Several years ago I had the honor of spending my spring, summer, and fall in the gardens and woodlands studying herbalism at Misty Meadows in Lee, NH.
It was such a rewarding experience to embrace Mother Nature and learn about what she offers to keep us healthy and to heal. And as crazy as this sounds, the plants did speak to me. But that is a whole other story…
The tradition of making ‘fire cider’ has been passed down from generations of herbalists since the 1980’s, starting with Rosemary Gladstar. One lovely fall weekend, the tradition was passed down to me to create this immune-boosting, infused apple cider vinegar elixir.
We started with a base of raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar and added harvested roots from the garden, such as burdock and horseradish, along with onions, garlic, hot peppers, and fresh herbs. The plants we chose were known for their amazing properties to support the immune system, while the cider vinegar was the medium used to draw out all of the therapeutic components from the plants.
Traditionally, you let the vinegar infuse for about 4 weeks and then strain all of the plant material. You can add ground cayenne if you want even more heat, and a bit of honey to sweeten it out.
At first taste it is a powerful, pungent, spicy shot of fiery plant love. The taste shocks some initially, while others just love it.
For me, I was a bit shocked, but then I felt the rush of heat and energy fill my body. I was immediately hooked.
Since I fully believe in the power of this traditional herbal remedy and wanted to spread the love for this immune boosting elixir, I created a special blend for The Juicery/Maine Squeeze community to enjoy. Although I no longer work there, my special blend is still available by the shot or by the bottle.
Fire cider can be enjoyed daily by the tsp. or Tbsp. to keep the immune system strong, kick a cold in the butt, break up any congestion in the body, increase circulation to warm you up, support your digestion system, and boost your energy.
While it was my teacher who taught me this traditional remedy, I can still hear the plants sharing their ancient wisdom in offering us healing and health through their use.
Now, let me share this tradition and wisdom with you. Join me for a combo yoga, reiki relaxation, and fire cider making workshop. For upcoming dates click here!
“We must cultivate an attitude of respect for all living plants and animals and accept them as a gift” – Michael Tierra
NOTE: this blog post was first published in The Squeeze, the Juicery blog.
Throughout my years in the culinary world I have received a lot of questions about my favorite cookbooks, kitchen tools, and resources.
Therefore, this holiday season I am going to tally these up for you so that you can give (or request!) these plant based chef approved gifts! They are great for any foodie, home cook, health nut, or for those with specific food allergies.
'Tis the season to live the delicious life!
Vegan Fusion World Cuisine by Mark Reinfeld and Bo Rinaldi
One of my all time favorite vegan cookbooks that is dear to my heart because it was written in Hawaii (where I used to live). I also had the honor to visit Mr. Reinfeld's amazing cafe in Kauai, The Blossoming Lotus, which was the first time my mind was blown away by vegan cuisine. A truly inspiring cookbook with easy recipes, info on veganism, and lovely photos of Hawaii.
How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman
Hands down THE BEST vegetarian reference cookbook. He also has this cookbook with meat proteins for your non-veg friends.
Eating Clean by Amie Valpone
Simple, clean vegan and gluten free recipes with a 21 day detox plan. I have tried many of her recipes and they come out delish!
The How Can it be Gluten Free Cookbook by America's Test Kitchen
I love anything from America's Test Kitchen because they tell you how and why things do or don't work. This is not vegan, but gives you a great understanding of gluten free cooking and baking.
Babycakes Covers the Classics by Erin McKenna
Super fun vegan and gluten free baked goods from the famous Babycakes bakery. Vegan donuts...enough said!
High Powered Blender - the Mercedes of blenders are the Vitamix brand, but I love my Warner professional.
Food Processor - the one I used professionally, that is a total beast, is the Breville Professional. This bad boy will NOT burn out! Mini choppers are also great to have in the kitchen. I have a Ninja mini chopper / blender set.
Knife Sharpener - maintaining sharp knives is essential in the kitchen. Get a good knife sharpening stone like this one.
