Honey Fermented Garlic
2 of my favorite things on the planet come together in this simple, delicious recipe from Experience Life Magazine. The honey softens the garlic and makes it more palatable to eat raw. Delicious with fresh bread, cheese, roasted veggies, in salad dressings, and more. At a time when we need all the immune support we can get, this is a must try! Your microbiome will thank you.
- 1 head of garlic
- 1 cup of honey
- clean glass canning jar
Prep garlic by smashing and peeling each clove. Cut large cloves in half and put them in the jar. Add raw honey until all the garlic is submerged.
Seal the jar and set aside at room temperature for three days. Once the garlic is fermented you will want to release the gases every few days by unscrewing the lid and stirring the contents. Store at room temperature.
This wonderful recipe comes from Learning Herbs. Astragalus is a fabulous tonic often used in Chinese medicine for increasing stamina and endurance, and improving resistance to the cold. It also helps the body heal from viral infections.
- 2 cups broth of choice
- 30 grams Astragalus
- 1-3 Tablespoons Miso (refrigerated paste, not dried or powdered)
- ground pepper
Combine broth, herb, and pepper. Simmer gently for 30mins. Strain out the Astragalus and add miso. *refrigerated miso contains probiotics, so you don’t want to cook it. Enjoy!
‘Thieves’ Essential Oil Blend
Legend has it that four thieves went around robbing people affected by the bubonic plague back in the 15th century, and protected themselves from the illness using herbs and a powerful blend of essential oils. Accounts of course vary, as do recipes for the essential oil blend. I am in and out of nursing homes, and regularly visit with people who are quite ill, so it’s really important for me to stay healthy and protected. I’ve found this blend to be particularly helpful, and it smells wonderful!
What you need:
- 10-15ml glass bottle for blending oils
- 10ml glass roller ball vial
- carrier oil of choice (I use olive oil)
- Essential Oil Blend:
- Clove 40 drops
- Lemon 35 drops
- Cinnamon 20 drops
- Eucalyptus 15 drops
- Rosemary 10 drops
Mix the essential oils together first, close the bottle, and give it a good shake. I like to let mine sit for a day or two to blend fully. When you’re ready, add 10 drops (for a 5% dilution) – 25 drops (10% dilution) of the EO blend to the roller ball vial, and then fill the vial with carrier oil. Secure the top, and shake well to blend. *NOTE: if you plan to use this on children, decrease the number of drops of EO blend to 2-3 drops per 10ml.
Because clove oil can be particularly irritating, and I opt for a 10% dilution, I only use this blend on the palms of my hands. I like using it on my hands because so many of the germs we come in contact with are through touch, and I like to be able to smell it readily. My friends with children put it on the soles of their feet.
*Be mindful not to let any EO blend come in contact with your eyes. If it does, a cotton ball soaked in olive oil dabbed on lightly closed eyelids will help flush the EO out.*
Delicious and satisfying; this salad is loaded with fresh herbs and lots of summer flavors. Can be served cold or at room temperature.
- 1 cup farro or wheat berries
- 1 cup apple cider
- 2 cups water
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 2 bay leaves
- 8 tablespoons EVOO or Flaxseed oil
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- ½ cup chopped pistachios
- 2 cups arugula leaves
- 1 cup parsley or basil leaves, torn
- 1 cup mint leaves, torn
- ¾ cup halved cherry or grape tomatoes
- 1/3 cup thinly sliced radishes
- shaved parmesan to serve, if desired
In a medium saucepan, bring farro, apple cider, salt, bay leaves, and 2 cups water to a simmer. Simmer until farro is tender and liquid evaporates (about 30-40 mins). You may need to add a little extra water. Let farro cool, then discard bay leaves.
In a salad bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt. Add farro and nuts. Mix well. Fold in arugula, herbs, tomatoes, and radishes. Keeps well in the refrigerator for a few days.
*Credit to Charlie Bird for the fantastic recipe.
The mosquitos around here are relentless in the summer! After getting over a dozen bites in less than an hour while working in the garden, I decided it was time to make some more bug spray.
What you need:
- 1 oz witch hazel
- 1oz carrier oil (i.e. almond oil, apricot oil)
- 30 drops citronella EO
- 20 drops eucalyptus EO
- 15 drops lemon EO
- 15 drops lemongrass EO
- 1 glass spray bottle
Combine the essential oils in the spray bottle first. Measure out your witch hazel and carrier oil, and carefully pour it into the bottle. Shake well to combine, and shake before using. Please be mindful that this spray, while natural, contains photosensitizing essential oils. Care should be taken when using during prolonged sun exposure. Store in a cool place away from direct sunlight. Do not use on your face and avoid contact with your eyes.
