Mama’s Calendula Skin Food

February 14, 2012

Here is the recipe I created for “Mama’s Calendula Skin Food 2011”:

Wonderful for cuts, scrapes, chapped skin, lip balm, burns, cuticles, rough skin on heels and more.

¼ c Calendula infused grapeseed oil

.5 oz beeswax

1/8 t unfiltered honey

½ t cocoa butter

½ t sea buckthorn oil

20 drops peppermint, lavender or Thieves essential oil

Slowly melt beeswax in double boiler. (I used a pyrex measuring cup in a pan of water)

stir in honey, cocoa butter, and oils. Do not boil, just warm until melted.

When all liquid, turn off heat, add drops of essential oil and stir, pour into little containers and allow to cool.

Freezing Snow Peas

August 5, 2011

It’s the first week of August and I thought the season was over but it turns out that all my snow peas really needed was more water. There have been some huge rainstorms in the past 10 days and there are many new pea shoots, flowers and more snow peas. Yahoo. Here is how I am preserving some for the winter.

Wash and string (peel down the stringy seams on both sides by snapping the top and gently pulling down)

Place in boiling water for 2 minutes

 

Cool in iced water 2 minutes

Pat dry and freeze in freezer bags or freezer-safe containers.


I have just learned the easiest way to freeze blueberries. In the past I washed the berries, drained them, laid them out on cookie sheets in the freezer to freeze individually, then put the frozen berries into freezer bags. LONG PROCESS.

Recently, T and I picked berries at Evergreen Berry Farm in Watertown, CT. We picked on the bushes that were NOT sprayed- as there are areas of the field that never seem to need protection from insects and some that do. Interesting permaculture conundrum there….

As we were leaving T noticed a sign with freezing instructions as follows (so easy):

Put your fresh-picked berries into freezer bags and put in freezer. When you want to use the berries remove from freezer and rinse.  

Motherwort Tincture

July 2, 2011

It is time to harvest and tincture one of my herbal allies, motherwort, Leonurus Cardiaca, also called Lionheart. This herb grows where she wants in my garden and I never know from year to year where she’ll show up – here is motherwort with the day lilies.

Years ago this tincture was recommended to me by Susun Weed to help me with sleep issues. Over the years I have used it to calm menstrual cramps, calm anxiousness. It can be dried and used as a smudge along with sage and mugwort. It makes a bitter tea- so sweeten with honey and use it for a stress-diffuser. Livestrong.com has a good article listing other uses for motherwort. Also, more good information at Herbalist.com where it mentions that motherwort is well-known and used in Europe:

The sedative (nervine) action of the herb, claimed by the herb’s historical use was demonstrated scientifically well enough for the Commission E, the official German herbal pharmacopaea,  to recommend it to the public………Older scientific data on the herb’s neurological and cardiac properties are based on studies by Chinese researchers of an extract called leonurin from Leonurus sibiricus, an herb very closely related to Leonurus cardiaca.   

Susan Weed has a wonderful 3 minute video on how to tincture this herb.

To tincture: you will need a jar with tight-fitting lid, scissors and vodka. Cut the top 8-10 inches of the flowering tops. Then cut the plant material directly into your jar. The flowers are prickly, be cautious. Put enough flowers and leaves to tightly fill jar, pour in vodka to very top. Put on lid, shake, turn over a few times to make sure most of the air bubbles are dislodged, maybe you’ll need to add some more vodka. Then label, leave in dark place for 6 weeks. Strain, put in smaller dropper jars.  Voila.

Strawberry Shortcake

June 19, 2011

Perfect treat for Father’s Day- I’ve just picked 4 quarts of organic strawberries at McEnroe’s Farm up in Amenia, NY. Tough picking because they’ve let the weeds grow up- so there were thistles to wrestle with (ouch) and slim pickings because this is only their first week of picking. So I was a bit early. Hope my dear friend, T, will go with me later in the week or even next week. No matter, I’ve frozen 3 quarts (for sorbet and the winter) and will use the rest for shortcake topping and for snacking. They are very sweet!

I have tried a new vanilla muffin recipe from food.com. It only makes 9 (really, I tried to stretch it but 9 it is) muffins/cupcakes so you might like to make more, these are going to go fast in my house. I also used a gluten free flour mix instead of all the separate flours. 22 minutes in the oven was perfect time. The recipe also has chocolate frosting. I am not going to make that. I will make strawberry topping, see below.

  • Prep Time: 30 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hr
  • Serves: 9, Yield: 9 Cupcakes

Ingredients

◦                                  2/3 cup soymilk

◦                                  1/4 cup canola oil

◦                                  3/4 cup agave nectar

◦                                  2 teaspoons vanilla extract

◦                                  1/4 teaspoon almond extract

◦                                  1 1/2 cups gluten free flour

◦                                  1 teaspoon baking powder

◦                                  1/2 teaspoon baking soda

◦                                  1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions (adapted from food.com):

Preheat oven to 325°F;

Line muffin pan with 9 Liners and fill 3 remaining muffin cups with a little bit of water.

 Mix together soy milk, canola oil, vanilla and almond extract and agave nectar.

Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt one by one and mix for 1-2 minutes. Mixture will be thin.

Fill 9 muffin cups approximately 2/3 full. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes until toothpick inserted into center of cupcake comes out clean.

Let cool in pan for 1 hour to allow agave to set.

Serve with 2 cups strawberries halved and cooked with 1 T maple syrup or honey, 1 cup water and 2 T arrowroot powder on low flame, stir until thickened;

Garnish with fresh berries and whipped tofu cream topping (1/2 cake organic tofu, 2 T tahini, 1 T agave syrup (or to desired sweetness) , pinch salt, 2 T grapeseed oil blend until smooth and creamy.

