbal Living for Mother Earth Living?

Well off to do errands and gardening!

Enjoy the rest of your day, folks,

Anne-Marie

Recipe for Herbal Smoking Blend & Contest!

Last Christmas I gave my brother in law an herbal smoking blend for his pipe and he loved it! So he asked me to make a bigger batch of it this week. If you don’t want to make it yourself, you can always order a blend pre-made from Mountain Rose Herbs.

The herbs in the blend are relaxing, non addictive and legal. 😀 Here is a bit of info for you on each of the herbs that I use and the recipe will follow.

Mullein (Verbascum thapsus) –  this herb is actually healing to the lungs for respiratory problems , clearing out the lungs, encouraging expectoration and soothing to the throat.

Damiana ( Tunera diffusa) –  A relaxing, blends especially well with mullein. It’s a nerve relaxer, mood enhancer and a digestive stimulant. Also known to be an aphrodisiac.

Raspberry Leaf (Rubus idaeus) – A delicious flavor enhancer to any blend. Full of antioxidants.

Marshmallow Leaf (Althaea officinalis) – Is used to help ease sore throats and dry coughs mainly as a tea but soothing in a smoking blend.

Skullcap (Scuttelaria lateriflora) – a comforting herb to relieve nervous tension and relax the body.

Gather all your herbs!
Gather all your herbs!

HERBAL SMOKING BLEND RECIPE

1/4 cup Damiana

1/4 cup Mullein

a bit more than 1/8 cup Raspberry Leaf

1/8 cup Skullcap

1/8 cup Marshmallow Leaf

Mix together and keep in an airtight container. If you like it to be moist add a sprinkle of water before smoking.

Mix well.
Mix well.

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END of Contest!!!!!!

Alright – NOW if you received the newsletter earlier this month, you know about the contest for the copy of Grow It, Heal It book and I added a reminder about it last week. So the first person that tells me on this post, in the comment section the answer to the following question – you will be the winner.

Question – what plant has been mentioned most in all of the posts this month? Sometimes a clue is hidden in pictures. Good Luck!

Anne-Marie

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