It can be tough staying healthy this time of year. Elderberry syrup is fabulous for giving your immune system a little extra support to keep you from getting sick, and for helping your immune system fight back in the event you do get sick. Elderberries are loaded with Vitamin C and A, along with other nutrients, and are a powerful antioxidant. Raw honey is great for fighting bacteria, packed with important vitamins and minerals, and soothing to a sore throat.
What you need:
- 3.5 cups water
- 2/3 cups elderberries
- 1/4 cup rosehips
- 2 tablespoons ginger root (diced)
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon or 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1/2 teaspoon cloves
- 1 cup raw honey (to be added at the end)
Put all ingredients, except honey, into a saucepan. Simmer, covered, for 1 hour. Let cool until it is warm, but not hot. Strain and add honey (honey mixes easier if it is warm, but raw honey should not be heated above 115 degrees in order to preserve its great health benefits).
During the winter, I take one tablespoon a day to keep my system strong and healthy. And at the first sign of illness, I take one tablespoon every 3-4 hours. I like it straight, but it can also be combined with warm water for a soothing cup of tea. Store in a cool, dark place.
Easy Peasy Crockpot Applesauce
Adjust ingredients according to the size of your crockpot:
- 5-6 pounds varied apples
- 1 cup apple cider
- 4-6 cinnamon sticks
Fill the crockpot with apples; peeled and cubed. Add cinnamon sticks – more or less depending on how powerful you want the cinnamon flavor to be. I use 6 in a large, full crockpot, and it produces a fairly strong cinnamon spice. Add apple cider, cover, and leave on high for about 3 hours. Stir apples and smash to your liking. I like to leave it a little chunky and jar my applesauce with a cinnamon stick for a more intense flavor. And I’ve found that if you fill and cover mason jars while the applesauce is still hot, it will self seal while cooling.
You may be tempted to add sugar, but let me assure you, there is no need. If you like a sweeter applesauce, just use sweeter tasting apples such as fuji, gala, or golden delicious. Yay fall 🙂
Pain Salve – for bumps, bruises, sore muscles, and inflammation
- 1 cup arnica infused oil
- ½ -¾ ounce beeswax (depending on how soft you like your salve – I use ¾ oz for a firm salve)
- 60 drops Essential Oil Blend:
- 24 drops wintergreen, 36 drops lavender
- wintergreen is analgesic, great for inflammation and muscle pain
- lavender is soothing, anti-inflammatory, and promotes healing
- it’s important to use ‘therapeutic grade’ essential oils
My favorite way to infuse oil (I generally use high quality olive oil) is solar infusion. Put the arnica in a glass jar and cover with an inch or two of oil. Since oil and water don’t mix, it’s best to use dried herbs. Place the jar in a sunny spot and allow to sit for 3 weeks, shaking the jar every couple of days. Strain the oil using a cheese cloth (set in a mesh colander if you have one) – be patient here and let it drip for a while.
Blend your essential oils together and set aside. Measure out the amount of beeswax you want, and melt in a double boiler. Turn off the heat and slowly add the arnica infused oil, stirring gently. Once combined, add the essential oils.
Make sure you have enough tins. Fill tins while oil is still hot – it will start to set quickly. Cover loosely and cool in the refrigerator.
Massage into sore muscles and bruises as needed.
Please note – some people may be sensitive to particular herbs and essential oils. If you notice any adverse effects such as a rash or redness, discontinue use immediately.
Roasted Cauliflower and Arugula Salad
This is one of my favorite salads to make as a main course. It is light, yet satisfying.
What you’ll need:
- 1 head of cauliflower, cut into 1 inch florets
- 1 small can or 1/2 a regular can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 5 oz baby arugula – I tend to mix in whatever lettuce I have on hand as well
- 3 oz crumbed feta
- 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
- 1 avocado, diced
- 5 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 Tbs fresh lemon juice
- 1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 450′. Toss the cauliflower with 2 Tbs of olive oil, the cumin, 3/4 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Spread on a baking sheet and roast until browned on the edges – about 20 minutes, stirring once.
In a large bowl, whisk the lemon juice, garlic, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/8 tsp. pepper, and the remaining 3 Tbs olive oil. Add remaining ingredients and toss to combine.
Recipe adapted from Fine Cooking, Oct/Nov 2015
Please see blog from September, 2016 for more information about Fire Cider.
