recipes

Making InSense of left over Herb Stems

Written Feb 21, 2012

It's a smoke theme with the Wild Things Round up for February and I was going to share this old school post exposing my giant pregnacious belly making smudge bundles, but decided to talk about something a little more recent instead. Hope you enjoy. I really hate wasting any part of the plant. It is such a gift to sit with a plant and cut from it's bounty that I do my best to make craft of every little bit. We are not composting right now so my need to do this is even more intense. We recently grabbed a bunch of some crazy wild rosemary from my parents property in northern Arizona. After a week or so of drying, I garbled off the leaves and powdered up the stems in my Vitamix to use in an incense.

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Making natural no additive herbal incenses is truly a spiritual experience. Blending and mixing and burning to get the just right smell can be mood altering....or maybe it's all the smoke in the air. Either way, it sets the tone for a pretty fun day. I used to sell some in my etsy shoppe, but it's a pretty time consuming endeavor so now I just blend it for myself now and then.

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One of the most important ingredients in a homemade incense is wood. A good wood will keep it burning longer and hotter without needing the chemical additives or toxic salt peter and charcoal found in commercial sticks. I find most of my burnable scented wood in the most industrious way: these garbled stems of my favorite dried aromatic herbs. Rosemary, thyme, lavender, pine, cypress, and creosote are good options around here, but any woody herb will do. It's really acting as a heat conductor more than anything, so even if it hasn't retained any smell, it will still be helpful.

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You can make sticks and cones by adding a little applesauce or makko powder and water to your blended herbs, but I make incense a pretty casual way, powder up a few favorite herbs and stems and burn them on a non-toxic, salt peter free bamboo charcoal brick. It's super easy to do, all you really need is an extra coffee grinder and you can even do it with your kitchen spices. So save your garbled stems and make some delicious homemade chemical free incense. Just popping in to add a link to this little silly video I made for a friend on how to burn loose incense with these bricks.

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Memories are Magical Incense Rosemary stems Star Anise Citrus peel Lavender

Raw Almond Basil Cookies

almond basil

So it was one of those robot-like mom moments where you scan the kitchen and totally MacGyver up some good shit to save the world and stuff. All at once, we were out of almond milk, the mangos were all wrinkly and about to go off, and breakfast needed to be made.

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What happened next took us into the better part of the day and it was the best kind of blessing after a very long week fully of long tired nights. The almonds were pureed and strained and bottled into milk for the next few days. Then I used the blender that held the last bits of the almond puree as the base for our morning smoothie which included kale and mangos a banana and 2 dates. The strained almond pulp sat on the counter for a little while as we changed a diaper, checked an email, and wiped a few noses. It was then decided that cookies would be the best use for the almond mush so we made two batches, I thought rosemary would be fun, and Sevi of course chose basil. The basil ones were the winners. The other day, I had thought it would be fun to dry the mango seeds and see if I could make something with them. In my googling I had found that you could grow indoor houseplants with the mango pits, so we planted some.

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So in spite of the exhaustion, it was a blessed beautiful morning. Where creativity and a wrinkly old mango sort of set the tone. It doesn't always happen this way. But, for me, this day was like a little jewel of a prize after tending to a houseful of sickies.

Okay recipe time. As always, proceed with caution in regards to my measurements and massive amounts of play.

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Raw-ish Almond Basil Cookies

Soak 1 lb raw almonds overnight. Drain. Blend in power blender with 4 c water. 

Strain through paint bag. Add a healthy spill of homemade vanilla extract (1 tb?) to milk. Store in fridge.

For cookies: mix two pancake pours (maybe 2 tb?) of maple syrup, a fist full of fresh basil chopped small, a pinch of salt, a spill of vanilla (couple of tsp) with your hands into the remaining meal -- it should be dry but not totally unmoist. Grab in small bits and shape into balls then flatten. Dehydrate for freaking ever until they are crispy. Like little nilla wafers. I also made some with rosemary instead of basil. Both delish, but the basil are the winners. The smaller and flatter the quicker they will be done. we made some teeny ones that were done in a few hours, other thicker, bigger ones took all night.

Enjoy!

