Friday, September 28, 2012

Cough & Cold Tea Recipe (kitchen remedies 02)

Thymus vulgaris, folio latiore... Digital ID: 1125200. New York Public Library

A pernicious bug has been making its way throughout the greater Olympia area lately, so I thought I'd post our current cough and cold soothing strategy.

1. Raw organic apple cider vinegar - a teaspoon in water 3 x day - is really helpful for boosting the immune system.
2. Gargling with warm salt water at the very first sign of a scratchy throat can be enough to stop it in its tracks. Try 1 tsp. salt in 8 oz. of warm water.
3. My standard go-to remedy has, for years, been our trusty sinus infection essential oil blend.
Here is our newly-developed recipe for a cough & cold tea blend. The tea recipe was inspired partly by Rosemary Gladstar's excellent book, Rosemary Gladstar's Medicinal Herbs: A Beginner's Guide: 33 Healing Herbs to Know, Grow, and Use, and partly by my friend Tess' cough syrup recipe. Drinking the tea & steaming your head with the sinus blend will deliver a 1-2 punch.

Chris' Cough & Cold Tea
(all ingredients are dried, I measure by weight)

1 part ginger root (warming, decongesting, used for colds and flus, respiratory congestion and sore throat)
1 part cinnamon powder (warming, antiviral, antifungal, improves circulation, clears congestion)
1 part thyme leaf (fights infection, treats coughs, helps sore throats)
1 part marshmallow root (soothes inflamed respiratory tissues, lubricates & moisturizes lungs)
1/2 part catnip (to help bring fever down)

Combine all in a screw-top jar and mix well.

To use: Steep 4 tbsp. in 1 quart of boiling water, covered, for 45 minutes. Strain and press herbs. Add honey to taste. (I added quite a bit - 1/4-1/3 cup of honey to 1 quart of wound up tasting a LOT like those Hot Tamales candies I was so addicted to as a child, lol.)

Dosage: adults: 3-4 cups per day, kids 7-12: 1-2 oz/4 x day
Cataria major, vulgaris = Ment... Digital ID: 1125212. New York Public Library

Images are from the New York Public Library Digital Gallery.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Pay It Forward Giveaway Winners!

lampwork sunflower bead by c. hansen
On September 19, I posted this giveaway, for the first three commenters...then on the 21st, I posted an additional opportunity for three more commenters to win, to be randomly selected...but only five more people commented, and I just CANNOT have six people winners and two people not, especially with everyone committing to paying it forward!

This got it're ALL winners!

I will be in touch soon to get clues as to what sorts of goodies you might like to see in the mail. And remember - you don't know exactly WHEN the prize will arrive - but it will arrive sometime during the next 365 days!

Be well and have a super day all!

xoxo, c

Monday, September 24, 2012

Everyday Split Pea Soup

Common European Oak (Quercus r... Digital ID: 1263333. New York Public Library

Saturday, September 22, 2012 was the first day of Autumn here in the Northern Hemisphere, also known as The First Day of Soup Season. (doing a happy dance, because I love a big warm bowl of homemade soup!)

In honor of this first full week of Autumn, I'm posting one of our family's favorite soup recipes, Everyday Split Pea Soup, from one of my most favoritest cookbooks, Moosewood Restaurant Daily Special.

This is an easy soup to prep and cook; if you're cooking for a crowd, it doubles easily - just make sure you're using a really big soup pot (8-10 quarts). I like to add a splash of liquid smoke and 6-8 whole cloves, which kicks up the "smoked ham" flavor a notch or two.

DO make sure the peas are fully cooked before you add the miso - miso is ruined by overheating, so to be on the safe side, I turn off the heat before I add the miso.

ALSO - when adding miso to soup, the best way is to scoop a cup or so of soup/broth into a bowl, and mix miso into that, then add the miso/soup mixture to the main pot of soup - miso is glumpy (one of my favorite technical terms, lol), and might not mix in thoroughly with the split pea soup if just added as a big lump.

I apologize for the lack of pictures - the batch I made this weekend went so fast I didn't have a chance to get the camera out! (I'll add a pic to this post next time we have this soup - don't worry - you won't have long to wait!) Enjoy!

