Thursday, October 31, 2013

Pickled Peppers - Fun Recipe for Halloween!

Had a blog all written on Witching Herbs and Halloween Herbs and lost it in a computer disaster, so instead I give you a quick recipe to make for gift giving or winter snacking. 


Devilish Pickled Peppers
2 pounds Hungarian or banana peppers*
2 pounds sweet peppers (in strips)*
1 pound cherry peppers*
1 Jalapeno per jar (if desired for hotness)
1 clove garlic per jar
1 thinly sliced red onion for color and added flavor
6 cups vinegar
2 cups water
1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon pickling salt
1 Tablespoon sugar, if desired
*Note: May use a variety of peppers to equal 5 pounds (4 quarts).

Directions: 
Wash peppers. Small peppers may be left whole with two small slits in each pepper. Core and cut large peppers into strips. Pack one clove garlic and a variety of peppers tightly into clean, hot, sterilized jars, leaving 1/2-inch headspace.

Combine vinegar, water, salt and sugar. Bring to boil and reduce to simmer. Pour hot pickling solution over peppers, leaving 1/4-inch headspace.

Remove air bubbles. Readjust headspace to 1/4 inch. Wipe jar rims. Add pre-treated lids and process in boiling water for the time specified for your altitude and jar size. For best flavor, store jars five to six weeks before opening.  Makes 7 to 8 pints


Happy Halloween -- Here is your black cat!


Saturday, October 26, 2013

Fresh Herb Soup - Weekend Recipe

I was out harvesting herbs before the frost this week and decided to make this recipe with what I gathered before drying the rest.  It is a tasty soup with seasonal vegetables and was a great way to use a few fresh herbs. By using fresh herbs you keep the herbs in combination so they do not overpower each other.

Fresh Herb Soup
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
2 Large shallots, minced
2 Small red potatoes, peeled & halved
2 Medium carrots, cut crosswise in 2-inch lengths
1 turnip or rutabaga, diced small
1 1/4 Quarts vegetable stock/broth
2 Cup fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 Cup fresh basil
1/2 Cup fresh cilantro
2 Tablespoons fresh tarragon
1 Tablespoon freshly-squeezed lemon juice
Coarse salt and freshly-ground pepper
Crème fraîche, for serving (optional)


Instructions:
1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Stir in shallots, turn heat down to low, and saute until they have softened. Stir in potatoes and carrots and add stock. Bring mixture to a boil, and then cover, turn heat down to low, and simmer for about 10 minutes, until the carrots and potatoes are tender.

2. Remove from heat. Stir in parsley, basil, cilantro and tarragon. Let cool for about 10 minutes. Puree soup in a blender; you’ll probably need to work in batches. Or you can use an immersion blender if you have one.  Pour the pureed soup back into the saucepan. Stir in lemon juice and season with salt and pepper to taste.

3. Transfer soup to serving bowls. Top with a dollop of crème fraîche, if desired.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Saffron - Herb of the Week

Last night at the Garden Club meeting someone asked me about Saffron.  I explained that it was a spice rather than an herb, but later I began to think of my own definition for things herbal and decided I might have been hasty.  Just because it is expensive does not mean it is a spice.  Spices are generally the fruit or the bark by definition and Herbs are the leaves and flowers, so since saffron comes from the flower of a crocus, I think that makes it an herb.

UPDATE: New recipes added 10/25 - see below

So as a result this week's Herb of the Week is 
                               Saffron crocus Crocus sativas.

The Greeks called it krokos and the Romans korkum. Saffron actually originates from the Arabic word for yellow or zafran.   Although the stamen are red, Saffron actually makes a wonderful yellow dye.  Since the saffron is only the flower pistils that are harvested and dried it will take 4000 flowers to produce just one ounse of saffron.  As a result the dye made from it was used for the clothing of only high ranking individuals.

The flower originated in Persia which is now Iran and spread to northern India and the Mediterranean. Following the crusades it became popular in Europe and its value as a trade commodity was increased.

In Gerard's "The Herball" of 1597 he claimed that "For those at death's doore and almost past breathing, saffron brigheth breath again."

Saffron Crocus is a perennial with linear leaves growing from a rounded corm (or bulb.)  The flowers are purple with darker purple veins and yellow antlers and appear in the fall.  You extract the saffron spice from the three-branched red pistils.