Love and Besos, Latisha

Evergreen Salted...everything

evergreen salt

evergreen salt

One of the things I promised myself I'd do when I decided to come back to blogging was to share more off the cuff herbcraft. Part of what got me tripped up before was feeling like I had to have these perfect posts, with research about constituents and healing properties and identification tips. But, it felt like writing a paper for college each time. It so wasn't me and the time I spent trying to do it that way took up all my free time for just writing and sharing about the playful side of things. And so, I got bored with it. The idea that I should write that way started to make me a little afraid of sharing anything at all. But then, I realized there are so many folks out there who do those kind of posts really well. Leave it to them. My voice, my version of the craft is what I have to share. You have to take responsibility for doing further research, looking at your individual health, and no amount of ID tips I can give you online will help fully in wildcrafting unless you just get out there with other folks and your books and do the work.

herbal books

herbal books

So what is it exactly, that I do like? I love to inspire a playful relationship with the plants. I've always referred to Herbmother as a gateway drug. I gave up long ago trying to be a teacher of herbalists. But if you're looking for a safe place to dip your toes and lead you down the green-brick road, this is a good start.

Which brings me to today's post. This winter I've chosen to get involved with the trees. Since returning to the pacific northwest, they have been calling me to go deeper. There are so many of them, however, I got overwhelmed in the ID game and tabled it. This year, with a self-designed slower life, I have collected my resources and I have the time to go sit with my sister trees and listen. I've traded my water devotional for tree devotional, just for the season.

The truth is, I still have trouble identifying the trees very specifically, but I've picked up a few things that give me the comfort to work with them in spite of not knowing exactly what species it is. For our final wildcrafting playbook, my Sowing Circles Group is working with evergreens in December. This salt is from the playbook and one of my favorite herbcrafts to make and gift.

spruce tips

spruce tips

Evergreen trees are beautiful wintertime allies. They are immune enhancing and supporting not to mention the comfort they provide with their bright leaves and wonderful smell. Switching up your regular salt for this one will give you little hits of the goodness all season long, which we know is really how to keep ourselves well anyway. I enjoy it on just about everything, though it loves to be rubbed into meat, especially red meat. Sprinkled on top of a hard cooked egg is also a favorite snack. I think this year, I'll try it in my mexican chocolate bark too.

In general you can eat most conifers. Yew is one however, that is toxic and fatal and should be avoided.

Evergreen Salt Collect a handful of evergreen needles. Fir, pine, larch, and spruce all work well. Chop them very fine. Mix in a ratio of 1:1 with a good sea salt. My favorite for this is sel gris. Usually when I make herbal salts I use a ration of 2 herbs to 1 salt. You can try this as well, though I like the extra salt with the evergreen flavor.

At this point your salt is ready to enjoy. However, if you let it sit a few weeks, the flavor only gets better. You can also toast the mixture in a small cast iron pan for a few minutes, stirring constantly to bring out a caramel taste.

evergreen salt

evergreen salt

I'd love to know if you try it out. Love and Besos, Latisha

Here are a few online resources to scope out as well as the books in the picture above. If you've written a blog on conifer play, please share it below. American Conifer Society Edible Conifers Board on Pinterest Conifer Love Blog

HerbMother's Cupboard - Tea

herbmotherscupboard
herbmotherscupboard

HerbMother's Cupboard

HerbMother's Cupboard series I'm starting with the basic herbcrafts from the Folk Foundations Series of HerbCamp. I'll be sharing a few of my favorite recipes and curating some of my old posts starting with the most used medicine in my home: Tea.

Tea is the easiest and safest way to bring a bit of herb'n lifestyle into the casa. More than just medicine, tea is sensory medicine. The flavors, smells, colors and tastes in a brew provide healing long before the contents of the cup are measured. Jars of herbs lined up on your kitchen counter whisper home to anybody who sees them and slowing down to make your tea is the best kind of walking meditation I know. I've talked a lot about tea over the years, so much so that I used to even have a meme celebrating tea and I share my #mondaymugshot on instragam each week. If you're an instagrammer, tag me @herbmother, I'd love to see yours. Below are just a few of my favorite posts as well as a free eBook full of tea recipes. Give yourself the gift of a cool thrifted tea-pot with mismatched cups, invite some friends over to enjoy the sensory healing experience of herbal tea.

Download a free copy of HerbMother's Cupboard - Tea, 14 pages of tea recipes and the stories that inspired them.

