wild foods feast, part 1: intro + dandelion!

i’ve been devoting a lot of time and energy lately to the natural motherhood series, and while i’m going to be continuing that as normal, i wanted to branch out and offer something that would appeal to the un-pregnant majority (a complete assumption) of my readership.  i was thinking about what i could add to my current series, which include the wheel of the year, natural motherhood, and herbal preparations, and my husband ingeniously suggested a series on wild edibles.  yum yum! Read the rest of this entry »

herbal preparations: honeys, oxymels, and elixirs

a bee from an egyptian hieroglyph

i figured i would take a short break from the series that i’m doing on natural motherhood and crank back up on a couple of my other projects.   something that i’ve been meaning to add for a while is a basic herbal preparations entry for sweet medicine—for honeys, oxymels, and elixirs.  honey (the common denominator between all three of these preparations) is a mysterious substance.  in the archaeology of beekeeping, author eva crane posits, based on neolithic cave paintings in valencia, spain, that honey has been a food source for humans for at least 10,000 years.  since the beginning of written history, thousands of medicinal and culinary uses of honey have graced the tablets and pages of our past.  yes, dried bee puke has held our interest for quite some time!  it has been used to treat wounds, to aid in the mummification process, to preserve food and drink, to sweeten things, and, as every granny knows, to stop a cough dead in its tracks! Read the rest of this entry »

a traditional wassail recipe…for the brave!

in my last post on the winter solstice, i mentioned a traditional drink called wassail that was passed out to peasants and serfs, and more modernly to carolers, around yule or christmas.   although the combination of ingredients is nothing shocking to a brit, we americans might be a bit taken aback by the idea of combining things like eggs, beer, and fortified wine.  those of you who are brave and who like to try new things might be interested in trying this recipe by one of my favorite cooks in the whole wide world, alton brown.  if the reviews on his website are any indication, you’ll either love this like a fat lady loves cake or you’ll hate it with a purple passion—but you never know ’til you try!! Read the rest of this entry »

make your own goat cheese!

in my attempt to revive antiquated kitchen skills, i’ve learned to make chicken stock, pickled veggies, jams and jellies, but one of my favorite d.i.y. things has been goat cheese.   i’m tempted to pick some up every time i go the store.  it just stares at me from the cold shelves of the “gourmet foods” section of the grocery store, all creamy and rolled in exotic herbs.  it says “buuuuy meeeee” (softly, and with the voice of mike rowe from “dirty jobs” lol). i pick it up, and i aaaaaalmost buy it—but then i look at the price—and i put it down.  let’s be honest.  it wouldn’t make it a day in my fridge—especially if there’s melba toast within reach.  i rarely buy it because i can’t justify the expense.  sorry mike. Read the rest of this entry »

herbal allies for college crunch time

eeek!

i was remarking to a friend at dinner tonight how odd (and completely wonderful) it is not to be writing 60-ish pages of final papers or preparing for final exams (for the first time in fooorrrrrr—eeeeeee-verrrrrrr).  i graduated with a master’s in english this past august, and for the three years leading up to that, november and april had always been times of anxiety, late nights, endless pots of coffee, sleeplessness, and eye-strain headaches.  i currently teach in the english department, but most of my friends are still in school there and are still having to deal with term papers and finals.  i feel their pain (even when i point and laugh >:D). Read the rest of this entry »

food as medicine: herbal chicken stock

i may be in the minority here, but as a been-drenched-in-sweat-for-six-months alabamian, i must say that i’m quite pleased that it’s finally starting to get cold (yes, here in bama we consider 60 degrees cold!).  cold weather means time for root veggies, pomegranates, greens, and squashes.  it’s a sign to everything in nature to slow down and rest.  aerial parts of plants begin to die back and all of the energy and vital force moves down into the roots for storage and for several months of waiting.  we slow down too—after the cold settles in, only the die-hard runners and joggers can be seen out on the roads.  the rest of us put on our robes, waddle to the windows, look out at the frost-covered cars and say “eh, maybe not today.” Read the rest of this entry »

healthy greens for potato chip addicts: kale chips

if you’re the kind of person who can sit down in front of the tv and eat a whole bag of potato chips at once, then this recipe is for you.  i found out about kale chips while surfing through raw food videos on youtube (my official opinion on going raw, btw, is that it’s difficult, unhealthy, and time consuming—but that doesn’t mean that using raw foods as part of your diet is a bad idea!)

so anyway, i found this recipe and was intrigued by it.  at first, i didn’t believe the claims about the rockin’ tastiness of dried kale, but i was looking for healthier snacks and it seemed something i might be able to try.  i used the raw foods method, meaning that my chips were dehydrated, not baked, but you can do either and i’m including instructions for both ways. Read the rest of this entry »

KOMBUCHA!! da-da dada-da-da da-da…

(for those of you who for some odd reason did not intuit this already, my title is to be sung to the tune of “tequila”)

over the past several years, i’ve developed an unhealthy obsession with kombucha (if you can have an unhealthy obsession with something so healthy), oftentimes paying up to $4.50 for a 20 oz bottle of the stuff.  the first time i tried kombucha, i didn’t really like it.  it’s very, very sour….almost vinegar-y.  and it’s got strange floating things in it that look like they should probably be strained out before any human being comes near it.  Read the rest of this entry »