Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Herbal Simple Syrups: Easy, Delicious Gifts!

Yuletide is different for everyone. Some of us get excited and filled with joy at the many ways we can give, exchange, share, and create.

And some of us feel tired. Perhaps we have worked all year long and not gotten ahead yet, or perhaps we have a large family with all different personalities.

Perhaps we are stumped at what to offer our neighbors that would be lovely, personal, simple, yet not too freaky-deaky!

Herbal Syrups can provide a beautiful nature-connected gift that is simple, easy, versatile, and extremely cheap to make.

Yes, it has sugar. White sugar. So it's no good for those struggling with blood sugar issues. For them .... infuse the herbs into vinegar, oil, or butter ;)

Herbal Syrup

~ Start with a simple syrup in a non-reactive pot. A simple syrup is equal parts water and sugar. For proportion's sake, lets say we put 4 cups of water and 4 cups of sugar into the pot. 

~ Next, add your herbs! Don't worry about exact amounts, just use common sense. 

~ Add 1/2 - 1 cup of herb if it's really strong, like Nutmeg, Clove, Hot Pepper, or Garlic.

~ Add about 1-2 cups of herb if it's on the strong side, like Ginger root. 

~ Add about 3-4 cups of herb if it's a medium and palatable strength herb, like Pine Needles, Peppermint, Cinnamon, or Licorice.

~ Gently keep the syrup at medium heat (always keep under boiling) until you reach the desired strength of flavor. This may take 20-40 minutes depending on the plant you've chosen. 

~ Strain carefully (simple syrups can seriously burn) through a cheesecloth lined strainer into a large pyrex with a pour spout. 

~ Bottle into food-grade bottles and label as desired.
White Pine Needle Syrup

Citrus Fruits are also fun to experiment with. I'm doing Meyer lemons this week! Keep in mind the sugar ratio though - if your fruit is going to add a lot more water content, you'll want to match that with more sugar. Otherwise it will not have the same preserving capability and will grow mold.

Traditional syrups are still valuable. If you have Elder berries, they make a wonderful purple syrup with flu-fighting properties. Pine needle syrup is excellent for lung congestion, and Peppermint is festive and helpful after a big meal. Ginger syrup is one of my favorites, and usually is a by-product of making crystallized ginger. However the syrup is soooo wonderful and appreciated at the holidays that now I make it for gifts!

Floral syrups are also lovely. Roses, Lavender, Jasmine, or Bee Balm flower syrups are all a welcome drizzle on ice cream, cake, or in a dessert cordial. How romantic!

Blends: Play around! Orange and clove make a classic pairing. Roses and Cocoa bits are decadent together, and traditional Chai spices can be combined to impress your Barista friends. (Ginger, Black Tea, Cinnamon, Cardamom, Black Pepper, Clove, and a little Nutmeg)

Vanilla Bean is perhaps, the shining star of all things lovely in the kitchen, and makes the rounds as a welcomed gift for all tastes. Pair with homemade vanilla extract, of course.



Foraged Autumn Olives and Rose Hips, on their way to syrup together

This article was released for Poppy Swap! Where People and Herbs come together. Check it out! 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Acorn - Rosemary Johnnycakes, A Simple Delicacy

November brings a nice bumper crop of wild nettles. Which, in my house, gets to become one with homemade chicken soup. And to accompany the soup, what could be more appropriate for this season of nuts? Acorn Johnnycakes!

I can't take a whole lot of credit for these, however I will say that I am proud of helping to cultivate a wee bit of primitive skill and resourcefulness in my kiddos. My twelve year old son came up with these luscious and simple cracker-cakes. We were completely blown away by how delicious they were, with the richness of the acorn meal, the crispy fried outside, and the soft, warm inside. The crunchy texture of the yellowdock seeds adds another layer of interest and wild nutrition.