Love and tea, Latisha

The Medicine of Making - The Last Wild Mint

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The Christmas Charlie Brown movie has been on repeat in this house ever since we put up the tree. Who's your favorite character? I'm sure there's an app or a personality test out there that you can try to see who you'd be. No matter how many times we've watched it, to be honest, for whatever reason, I'm really struggling to feel the *magic* of the season. This is totally strange for me considering I'm usually one of the folks who starts listening to Holiday music at the beginning of November.

But, I just strained and heated some of the spearmint sugar we made as a family a couple of weeks ago. And as I stirred a bit into my dark rich warmed cacao, I think I may have heard the soft sound of a tiny jingle bell in the distance. Sipping my fragrant drink, I am called back to that evening of spontaneous fun. It was one of the last few sunny days just before fall turned to winter and Drew and I were busy putting the garden to bed. I had intended to harvest some rosemary, but the mint plant was screaming at me from the other end of the yard. As I walked over to her, I noticed her wiry, wild stands, reaching in every direction. Chaotic and tangled, her arms bending out in receiving pose as if asking for a blessing, she mirrored my own feelings of the last few weeks. I listened and removed as much of the noise as she would allow. Trimming her back to a smaller version of herself, above the surface, I could almost feel the energy of her larger self expand beneath the earth.

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At first I thought to just compost her stalks, as fall isn't the best time for harvesting mint. But the voice of an old teacher who always said the best time to harvest a plant is when you are standing in front of it, lingered in my head. And sure enough, as I grabbed the large bundle in my arms, my lungs filled with her healing aroma and I too felt expanded beneath the surface. She came inside with me and I laid her on a table, bringing with me the remaining signs of fall - spiders, and slugs, old seeds, dried out flowers and dead leaves would make their way into a mandala of acknowledgment on the floor surrounding table. Tending to the business of the day, I was sure she would end up simply bundled as decoration and medicine of a knowing kind to be seen and admired as earthen art over the winter....

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But in that odd hour between coming inside and dinner, she called me again to her. My children and my love  this time close by, we all gathered as a family to make various medicines together floating about the kitchen in a dance we'd performed many times before. I began separating the stalks into two piles. Deliberately choosing the most green and fragrant of stalks for medicine of the crafty making kind and saving the chartreuse curly heavily flowered stalks for medicine of the gazing and spirit kind. Stripping the leaves from each stalk one by one, being sure not to take the brown or critter-covered ones, I made a pile for each of my girls. I proceeded with my meditative garble as they crafted medicines with their dad. In the end we turned this:

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into this:

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I've been pouring over old pictures and videos of my wee ones the last few days. Though I know we make an intentional practice of living an herb'n lifestyle, it never feels forced or out of the ordinary. We started with the most simple of things and graduated to a new craft when it felt right. Now almost seven years of cultivating this life, it has just become part of our days, as normal as brushing teeth and doing laundry. Sifting through these old memories, my heart softens into joy and my soul whispers something like "My work here is done." For Drew and I, it was something new to be learned and remembered, for the girls it will be second nature.

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I think, when I really sit down and think about it, that's what this work is all about for me. Though I may struggle with embracing the spirit of the Holidays, working with the plants, I never fail to embrace the spirit of the season. I'm not a radical, really. And I'm not a hardcore activist. My way is a bit more subtle. Quarter turns of the dial, infiltrating from within. Like the Last Wild Witch knows, the tiny aromatic tendrils of the plants do the work. I just offer up a bowl and say, "Have some soup."

Recipe for Fresh Mint (or any other herb) Sugar

Place several layers of herb, sugar, herb, sugar, etc... into a heat proof mason jar. Let sit in a warm place, sunny window or above fire place for two weeks. If sugar is still hard, boil a pot of water, remove from heat. Place glass with lid slightly ajar into hot water and carefully warm it until sugar is dissolved. Strain and enjoy in a cup of rich dark cacao.

Love and Besos, Latisha

Fall Spice Blend

fallspiceblend404

Fall Spice Blend cinnamon orange peel ginger nutmeg rose hips vanilla bean cardamom cloves (go light on the cloves, they can be strong)

I wanted it to be about 2/3 cinnamon and orange peel and the remaining 1/3 a combo of all the rest of the other spices. I started out measuring, but the jar was a little short of full, so I just ended up throwing everything we ground up in. I think next time I'll do a little less cloves and cardamom, but it turned out really delicious in the pie. I sprinkled some in my coffee and quinoa hot cereal the next day and loved it.