The saffron crocus blooms in the autumn, producing 1 to 5 rich lilac flowers with dark purple veins, held wide open above inconspicuous foliage.  To grow saffron crocus you need a well-drained soil, sun and warm summers in order for it to prosper and flower.  The most interesting part of saffron is that the plants are sterile so only an offset will produce a plant, so you need to replace the corms each year to have a continous crop in your garden.

Plant 3 to 4 inches deep in late summer. Likes full sun and gritty, poor to moderately fertile, well-drained soil. Prefers hot summers. Under glass, provide full light with gritty soil and ample water during growth. Keep dry during summer dormancy.

USES
saffron threads

It is widely used as a flavoring and colorant in Middle Eastern and northern Indian cookery, especially in rice dishes and a classic paella.  It is also used in fish soups including bouillabaisse from France.  In Cornwall, England is it used to make saffron cakes and loaves.

Saffron is known to have digestive properties, it can improve circulation and helps to reduce high blood pressure.  It is the richest known source of Vitamin B2.  Externally it is applied as a paste for inflamed skin and sores. Research suggests the spice can boost your mood, by having antidepressant effects and helping to alleviate PMS symptoms. Researchers believe that the spice works by “the same mechanism as Prozac,” helping to make the feel-good neurotransmitter serotonin more available to the brain.

While saffron may be the world’s most expensive spice, fortunately a little goes a long way. It’s used sparingly to add golden-yellow color and a slightly floral flavor to dishes in many countries. If you are not going to grow your own, find it in the spice section of supermarkets, gourmet shops or at tienda.com. It will keep in an airtight container for several years.



RECIPES


  • Iberian Chicken Ragu
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 ounces linguisa (Portuguese-style sausage) or Spanish-style chorizo, diced
  • 3 cups chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
  • 2 tablespoons Paprika (Spanish if you can get it)
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 3 cups white wine
  • 4 cups diced seeded tomatoes or canned diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 generous pinch saffron threads
Directions:
  1. Heat oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat and add sausage. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the edges begin to color, 5 to 10 minutes. Add onion and garlic. Cover and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion is quite soft.
  2. Sprinkle Paprika over the onion mixture; stir to coat. Cook for 1 minute. Add chicken, salt and pepper; stir to coat. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Add wine and increase heat to high; cook until the wine is reduced by about a third, about 8 minutes.
  3. Stir in tomatoes, broth, parsley and saffron; reduce heat to maintain a simmer and cook, uncovered, until the chicken is tender and the sauce is beginning to thicken, 1 to 1 1/4 hours. Season with more pepper, if desired.

Winter Squash Risotto
  • 5 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth, or vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 medium shallots, thinly sliced
  • 3 cups chopped peeled butternut, hubbard, red kuri or kabocha squash (1/2-inch pieces)
  • 2 cups shiitake mushroom caps, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon crumbled saffron threads, (optional)
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine, or dry vermouth
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Directions:
  1. Place broth in a medium saucepan; bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat so the broth remains steaming, but is not simmering.
  2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots; cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in squash and mushrooms; cook, stirring often, until the mushrooms give off their liquid, about 5 minutes. Add thyme, salt, pepper and saffron (if using); cook for 30 seconds. Add rice; stir until translucent, about 1 minute. Add wine (or vermouth) and cook, stirring, until almost absorbed by the rice, about 1 minute.
  3. Stir in 1/2 cup of the hot broth; reduce heat to a gentle simmer and cook, stirring constantly, until the liquid has been absorbed. Continue adding the broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring after each addition until all the liquid has been absorbed, until the rice is tender and creamy, 30 to 40 minutes total. (You may have some broth left.) Remove from the heat and stir in cheese.

Scallops in Saffron - Tarragon Broth
  • 1 pound large dry sea scallops
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced onion
  • 2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 8 ounces baby red potatoes, cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
  • 1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 5-ounce can tomato juice, (scant 3/4 cup)
  • 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads, (see Note)
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon
  • Directions:
  1. Pat scallops dry and sprinkle both sides with salt. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the scallops and cook until light brown, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate. Add onion, celery and garlic to the pan and cook, stirring, until just beginning to soften, about 2 minutes. Add wine and simmer for 1 minute. Stir in potatoes, broth, tomatoes, tomato juice and saffron and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook until the potatoes are tender and the tomatoes are beginning to break down, 12 to 14 minutes.
  2. Return the scallops and any accumulated juices to the pan along with tarragon. Cover and cook until the scallops are just cooked through, 2 to 4 minutes.