½ ounce dried mushrooms, softened in 1 cup boiling water (I usually use shiitake))**
2 cups dried split peas (1 pound)
8 cups water
3 bay leaves
1 tsp. dried marjoram
6-8 whole cloves (optional, C.H. addition)
½ tsp. liquid smoke, or to taste (optional, C.H. addition)
2 cups chopped onions
1-1/2 cups peeled and diced carrots
1-1/2 cups chopped celery (include some leafy tops)
2 cups diced potatoes
¼ to 1/3 cup light miso
1 tsp. salt
 1/8 tsp. ground black pepper

**To soften mushrooms, place in a heatproof bowl, cover with boiling water, and set aside for about 20 minutes.**

In a large covered soup pot on high heat, combine the split peas, water, bay leaves, marjoram, onions, carrots, celery, and potatoes (and cloves and liquid smoke, if using). When the soup begins to boil, stir well, reduce the heat to a simmer, cover, and continue to cook.

Meanwhile, remove the mushrooms from the soaking liquid and discard any hard stems. Slice or chop the softened mushrooms and add them to the soup. Strain the soaking liquid to remove any sediment or dirt, and add the clear liquid to the soup pot.

After the soup has simmered for about 30 minutes, stir it well. Maintain on low heat with occasional stirring or place the pot on a heat diffuser to prevent sticking and cook for another 20 minutes, until the split peas are very soft and the soup becomes "creamy" when stirred. Discard the bay leaves (and cloves, if you added them). Stir in 1/4 cup of the miso, the salt, and pepper. Add more miso to taste and serve.

Note: If you plan to serve the soup later, set it aside to cool a bit, and then refrigerate it. Reheat gently before serving, stirring often to prevent scorching.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Pay It Forward Fun: Giveaway!

white tulips on lavender focal by c. hansen
It's been AGES since I did a giveaway on my blog, and when I heard of Jenn's fun giveaway, I knew I had to get in on the fun! (Jenn is the creative powerhouse behind Soul's Fire Designs - she creates exquisite jewelry that you MUST go check out when you get a chance.)

Paying it forward means doing something nice for someone else, with no expectation of return - one person does something nice for someone else, who does something nice for someone else, who does something nice for someone else, and so on...(you didn't *really* want me to continue that, did you?)

So here's the deal:
The first three commenters on this post will receive a surprise gift from me within the next 365'll be handmade by me, so you know it's going to be cool, right? It'll be extra cool, because you won't know exactly what it is, or exactly when it'll arrive.

For the first three commenters, I will contact you in the near future (next week, most likely), and request your mailing addy and some ideas of what colors/themes/styles you like.

How to get in on the action:
Leave a comment WITH your email address AND post a Pay It Forward giveaway on YOUR blog too. Easy peasey!

Pay It Forward giveaway rules: Handmade item giveaway for first three commenters, surprise goodies to be sent/received at a surprise time within the next 365 days.

Oh, this is going to be such fun!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

May all be blessed: how one mom fights back

May all be blessed: etched metal art charm, lampwork bead, & recycled sari silk pendant by C. Hansen

Twice a day, I was reminded.

Every time I looked at the clock and it read 9:11, I remembered the horror of that day, the fear, the anger, the desperation, the unthinkable loss and devastation…and how the whole world changed, for all of us, forever.

At first, every time I saw that time appear on the clock, it made me ill, not only for me, but for everyone else too, knowing that they were experiencing the same negative feelings I was.

I quickly realized that this wasn’t how I wanted to live the rest of my life, in dread of seeing the time on the clock.

I decided to fight back, in my own way.

I decided to take that time back and turn it around, and turn it into something positive instead.

I decided to say a little prayer for everyone on the planet, figuring if each person is touched by grace, then just maybe, healing can begin.

The prayer had to be really short and easy to remember.

The prayer also had to bless everyone and everything, with no exceptions.

And the prayer had to be a prayer that anyone could use, because I wanted everyone on the planet to join me in saying it.

Now, twice a day, I am reminded to say, “May all be blessed.”

I invite you to join me in fighting back, by taking back these moments each day, either with “may all be blessed,” or with a prayer of your own.

Perhaps if each of us is blessed, even in some small way, we can make the world a better place.