Go forth and grind spice!

Love and Besos, Latisha

Coyote Cider

fire cider
fire cider

When the weather starts to get a bit chilly, the warming herbs beg to be made into potions. I can't seem to get enough cinnamon and these spicy friends below are now making their way to the front of the spice rack as well. Fire cider and Four Thieves Vinegars are delicious, easy, potions packed with a punch of healing power. Used regularly, they help keep our immune systems strong and help to make us a less than ideal host for those buggies that start looking for warm places to live in the winter months.

Here is a recipe to the closest proportions I can guess. As always, measuring is not my forte.

Coyote Cider 4 TB grated Horseradish 1 small onion 8 cloves garlic 2-3 thai chilies 1/2 c ginger 4 sprigs rosemary 4 sprigs thyme 2 sprigs oregano

Combine all in a quart size jar, cover with apple cider vinegar. Cover with plastic lid. Let sit for at least two weeks. Strain and use. In warm water with a little honey, this Coyote Tea is sure to clear out whatever's buggin' ya.

fire cider2
fire cider2

Love and Besos, Latisha

Roses and Remembering

I just put up what looks to be the last of the amazing roses from around our property. We've got vinegars, elixirs, and witch hazel toners on the medicine dock just waiting for the perfect time to be used. Since I'm deep in the editing for the opening of my virtual HerbCamps, I thought I'd share one of my most favorite rosey remedies and give you an idea of the kind of thing you'll see if you join us at camp.

...

A Rosy Remembered Remedy

(Originally posted March 2012)

When Leslie of Comfrey Cottages shared she was doing a Remembered Remedy blog party, I knew immediately what I would be sharing. A Rosy Facial Steam.

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Just after my parents split up, when we moved back to my mom's family home, I spent a lot of time with my aunts as she was a newly working single mom. My mom had three sisters and 4 married brothers so it was easy to do. But my Aunt Teresa and I had a special bond the summer I turned 13. She had three boys and I think she got a kick out of spending time doing girly things with me. I never dressed up more, played with my hair more, or was just plain girlish with anyone else before or since....until now.

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I resisted being girly with my little ones for so long. Insisting on pants only and nothing pink, only one doll in the house, absolutely no princess movies. You get the idea. I am not sure what it was, some misinformed idea about what it really means to be feminist. Fear of them not being taken seriously or having the same opportunity as boys. I guess I was a little afraid. But as my girls have gotten older, I can't stand in the way of their own expression. Sevilla loves to wear dresses, her favorite color is certainly pink, and goodness if every single thing she owns must have jewels of some sort on it. Considering how much I kept it out of the house for so long, it made me realize how dogmatic I was being about it all. So I took the lid off. Supported her choices and reflected on what it really means to be a strong woman.

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Like the color of my lipstick is a sign of my declining mind. ~Ani DiFranco

Being a strong woman isn't about wearing pants and shoulder pads to compete with the boys, though there is nothing wrong with this expression. My husband says the biggest trick every played on the feminist is that to be liberated you have to become more like a man. It doesn't have anything to do with loss of curves and gentle touch, emotional expression and lightness of being. The world needs all these things more than ever. Being a strong woman is to be who you are however you are. Celebrating our feminine gestures should be a part of how we are strong. Teaching our girls to love our innate gifts of gathering, loving, balancing, and costuming without shame is the road we are choosing to take. I do believe men and women are different in the way we see and build the world. Celebrating woman as she is becomes the true test of feminism.

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So I can see my girls in all their beauty standing tall in their pink ruffled dress removing their sparkly jeweled sandals just before they climb their beloved paloverde tree. It is with great pleasure I am able to share this remedy with them gifted to me by my beautiful aunt with great pride for our family's feminine gesture and heritage.

Rose Facial Steam Fill a large bowl with fresh roses Add 1/4 c vinegar Cover with steaming hot water

Place a towel over your head and make a tent with the bowl. Breathe in deeply and repeat aloud: "I am a beautiful woman" until the steam cools.

Love and besos, latisha

Garden Herb Kale Chips

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There was a sweet little savory herb garden right out the front door of Sunflower house when we moved in. Rosemary, thyme, mint, oregano, and parsley. All just a few steps away from the kitchen. Yesterday, inspired by this little peace of heaven, I made some kale chips. They were so good. Today, when I went to take a picture of them, feeling all sorry for myself about my good life, this little rosemary Deva showed herself to me.  We did a little dance, had a little chat, and it all washed away. Nature's awesome like that. Always reminding me to lean in close, and offering me a chance to believe in something else.  "Just stop and taste the savory," whispered the divine little purple queen. Well, yes ma'am, I think I will.