All recipes above courtesy of Eating Well.


Last night I could not find my saffron recipes.  I looked everywhere, so I found a few on Eating Well that I was familiar with and posted those.  Today I finally found the recipes I was looking for.  First is a great Thai influenced Saffron Rice and the other is a Saffron Cake just like the kind you serve in December for St. Lucy’s Day.

Saffron Rice
2 cups white basmati rice (Note: brown rice is not successful with this recipe)
3 1/2 cups good-tasting chicken or vegetable stock
1.5 to 2 Tbsp. fish sauce  OR 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp. saffron threads
optional: 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. dried crushed chili
squeeze of lemon or lime juice

Directions:
Pour stock into a medium-size pot (you will also need a tight-fitting lid). Place pot on the stove over high heat. While stock is coming to a boil, add the turmeric, saffron, chili, and a squeeze of lemon or lime juice. Stir well. Add the rice, plus 1 1/2 Tbls. fish sauce (or 1/4 tsp. salt) and stir. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low (just above minimum) and cover tightly with a lid. Cook 12-15 minutes, or until liquid has been absorbed by the rice. Tip: Insert a fork or knife straight down into the pot and push the rice aside. If you see liquid, it still needs more time to cook.

When most of the liquid is gone, turn off the heat and place lid on tight. Allow the pot is remain on the burner another 5-10 minutes, or until you're ready to eat. The residual heat inside the pot will finish steaming the rice. The rice will stay warm in this way for 1 hour or more. Before serving, remove the lid and fluff rice with chopsticks or a fork.  Taste-test for salt, adding 1/2 Tbls. more fish sauce or a little more salt if desired.



Saffron Cake
Yellow saffron cakes and buns symbolize the sunshine in the long winter months in Sweden. Lussekats are festive yeasty buns served on and around Saint Lucy’s day on December 13.

6 ounces butter
Pinch saffron
1 teaspoon sugar
1⁄3 cup warm water
Breadcrumbs
2 eggs
1 1⁄2 cups sugar, to taste
4 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 cup milk
Powdered sugar, for garnish

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter and let it cool. Crush saffron threads in a mortar and pestle; muddle with 1 teaspoon sugar. Steep 20 minutes in warm water.  Butter a 9-inch springform cake pan and sprinkle breadcrumbs around the pan.  Beat eggs and sugar, then add saffron mixture.

In a separate bowl, mix flour with baking powder. Fold into the batter with a metal spoon. Bake near bottom of the oven for 40 to 50 minutes. Let cake cool, then turn out on wire tray to sift powdered sugar over the top.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Prepping for Fall - Online needs

I went out for a walk the other day with the sole purpose of getting some photos to use on my websites.

I seem to remember that I need a fall or a winter picture once I need them but not before when I can go and take them in the correct season.  This year I have been much better about that.  So last week when the weather was balmy and warm yet still getting ready for fall, I went on a photo escapade.



These Mums seem to be very popular.  I found them in three different plantings in my neighbor hood.



The trees did not give the color they have in the past, but there were still some striking situations when the trees showed there stuff.



I was out this day actually looking for something I can use for my winter banner on my Facebook Page and in my Etsy shop. Although the Sumac was tempting with its amazing red colors....



I decided to go with tradition when I found this pine tree bursting with cones.



The sunlight was just right in the late afternoon, the cone just pop and I knew I had my image.  I think I took about 75 photos of this tree. I will not share them all.)

I turned them into this banner....



And this one with words....


Now you know what I was doing this Fall.  What have you been doing?

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Recipe of the weekend - Calendula Pesto

One last fresh herb recipe to make before the frost takes it all. I am preparing a program in November at the Morton Arboretum on Baking Sweets with Herbs.  As a result I am working on recipes using herbs in different ways than the traditional additive to a main dish.

This was the result of one of my searches into non traditional uses of an herb I love. 


