Saturday, October 31, 2015

Cauldron of herbs for Halloween

When we think Halloween we think of witches.  Witches were well presented in Shakespeare’s Macbeth standing around a cauldron chanting this:

"Eye of newt, and toe of frog,
Wool of bat, and tongue of dog,
Adder's fork, and blind-worm's sting,
Lizard's leg, and howlet's wing,--
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble."

Did you know that the items mentioned were actually phrases to symbolize different herbs?  Although there are variations of the plants symbolized in the chant, here is a mostly accurate presentation of the more accepted versions:
Peggy Trowbridge Filippone
Eye of newt – mustard seed

Toe of frog – buttercup leaves

Wool of bat – holly or moss (I lean toward moss, what do you think?)

Tongue of dog – hounds tooth

Adder’s fork – violet

Blind worm’s sting - Knotweed
Lizard’s leg – Ivy

Howlet’s wing – garlic or maybe ginger (but garlic was more common)

Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 30, 2015

Weekend Recipe - Crock Pot Potato Soup

Easy Crock Pot Potato Soup 
Use this crockpot recipe to feed your hungry crew before or after a chilly evening of trick or treating.

1 30 oz. bag of frozen diced hash browns
1 32 oz box of chicken broth
1 10 oz. can of cream of chicken soup
1 tsp. savory or thyme
1 tsp. sage
1 tsp. marjoram or oregano
1 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese (not fat free)
3 oz bacon bits 
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese 
salt and pepper to taste

Put the potatoes in the crockpot. Add in the chicken broth, cream of chicken soup and half of the bacon bits. Add a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook on low for 8 hours or until potatoes are tender.  An hour before serving, cut the cream cheese into small cubes. Add the herbs to crock pot. Place the cubes in the crock pot. Mix a few times throughout the hour before serving. Once the cream cheese is completely mixed in, it's ready to serve.  Top with cheddar cheese and some additional bacon bits.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Monthly Bath Recipe - Chamomile Arthritis Bath Salts

I have developed arthritis in one hand and my hip.  It is early yet and may be able to be controlled with physical therapy, but it does have occasion to interrupt my sleep, so since we now have a nice deep bathtub, I decided to work on bath salts for soothing  joint pain. 

This blend for the bath tub is a combination of Chamomile and Lavender with Epsom salts.  All of which are great for reducing inflammation.

I generally use heat seal tea bags for blends like this, but I know not everyone has access to those, so if you don't you might want to try sewing these up in a used dryer sheet. Just fold the sheet in half and stitch it closed on the two of the three open sides, if you have a sewing machine you can make quick work of this.  Then fill it and hand stitch closed the last side.

Chamomile has strong anti-inflammatory benefits, making it a great addition to the warm bath along with relaxing Lavender. Epsom salts also have an anti-inflammatory effect for soaking.  Combine the added benefit of hot water to increase circulation  and you have a great therapeutic bath that eases joint pain and reduces sore muscles. Some slow, deep breathing is useful as well for relaxation.

Chamomile Arthritis Bath Salts
1 cup Epsom salts
1 cup sea salt
1 cup baking soda
3 Tablespoons Chamomile flowers
2 Tablespoons Lavender buds
12 drops chamomile essential oil
10 drops lavender essential oil

Use about 1 cup of mixture per sachet.

Your bath salt sachet gets tossed into the running hot bath and the fabric keeps the herbs from clogging the drain and making for messy clean up.  

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