Besos, Latisha

rosemary queen.

Garlic Alfredo Garden Herb Kale Chips Soak 2 cups cashews overnight. Blend in high speed blender with 1 cup nutritional yeast, 1/2 c walnuts, juice of 1 lemon, 1.5 cups water, 5-6 sprigs fresh thyme (leaves removed from stem), 2 sprigs fresh rosemary (leaves removed from stem) 2-3 tsp salt, 1 tsp garlic powder.

Tear kale leaves from stem, massage sauce onto chips. Dehydrate until crunchy. Eat the garden. Taste the Savory. Permission granted, no dues required.

Save the Peels! {Citrus Extract}

they're here

I am sharing some citrus love with you. Here's an easy favorite citrus HerbCraft that's sure to delight your senses and get you rolling right into spring.

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Citrus Peel Extract -- the Short Version Supplies: Brandy, citrus peel of choice, mason jar, cheesecloth, decorative bottles Method: Remove as much inner pith from peel as you can. Don't go nuts with it, just most of it will do. Chop peels into small bits. Fill mason jar 1/2 full with peel, add brandy to the top and stir up to ensure it is fully covered. Sit in dark place for as long as you can stand it 2 weeks at least. Strain and use when ready.

I've made this extract, which isn't really an extract actually but it's not exactly a tincture either so we'll just go with it for now, many many ways. So you know I think herbcraft is all about experimentation, and you can't ever really go wrong. But, I'll tell you a few of the things I learned while I was busy in my lab tinkering and you can choose where you'd like to start.

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The Booze Brandy makes a great choice because the sweetness seems to balance out the bitter really well, but it doesn't pull out the essential oils quite as much so the flavor tends to be more mild and much more is needed. Vodka is a better choice if you are wanting a stronger peel flavor, but always gives it that medicinal bite. You could always add maybe 1/4 parts honey to the extract to take the edge off a bit. Rum is actually my liquid of choice for making the most superb extract. Bacardi 151, in fact, has made the most delicious of them all. It seems to have the perfect balance of extraction power and sweetness. And unscientifically, the higher proof probably pulls out more of the goodness from the peels.

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The Peels Literally any citrus will do. Here's a breakdown of what I've tried. Lemon is brilliant, the meyers are the best. Light, sweet, and a bit floral actually. Navels are good for a strong bitter  and big orange flavor. Grapefruits are wildly bitter but the extract makes a great addition to herbal bitters, summer cocktails and waters. Mandarins are by far my favorite. The perfect blend of sweet and bitter. Mandarin in 151 is the drug of choice for us.

The Method You can simply chop fresh and add booze. Really. I promise. But you can also: Dry, then powder in a blender and add booze. This way is harder to strain but the flavor is way different than fresh. You can add equal parts honey before or after straining to turn it into an elixir. You can also, of course, use vinegar for a wicked awesome salad dressing and summer tonic. Generally for good medicine one moon cycle is plenty. But to get a bigger flavor from the oils, the longer the better it seems for these.

How to Use your Citrus Extract You can use it in baking as you would the store bought versions. We like it drizzled over yogurt with a bit of honey. In sparkling water, especially with some chopped basil. To brighten up your tea. A must have for your herbal digestive bitters. ....you get the idea.

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Love and Besos, Latisha

Savory Quinoa Breakfast

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 Savory Quinoa and Greens Breakfast Cereal

Prepare quinoa. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Add 1 cup quinoa. Reduce to simmer. Cover, let stand 11 minutes. When finished fluff quinoa with fork and remove from heat.

Prepare greens Saute 1/2 an onion in a bit of oil or butter until translucent, maybe 7 minutes or so. Chop three kale leaves, removing the ribs, and stir fry 3-4 minutes until vibrant green and a bit soft. Add a splash of water or broth if the veggies seem to stick to the pan. Remove from heat when finished.

Prepare eggs (for my vegan lovebugs, the cereal is quite amazing without the eggs as well) Fill small pan with water. Bring to boil. Add 4 eggs with a spoon, carefully. Boil, uncovered 6 minutes. Remove from pan with spoon and rinse under cold water. Peel.