Calendula Pesto

2 garlic cloves
2 ginger squares in syrup
1/2 cup unblanched almonds
1 cup fresh calendula petals
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup fresh thyme leaves
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
3/4 cup olive oil

In a food processor or blender, mince garlic and ginger for 1 minute. Add nuts; process until coarsely chopped. Add calendula, basil, thyme and cheese; process until minced. With motor running, add olive oil in a steady stream. Process or blend until well mixed. Season to taste with salt and pepper if desired.

Transfer mixture to a jar or storage container. Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days or freeze for up to 1 month. Makes 1 1/2 cups.

Use as you would any traditional pesto.  Toss with spaghetti or other pasta; Use as a topping on grilled or roasted shrimp chicken or pork; Make Pesto Pizza by splitting a loaf of French bread and brushing with pesto. Top with capicola, shredded mozzarella and grated Parmesan. Broil until the cheese melts; Mash 3/4 cup pesto into 4 tablespoons softened butter for a pesto butter you can use instead of garlic butter.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Spiced Cider Time

This month for the Featured Product on the website, I chose my Print Cookbooks which will soon be going digital, instead of my favorites for October – Spiced Cider Blends or Cinnful Dessert Blend

However, that did not stop me from thinking about what to do with these great blends, so I decided to send my musings out in a blog post.

Spiced Cider or Mulled Spice Blends



Spice Tea Latte

Do you enjoy Chai or spiced tea drinks in the fall?  Try this – Place about 1 Tbls. of Spiced Cider blend in a tea ball infuser and place it in 2 cups steamed milk for about 5 minutes. Add this spiced milk to cups of freshly brewed hot black or green tea for a quick chai-like seasonal flair.  To add decadence top with whipped cream and a drizzle of caramel sauce.

You can also make this for a group by placing a Mulled Cider Spice bag into 4 to 6 cups of milk and warm gently on the stove for 5 to 10 minutes.  Remove the bag and use the milk in coffee or tea.

Cinnful Dessert Blend



Grand Pumpkin Cookies

A Butter cookie is quick and easy to begin with.  Make it even more special with seasonal panache with Cinnful Dessert Blend.  Make a Cinnful  Spiced Sugar by combining ½ cup of confectioners’ sugar with 1 teaspoon of Cinnful Dessert Blend. Next, make your favorite butter cookie or sugar cookie recipe and lightly dust the top of the cookies with Cinnful Spiced Sugar before or after baking.

Butter Cookies
1/2 cup(s) butter
1 cup(s) sugar
1 egg(s)
1 1/2 cup(s) flour, all-purpose
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

In a medium bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar; beat until combined. Add egg; beat until combined. Beat in flour, baking powder, and salt. Divide dough in half.  Shape each half of the dough into a 12-inch-long rope. Wrap and freeze about 4 hours or until firm.  Preheat oven to 325°F. Unwrap dough; carefully slice the frozen dough into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Place the slices, cut sides up, on an ungreased cookie sheet. Use your Cinnful Spiced Sugar sprinkle here.  Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Remove from cookie sheets; cool on a wire rack.



Pumpkin Pie French Toast or Pancakes

My husband is always looking to make breakfast a treat and when I showed him this idea we have been enjoying a bit of pumpkin-y goodness in the morning.  Stir ½ teaspoon of Cinnful Dessertblend into every 2 cups of French toast custard (egg-milk mixture) or 2 cups of pancake batter before cooking.  For great pumpkin taste add 2 Tbls of pumpkin puree to the batters as well. (You can also dust these with the Cinnful Spiced Sugar!)


Spiced Sweet Potatoes

Now candied Sweet Potatoes are a Thanksgiving staple, but this is faster and can make a perfect dinner addition.  Bake sweet potatoes until they’re nearly done; then slice halfway through each and add a sprinkling of Cinnful DessertBlend and a drizzle of honey or caramel sauce. Continue baking until the potatoes are done.


Monday, October 14, 2013

October is National Popcorn Popping Month.

Never allowing a proper holiday to go to waste, here is my opportunity to celebrate popcorn which is one of the four major food groups in my family. AI bit of butter and salt is all good popcorn needs, however, if you eat it as often as we do, you need to acknowledge that butter and salt every night is not a good thing.  I crafted some herbal popcorn sprinkles that one can use instead of salt or with salt in moderation which will allow you to enjoy popcorn as often as I do!