Mango Pico de Gallo

June 7, 2011

My dear friend, T, invited me over for a fish taco dinner party on Sunday night. I asked if I could bring something and she requested Pico de gallo. I don’t know what it is, even- but gather that it’s what I call salsa and it goes on the fish. Pico de gallo in Spanish means rooster’s beak–whatever–and can be made as a fruit salad with chili and other spices sprinkled on the top, or as a raw condiment like a chutney made with vegetables. In the US we think of salsa as a chutney of diced tomatoes, maybe avocado, peppers, definitely a spicy jalapeno, lime juice, salt and often my unfavorite green, cilantro, sprinkled in so I cannot pick it out. I’ve had salsa made from peaches and also mangos as well as watermelon! I decided to be creative and make it up.

I had a few very ripe mangos on hand, went down to the store and bought 1 plum tomato, 1 red pepper and a green jalapeno, 1 lime. I also had a few little red onions left from last year and lots of fresh parsley in my garden, so I set about to make up a simple but yummy Pico de Gallo for our fish tacos.

Dice small 1/4 cup red onion

Dice 1/2 red pepper (remove the seeds and extra skin inside, first)

Dice 1 small plum tomato

Chop very fine- 1 small hot pepper of your choice (keep 1/2 T aside in case it is a very hot pepper or people want something like the beak of a rooster pico….)

Peel and Dice 1/2 cup ripe mango

Chop large handful of parsley  very fine

Toss all the vegetables along with

1/2-1 t seasalt to taste

Add juice of 1 lime (or more to taste)

I garnished with chive flowers (you can see on at the top of photo, above) I broke up a few flowers and sprinkled in the salsa, too. It was very yummy.

The dinner also included watermelon gazpacho, fresh picked garden salad with oil and salt dressing, sweet and spicy beans and rice, guacamole (with the dreaded cilantro), spicy tilapia, rice and corn tacos, my Pico de G and T’s special gluten-free banana cake. Delish.

Here it is before the parsley was added. Still beautiful!

 

The Seaweed Man

April 20, 2011

Living at the edge of the continent. This is how Larch Hanson, a seaweed harvester for forty years, describes himself. He has some powerful advice about including seaweed regularly in our diet. Here is his latest article as well as a link to William Spear’s article about protective diet in Huffington Post.:

Considering the nuclear meltdown in Fukushima, Japan, it is important that you understand this article:Iodine in Seaweed Protects the Thyroid from Radiation

Once upon a time, about a gazillion years ago, the animals in the sea with spinal cords decided to base their regulatory hormones upon stable Iodine 127. A bazillion years later, some of those animals decided to leave the sea and live on the land where Iodine 127 was not abundant. Land plants don’t contain much iodine at all. So they developed thyroid glands and blood compounds that would conserve scarce Iodine 127. All went well, until some near-sighted nuclear scientists started splitting uranium atoms and creating radioactive Iodine 131 which concentrates through the food chain (from grass to cows to milk to humans, for instance) and can end up in the thyroid, burning it out, leaving people unable to self-regulate their lives. You see, Iodine 131 has a very short half-life of 8 days. That means that within a period of two months, it emits most of its radiation. And if that iodine 131 happens to be situated in the thyroid while it is emitting its radiation, it will do great damage to the thyroid gland. 25% of the women in this country, for instance, now have clinical symptoms of thyroid imbalance. Why is this happening?

Iodine is a member of the halide group of elements that includes bromine, chlorine, and fluorine. Compounds that contain these elements tend to displace iodine from the body. Modern people are exposed to bromated dough conditioners in commercially-produced bread, and bromine used in disinfectants (in hot tubs, for instance). Bleach in the laundry and at the swimming pool contains chlorine. Dentists use fluorides, and fluoride is used in toothpaste and drinking water. All of these sources of chemicals, and more, are exposing us to halides that displace iodine from our bodies. In the Southwest, the Colorado River system that irrigates the fields that produce 30% of the vegetables consumed in our country is contaminated by a lagoon of spent rocket fuel in Nevada that is leaching perchlorate into the water. Perchlorate is taken up by broad leaf veggies  like lettuce, and it gets into the body and blocks transport of iodine to the thyroid. If an air bag goes off in your car, your air is immediately contaminated with perchlorate released by the explosive air bag.

There really aren’t very good iodine supplements available to the public. If you read a material safety data sheet for potassium iodide, you will understand the negative side effects of long term use. The best long term strategy is to integrate seaweed into one’s daily diet. Then your thyroid will always have adequate levels of stable Iodine 127 and will not take in radioactive Iodine 131. Digitata kelp has the highest iodine content, followed by kelp. Alaria has moderate levels of iodine. All of these are good sources of iodine, provided you don’t roast them, releasing the iodine to the air. Learn a water-based method that will work for you. Make soup and drink the broth at the same time you eat the seaweed. Then your body will receive the iodine. If you are a raw foodist, make a smoothie that includes kelp. Nori and dulse don’t contain much iodine, compared to kelp and alaria. Any commercial seaweed that is promoted as “tender” or “convenient” or “ready to eat” probably has been subjected to a heat process (parboiling, roasting) and thus the iodine content is lowered.

Recipes for proper preparation of seaweed are available at LarchHanson.com and seaweed can be ordered direct from the harvester and his apprentices who use low temperature methods of drying at TheSeaweedMan.com.

Rest in the Light, abide in the Heart.Larch Hanson
Maine Seaweed LLC
Ph/fax: 207 546 2875