What you’ll need:
- ½ cup ginger, diced
- ¼-½ cup garlic, chopped
- 1 cup onion, chopped or shredded
- ½ cup horseradish, sliced
- 2 to 4 hot peppers, chopped — habanero, jalapeno, cayenne or any other hot peppers may be used. If you’re sensitive to spice, skip the spicier peppers like habanero.
- ¼ cup fresh turmeric, chopped (or 1 to 2 tablespoons dried turmeric)
- 2 to 3 cups raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar
- 2-4 tablespoons raw honey – to be added later
You can use any number of optional ingredients. Some I like to use are:
- 1 stick or 1-2 teaspoons of cinnamon
- Half of an organic lemon, sliced
- 3-4 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped
- 2-3 tablespoons of hibiscus flowers
Add all the ingredients to a quart mason jar (what you see below is a double batch). Use enough vinegar to cover the solid ingredients by a couple inches. The vinegar will corrode typical metal mason jar lids, so use a plastic lid if possible, or simply place a piece of wax paper between the lid and the jar – you’ll still be able to screw the lid shut. Shake vigorously for about 15 seconds and store the jar at room temperature. I just leave it in the corner on the kitchen counter.
As you can see, I reuse whatever jar I have handy. As long as it’s clean, you’re good to go. And while you certainly want raw and unfiltered apple cider vinegar, it doesn’t need to be top shelf. I save the really good stuff (I’m partial to Bragg) for when I’m taking the vinegar alone for its own healing properties.
Let the herbs steep in the vinegar for four weeks, shaking every few days to help with the maceration. Strain the solid ingredients from the vinegar, add honey to taste, and store your fire cider in a glass jar. It will keep for several months in a dark cupboard, and up to a year in the refrigerator.
Homemade Hand Sanitizer
When your hands are this dirty…
…there’s nothing better than some good old fashioned soap and water.
But what if it’s a perfect day to stop and have lunch outside?
Then a little dollop of hand sanitizer will do.
I try not to use hand sanitizer too often, but let’s be honest – we touch a lot of gross stuff on any given day. I make this to keep in my purse for those times when washing my hands isn’t an option.
Lemongrass Hand Sanitizer
- 10ml vodka
- 10ml aloe*
- 10ml witch hazel
- 15 drops lemongrass essential oil
*I use pure aloe because it has a thinner consistency and doesn’t have added ingredients. If you do use a thick aloe gel, you’ll want to whisk the ingredients together to get them to combine. If using fresh aloe, puree it in a blender before using it in this recipe.
Place all ingredients into a small bottle, shake to combine. If using pure aloe, you can use a spritzer bottle with this recipe. I keep mine in a flip-top bottle. All a matter of preference.
Please note – this recipe is not alcohol free, and as a result, can be drying.
Fresh juice is amazing for healing, restoring, and cleansing the body. It’s also a good way to ensure that you’re getting enough vitamins and minerals. Juicing doesn’t need to be complicated, and you don’t need to buy exotic fruits and vegetables. You probably have a number of things in your fridge right now that would make great juice!
Here is one of my staple recipes (makes 2 servings):
- 4 carrots
- 1 apple (gala or granny smith are delicious)
- 1 beet
- 2 stalks celery
- 2 handfuls of spinach/kale/beet greens
- 1 inch piece of ginger
- Quality water for mixing – I use a 1:1 ratio
Carrot juice protects the nervous system, increases energy, and helps with skin problems such as eczema. Beet juice helps strengthen the immune system and detoxify the body, while greens provide an extra boost of vitamins and minerals. Celery juice is also a good source of vitamins and minerals and is great for adrenal function and weight loss. And ginger is fantastic for soothing the stomach and easing inflammation.
Relax and unwind with this nutritious relaxation tea…
I use the simpler’s method of measuring. That is to say – 1 part chamomile, 1 part rosehips is equal to saying 1 teaspoon chamomile, 1 teaspoon rosehips or 1 ounce chamomile, 1 ounce rosehips. This way, you can make the amount that makes sense for you. If you only want one cup of tea, use teaspoons…if you’d like to mix some to have on hand, use ounces.
- 1 part Chamomile
- 1 part Red Clover
- 1 part Catnip
- 1 part Rosehips
- 1/2 part Lavender
Mix the herbs together. Pour boiling water over the herbs (use about a tablespoon for each cup of tea you are making) and allow to steep for 8-10 minutes. This tea is delicious sweetened with a touch of raw honey.