Italian Sprinkle

1 Tbls. Basil
1 Tbls. Marjoram
1 Tbls. Oregano
½ Tbls. Garlic granules
1 tsp. rosemary
Parmesan Cheese to taste (about 2 Tbls. is good)

Blend together and place in a shaker.  Sprinkle over warm popcorn just out of the popper.



Greek Sprinkle

1 Tbls. lavender
1 Tbls. rosemary
1 Tbls. Greek Oregano
1 Tbls. Garlic, granulated
1 Tbls. Lemon peel or Lemon pepper

These Mediterranean or Greek herbs make a great addition to popcorn with a unique flavor.  Keep in a shaker for quick use.

Backyard Patch Popcorn Seasoning, a savory blend!
Mexican Sprinkle

1 Tbls. Chili Powder
1 Tbls. Cumin powder
1 Tbls. Garlic flakes
1 Tbls. Onion granulated
½ Tbls. Parsley
½ Tbls. Thyme
½ Tbls. Oregano
½ Tbls. coriander, ground

Combine and keep in a shaker.  If you like things hot add some cayenne or red pepper flakes.

So enjoy your popcorn this month.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Classic Gumbo - Recipe of the Weekend

National Gumbo Day is October 12, so we will celebrate this weekend with a Gumbo Recipe rich with herbs and flavors.

Gumbo is actually an African word, but the dish is a combination of African, American Indian and French influences.  The thicken with File (the ground root of the sassafras) is an herbal concoction gathered from the Choctaw Indians once native to the Southeastern US.  The seafood with spice comes from Africa and the the strong flavored seasoning is a French influence.

Almost every southern family in the Louisiana area has there own secret version of Gumbo, but I borrowed this one from a friend who has a restaurant in Shreveport, Louisiana.

This is a recipe for a classic, dark brown, shrimp gumbo in true Louisiana Cajun country fashion. Serve over rice. Browning the chicken pieces in the oil used for the roux adds flavor to the dish. File is added off the heat to thicken the gumbo. If added while the gumbo is still cooking, it may become stringy and unpleasant.


Classic Gumbo

1 pound smoked sausage, cut into ¼ inch rounds
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 (4 pound) chicken, cut into parts
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped green onions
2/3 cup green bell pepper, finely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 pounds medium shrimp - peeled and deveined
8 cups water
salt to taste
ground black pepper to taste
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 bay leaves
file powder

Directions:
  1. In a medium skillet, brown the sausage over medium heat. Remove from pan, and drain on paper towels to remove some of the fat. Discard fat in pan.
  2. In a large skillet, heat vegetable oil over high heat. Brown chicken pieces in hot oil. Turn frequently until golden brown on all sides. Transfer chicken to a dish and keep warm, leaving oil in pan.
  3. Make a roux by whisking flour into the hot vegetable oil. Turn heat down to low. Continue cooking flour and oil mixture, stirring constantly, until it reaches a dark brown color. This may take 30 to 45 minutes; the darker the roux, the better the final gumbo.
  4. When the roux is a dark brown color, quickly add the sausage, onion, green onion tops, green pepper, parsley, and garlic. Cook over low heat until the vegetables are wilted, about 10 minutes, stirring constantly.
  5. Stir in 2 cups water and spices. Add chicken parts. Add rest of the water slowly. Bring mixture to a boil, and reduce heat. Simmer for about 45 minutes, until chicken is done and tender.
  6. Remove chicken pieces, and save for another use. Add shrimp to gumbo; cook for about 8 to 10 minutes more. Remove bay leaves. Taste, and adjust seasoning. Serve gumbo in deep bowls. Sprinkle file powder over individual servings, and stir in.



NOTE: You can use the removed chicken to craft a tasty chicken salad for tomorrow.

The Backyard Patch just introduced a Shrimp Boil Garni, the perfect blend of spices to craft a tasty shrimp boil at home in small batches.  Check out the new Bouquet Garni listing here.


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Herb of the Week - Top Ten Tea for Healing

I love searching the web for articles on herbal teas.  I love to craft herbal teas and I enjoy seeing what other people combine.  I saw a lovely blend called Cocoa Cabernet made with Cabernet grapes and seasonal spices with roasted cocoa nibs.  It sounds very unique.

On that same day, I found another article that was about single herbs which they were calling herb tea.  Regular readers know this is pet peeve of mine.  A single herb is a tincture or a tisane one can certainly drink but to call it a tea which imparts a meaning of taste and enjoyment and tea drinking and all the pomp and circumstance that includes, is not reflected in a single herb brew.