Prepare Dish Delish Stir greens into quinoa. Add a splash of herbal vinegar or lemon juice, and a double splash of aminos, like Bragg's. Stir in a sprinkle of red pepper flakes and a bit of nutritional yeast. Fill an oatmeal bowl 2/3 full with quinoa greens mixture and add two soft boiled eggs. Mix and mush all with a fork. Add salt to taste. Enjoy.

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Nourishment of this kind seems so much deeper than noting the amount of protein and vitamins in the kale. It goes beyond recent arguments and 'scientific' studies about the nutrient content of organic foods. No. This kind of nourishment feeds us not simply at a cellular level but a soulular level. With every bite, I inhale the freshness of sea air, hear the waves crashing against the dark rocks, exhale as my fears and worries soar on with the silent morning seagull. It's a multi-sensory imprint of an entire experience that deeply fed me. One, that I can relive as soon as any one of those same sensory memories are triggered. The mind doesn't know the difference between real and imagined. So even among the chaos of a morning with two hungry tots arguing over the bowl with the bunnies on it, kettle whistles blowing and butts needing wiped, the moment the first bite hits my tongue, and that taste memory connects to my heart, I am back at Big Sur hearing the waves crash, watching the seagulls soar and a new kind of meditation emerges. The StoryFood Meditation.

This is one of those recipes that my daughters will receive. One that I hope will stay in our family for generations. As well as the story that created it for us. About how mama was brave enough to fill her baskets and relish in a week of self-care. About how important that choice is. About the connections made, and how so many things grew out of it. I crave this connection again to our healing experience. I miss the time of storyfood. You know, Aunt Susan's perfect pie crust, and that amazing soup you made the fall when all the pumpkins went bad. Where what we feed ourselves is more than the nutritional value of its components. It's a connection to an experience, a lifestyle, a story, that doesn't leave us empty and have us running to the cabinet to fill up on nothing. But instead, it's a memory, awakened by our sensory experiences creating a connection to our past by leaving gifts to our future.

Tea for the voracious Creatrix

nettle

 

driving me, pushing boundaries, making me feel a bit uneasy, exploring all my opinions about the extent of my growth and surprise that awaits as the fully expressed vision. It all feels very similar to the emotions surrounding the first months of pregnancy. With all the swirl of new possibility and the ferver of creation, I think it's so easy for us to forget to nourish ourselves deeply in these moments. And clarity is much easier to find when I'm feeling fully fed. So the Mama Tea actually helps quite nicely offering good foodstuffs along with calming, nurturing gentle plant medicine. I suppose, in truth, I've answered my quandary for now. I think I'll just make myself another pot of tea, set out a cup for the muse, and follow her lead for awhile.

Nourishing Tea for the Voracious Creatrix  (previously known as Mama Tea) 1 Part Nettle 1 Part Red Raspberry Leaf 1 Part Oat Tops 1 Part Rose Hips 1 Part Spearmint 1 Part Hibiscus Steep several tablespoons in quart size jar with 1/2 a lemon for several hours or overnight if possible. Strain, enjoy.

This tea incorporates many of the herbs recommended by most folks for nourishing mamas to be, with a little herbmama twist. Generally, the tea is said to strengthen and tone the uterus in order to prepare it for childbirth. But the herbs are so rich in vitamins and minerals it really makes a wonderful cup of calming, strengthening, delicious medicine-food for anyone.  My addition gives the tea a little citrus kick and a thirst quenching flavor for these hot summer days.

Herb'n Fruit Rice Wraps

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Basil Mango Alfalfa Sprout Wrapped in Rice Paper

Ahh, the business and abundance of summer. The abundance of fruit. Of herbs. Of family. Of fun. Not much time for cooking whole meals and keeping them healthy. Here's one of our herb'n kitchen faves. Herbs, greens, fruit, wrapped in rice paper. They make great treats, healthy, sweet, and easy to prepare a day ahead and grab on the go, or bring to a potluck.

Supplies Rice Paper (found in most 'ethnic' aisles in the grocery store) Fruit in season Herbs in season Greens or sprouts of choice

How To: Fill a pie plate with boiled water (we keep a kettle on the stove on low to refill as we need, in order to keep the water warm) Soften the rice paper in the hot water, transfer to a plate, flatten out. Stuff with filings....roll-up.