Acorn Rosemary Johnnycake Recipe: 

(Makes about 10-14 cakes)
  • 3 C Flour (of choice - whole wheat, almond, etc)
  • 1/2 C ground Acorn Four/Meal
  • 1/2 C Yellow Dock seeds, whizzed in a food processor
  • 3 cloves fresh garlic
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • oregano and/or rosemary to taste (about 1/2 tsp)
  • 1 tsp, approx, of  Salt
  • 1 tsp approx, of baking soda

Add enough filtered or well water, or almond milk, to create a malleable dough, like play dough

Create thin patties, as though you were going for crackers. Fry them in a cast iron pan with a layer of unrefined coconut oil, on medium heat. Flip them once like you would a pancake. They will get toasty on the outsides and rise a little bit due to the baking soda. Sprinkle a pinch of salt on the tops just before removing them from the pan. 

Eat them warm! They are not so good once they have rested. But when they are warm ... ooohh la la so delicious! We ate them with big globs of goat cheese. m m m

Foraging friends ;)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Lady's Slipper Ring ~ Luxurious Herbal Self-Care Membership!

If you haven't had a chance to check out my Private Apothecary Membership - don't wait! Enrollment ends soon!

Amrita Apothecary Lady's Slipper Ring

EVERY month you get: Luscious herbal skin delights at your doorstep, rich and engaging support content replete with self-care practices, activities, suggested reading, a checklist, and a recipe.

Plus a personal email exchange every month too.

We're already nourishing ourselves with goodies and pleasure-filled action!

For all the Juicy Details CLICK HERE

I can't wait to send your treasures!!!



What women are already saying:

"I have just joined the ring and all I can say is WOW! I am excited and thrilled to be a part of this! Each month is packed full of simple, rewarding things to do to make you feel better about yourself and open yourself up to the true potential you really have. It's like a big hug delivered to your mailbox, followed by a gentle massage and a light, loving caress. Each month you'll receive suggestions and tasks to do that open up your mind and heart without being overwhelming. I'm already in love with this amazing journey of self worth and herbal love. If you are feeling a bit down, lost, misguided or burnt out, the Lady's Slipper Ring is perfect for you!" 

-Kristine Brown of Dancing in a Field of Tansy

"Women friends, i have something really important to share with you. my friend Ananda Wilson, a true goddess, is offering this amazing program, the Lady's Slipper Ring, that includes not only her phenomenal luscious herbal goods, but the most amazing, heartfelt, deep self care program- perfect for those of us who are busy, give a lot of ourselves, and need extra support and practical tools for giving ourselves the care we need and we DESERVE! I've signed up for my membership and already am astounded and moved and so thrilled by the materials provided and the luscious goodies already sent out. She only has a few more spots to join in!!!

You deserve this. Really. If need be, Skip your latte each day to find the extra $$ you need to make this happen for yourself. Tell the universe that you LOVE yourself, respect yourself and treat yourself like the goddess you are!" 

-Darcey Blue French of Blue Turtle Botanicals

WOMEN: When we step into our beauty, truth, and power, the world shifts. It's simple. Love yourself. Lady's Slipper Ring guides you gently and consistently with conscious, pleasure based healing with powerful results. 

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Medicine Trees

Willow draping stories like waterfalls through the air

Chestnuts throwing daggers

Dripping perfume sap and resin

Broken limbs and torn ligaments

Ripped shoulders across the forest

Open, wounded, left

Littered medicine on neighbors lawns

Left for mulch and compost

Never taken for flu, tea, fire, scars

I scoop the drips from the branch

and dot it carefully on my daughter's incision

she says "thank you"

and I say "thank you"

to all the trees with giant scars

and take home the abandon medicine

for my chest.

Longing to create more meaningful nature practices? Called into the Forest to learn the Medicine of the Tree Nation?
Struggling to put into practice all those notions of Self-Care? Need real tools to help you put YOU first? Longing for a woman's voice to remind you how beautiful and powerful you are?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Eat Berries, Dig Roots, Hug Friends. Repeat.

 Chestnuts, sweet Chestnuts,
To pick up and eat,
Or keep until Winter,
When, hot, they're a treat!

 -Cicely Mary Barker

Eat Berries, Dig Roots, Hug Friends, Repeat.
(November 8, 2011 Newsletter)

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Pleasure Medicine ~ Your Pipeline to Source

"Imagine a woman in love with her own body,
A woman who believes her body is enough, 
just as it is.
Who celebrates her body's rhythms and cycles as an
exquisite resource."

~Patricia Lynn Reilly~