So when I saw this article I looked carefully at the herbs they listed and decided that perhaps a great tea blend could be crafted with all 10 herbs they listed:  Mint, ginger, chamomile, cinnamon, lemon grass, Echinacea, rosehips, black berry leaf, clove and lemon balm.

The list did pull in 2 spices, but I don’t quibble much if a spice is referred to as an herb because I enjoy my spices as much as my herbs, I just don’t grow them.  I love the wonderful Midwest Spice Company Pensey’s Spices.  Where do you get your spices?

So here is the Tea Blend I created with this list.  The article was entitled top 10 teas for your herbal medicine cabinet. So I am calling it Top Ten Tea, or to sound like Guy Fiery, Triple T!


Top Ten Tea (Triple T)
½ cup spearmint
¼ cup chamomile
¼ cup lemon grass
¼ cup lemon balm.
¼ cup black berry leaf
1 ½ Tbls. Rose hips, crushed
1 Tbls.  echincea root, chopped fine
1 tsp. broken cloves
1 tsp. ginger root, snipped fine
1  3-inch cinnamon stick, broken

Combine all the herbs and spices in an airtight jar and use 1 to 2 tsp. per cup of hot water and allow to steep for 4 to 5 minutes.  Enjoy.

Here is what the herbs in the blend can do for you medicinally:
  • Mint will reduce congestion in colds and flus, induce sweating, which helps reduce a fever and relieves nausea without vomiting.
  • Ginger will also help with nausea and soothe a sore throat.  It is a warming herbs to is can bring on sweating and help reduce chills
  • Chamomile can assist with anxiety helping to induce sleep.  It is also good  with mild nausea and indigestion and can soothe a cough from throat irritation
  • Cinnamon is an all around herb for winter issues.  It can ease stomach discomforts like bloating and nausea as well as soothe a sore throat and can reduce other cold symptoms while warming you up on a cold night by increasing blood flow and circulation.
  • lemon grass
  • Lemon grass aids digestion, especially from nervous disorders and anxiety.  It also helps with high blood pressure.  If you drink a cup daily it also dilates blood vessels and improves circulation and reduces fluid retention al of which aid in lowering blood pressure.
  • Echinacea  is a traditional herb for boosting the immune system, relieving pain and reducing inflammation.  It has many antioxidant effects and is believed to shorten illness time for sufferers of the common cold
  • Rosehips provide a natural source of Vitamin C, even better than an orange.  As a result it boosts immunity.  Rosehips also provide minerals such as calcium, iron, silicon, selenium, natural sodium, magnesium, manganese, potassium, phosphorus and zinc which aid in cell healing
  • Blackberry leaf is also a source of Vitamin C as well as working on stomach bacteria.  It can help relieve pain, fevers and inflammation.  It is also considered an immunity booster.
  • Clove is a powerful analgesic that breaks up mucous and works as an expectorant.  A steaming cup of tea with this spice will provide a decongestant.  The spice is also good in the treatment of strep throat or tonsillitis.

  • Lemon balm is a virus fighter.  It has been used historically against shingles, mumps, and cold sores.  It also has relaxing properties that calm anxiety and nervousness and aid sleep.  It works well in the digestive system by reducing spasms, quelling heartburn and reducing nausea.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Doggy Shampoo -- Weekend Recipe



Our German Shorthair, Cadi, was an outside dog.  All summer she stayed outside in her doggy condo day and night.  When she got older, however, we decided that being outside in the winter months, especially at night was too much so winter came and she moved indoors for the evenings with us.  That meant that a special treatment was needed to deal with her doggy B.O. and her outdoor friends.  This shampoo did the trick.  It smells nice and the essentials oils repeal fleas and ticks.

Fall Doggy Shampoo
  • 1 quart liquid shampoo, any type (I use baby shampoo)
  • 2 drops peppermint oil
  • 2 drops lemon oil
  • 2 drops rosemary oil
  • 2 drops lavender oil
  • 2 drops lemon grass oil
  • 2 drop pennyroyal oil (if you can get it)
Mix all together, using amounts listed. Too much of a good thing can irritate a dog's skin. (Be careful when you use essential oils. Ingested, they are highly toxic so make sure they are well mixed into the soap.)
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