Some of our Favorite combos are: Mint, cucumber, strawberry Basil, alfalfa sprout, mango Lemon balm, orange, kale Mint, apple, raisin, shredded carrot Rosemary, pear, bean sprout Chive, raspberry, cucumber

Add a delicious cilantro or mint yogurt honey dip and the crowd will go wild.

For the Love of Vinegar

I use rosemary infused vinegar to wash counter-tops and rinse hair and rose vinegar to as my facial astringent and to soothe sunburns. The rest of the vinegars we make end up being mostly for food and experimentation. It's my favorite way to use up extra herbs. We've got loads of em. I like them on salads, beans, reduced then stir-fried with greens, added to a pesto, in a little seltzer water (rose is amazing in summer this way), added to smoothies, soups.....you get the idea.

vinegar

I like raw apple cider vinegar best because it fits my herbmama way criteria, cheap and easy to find just about anywhere. However ume, rice vinegar and wine vinegars can be fun too. They make wonderful gifts, people go nuts over em.

Herbal Vinegars are super easy and fun to make:

  • Stuff a jar about 2/3 full with fresh herbs or fruit or greens or flowers or....and fill to the top with vinegar. Make sure none of the plant material is poking above the vinegar.
  • Cover with a plastic lid and keep in a dark place for at least three weeks. Vinegar will corrode the metal lids so you'll need to get one of the plastic kinds or put a piece of plastic between the glass and the lid. You can use plastic wrap or a zip lock bag.
  • After the three weeks you can strain and enjoy. If you can stand to go about six weeks, the flavor really intensifies. They should keep indefinitely.

The raspberries are just about to ripen up here and I've got 3 bottles of ACV on the ready. But I might wander over to that luscious patch of nettles across the street if they don't hurry!

A Rosy Remembered Remedy

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When Leslie of Comfrey Cottages shared she was doing a Remembered Remedy blog party, I knew immediately what I would be sharing. A Rosy Facial Steam.

Just after my parents split up, when we moved back to my mom's family home, I spent a lot of time with my aunts as she was a newly working single mom. My mom had three sisters and 4 married brothers so it was easy to do. But my Aunt Teresa and I had a special bond the summer I turned 13. She had three boys and I think she got a kick out of spending time doing girly things with me. I never dressed up more, played with my hair more, or was just plain girlish with anyone else before or since....until now.

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I resisted being girly with my little ones for so long. Insisting on pants only and nothing pink, only one doll in the house, absolutely no princess movies. You get the idea. I am not sure what it was, some misinformed idea about what it really means to be feminist. Fear of them not being taken seriously or having the same opportunity as boys. I guess I was a little afraid. But as my girls have gotten older, I can't stand in the way of their own expression. Sevilla loves to wear dresses, her favorite color is certainly pink, and goodness if every single thing she owns must have jewels of some sort on it. Considering how much I kept it out of the house for so long, it made me realize how dogmatic I was being about it all. So I took the lid off. Supported her choices and reflected on what it really means to be a strong woman.

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Like the color of my lipstick is a sign of my declining mind. ~Ani DiFranco

Being a strong woman isn't about wearing pants and shoulder pads to compete with the boys, though there is nothing wrong with this expression. My husband says the biggest trick every played on the feminist is that to be liberated you have to become more like a man. It doesn't have anything to do with loss of curves and gentle touch, emotional expression and lightness of being. The world needs all these things more than ever. Being a strong woman is to be who you are however you are. Celebrating our feminine gestures should be a part of how we are strong. Teaching our girls to love our innate gifts of gathering, loving, balancing, and costuming without shame is the road we are choosing to take. I do believe men and women are different in the way we see and build the world. Celebrating woman as she is becomes the true test of feminism.

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So I can see my girls in all their beauty standing tall in their pink ruffled dress removing their sparkly jeweled sandals just before they climb their beloved paloverde tree. It is with great pleasure I am able to share this remedy with them gifted to me by my beautiful aunt with great pride for our family's feminine gesture and heritage.

Rose Facial Steam Fill a large bowl with fresh roses Add 1/4 c vinegar Cover with steaming hot water

Place a towel over your head and make a tent with the bowl. Breathe in deeply and repeat aloud: "I am a beautiful woman" until the steam cools.

Love and besos, latisha