Assorted Gift Basket - a good fine mesh strainer, wooden spoons, durable glass measuring cups, mini whisk, mini spatula, mini offset spatula, springform pans. I use all of these very often! Add some pretty kitchen towels as those get worn out quickly.
Education - for those who want to learn more, get them a gift certificate to online training. Great educational sites include:
FOR SEACOAST NEW ENGLAND GIFT GIVING
Workshops with me! People are purchasing tickets to my co-hosted yoga & herbalism workshops in January 2019 in the Portsmouth, NH area already. These make a fantastic gift for anyone who wants a relaxing, rejuvenating morning to themselves or with a friend. Click here to learn more.
Have a question about gift ideas? Send me an email!
**I am not being sponsored by any of the above. These are all sincere products and companies that I like!!
For all you banana bread fans who either want to cut down on the amount of wheat you are consuming or are gluten intolerant, here is a DELICIOUS recipe I created for you:
2 cups Gluten Free flour blend (I used Trader Joe’s, but also recommend King Arthur's)
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 Tablespoon chia seeds
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 organic eggs (try substituting 6 T water plus 2 T ground flax meal to make vegan)
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil (try coconut oil also)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 mashed bananas (if you are able to find apple bananas try 4 of these!)
If you want to learn more about gluten free baking then join me at my upcoming class at Frinklepod Farm in Arundel, Maine on Sunday, November 18 from 2-5pm. REGISTER HERE. Space is limited!
If you want more recipes on gluten free baking, check out my past blogpost that contains mexican chocolate chip cookies and sundried tomato basil muffins. Bye Bye wheat, hello yum!
Ah, the joys of autumn...the vibrant colors of the trees tantalizing the eyes, the crisp air refreshing our bodies, and of course the fun and joy of the approaching holidays.
This is the time of the year that we enjoy the amazing pumpkin which gives us the gastronomic satisfaction of yummy pumpkin pie and the creative satisfaction of making a scary jack-o-lantern. The other wonderful thing about the pumpkin is its often overlooked seeds. Pumpkin seeds contain enormous amounts of valuable nutrients and are darn tasty too.
A tradition of mine every Halloween is to pick out the perfect pumpkin, open it up and pull out all the seeds to toast, and then carve it. The seeds are easy to get to and fun to pull out as they are surrounded by the squishy pumpkin strings inside that are just plain fun to handle. It makes you feel like a kid again!
Once you separate the seeds from the pumpkin strings, rinse them off and let them dry on paper towels. You can then put them on a lightly oiled baking sheet and sprinkle with spices such as salt or paprika, or cinnamon and sugar, or what ever flavors you want them to have, and then toast them in the oven. Yummy!
So aside from how yummy they are you ask, "what are their nutritional benefits?" Well, according to research pumpkin seeds have high concentrations of zinc. Zinc is important in the treatment and prevention of male prostrate problems, enhancing wound healing, and helps support the immune system.
Pumpkin seeds are a good source of protein, iron, calcium, phosphorus, vitamin E, essential fatty acids, and niacin. These little guys are a powerhouse of nutrition and are easy to incorporate in your diet.
So get a pumpkin, have fun creating a work of art, and don't forget the seeds. Toast them and enjoy!
The transition to fall has officially begun in New England with cool nights, crisp days, colorful trees, and lots of flannel!
Local farms are packed with people excited to pick apples and indulge in apple cider donuts. Markets are filled with all sorts of funky pumpkins and gourds. Festivals are happening every weekend.
But along with the coziness and hot apple cider comes the common cold. And as the cooler weather progresses, community outings abound, and family gatherings begin, the immune system can easily get run down.
Thankfully, holistic practices like relaxation and herbalism can help keep your immune system strong during this time of year.
A few of my favorite cold fighting tips include:
I hope these tips are helpful to you and your family this cold and flu season. Please share in the comments below your favorite natural remedies for keeping your immune system vibrant and strong.
This blog is an exploration of life, love, adventure and art primarily through the medium of food.