Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Spelt Desillusion

My sister's test results for gluten intolerance (I suppose they only tested for coeliac) were negative. Yet she told me that she's seen and felt some improvements with her health problems with a gluten free diet, therefore she plans to continue with it.

I thought I would give spelt a try again. I haven't had any for the past 6 months at least and I have always liked its nutty taste (besides the fact that it's an ancient grain). Unfortunately after 2-3 days of reintroducing it in my diet, I've been starting to experience bloating, stomach aches and other benign digestive disorders...Therefore I think Spelt is something I can only have in small amount and once in a Blue Moon.

Oh well...

Yet I wonder if I would have more luck with sprouted spelt flour. Sprouted flours are highly digestible. According to Shiloh Farms' website : "When grains are sprouted they are converted into a living food with more vital nutrients that are more easily absorbed by the body. Sprouted flour digests as a vegetable not as a starch."

That might be worth trying, especially since I have found myself to be increasingly interested in sprouting and raw foods lately.

Monday, December 22, 2008

About Tincturing

Herbal teas and infusions have always been my favorite type of herbal medicine whether in a preventative or in a curative manner.
But since I've been experimenting (and having fun) with making scented tinctures for my incenses, I thought it was time for me to start making medicinal herbal tinctures as well. After all, life doesn't always allow you time for making tea or having the right herbs handy, especially when traveling.
I don't need large amounts and prefer using dried herbs. After consulting "Herbal Teas - 101 Nourishing Blends for Daily Health & Vitality" by Kathleen Brown (in which they also mention other forms of herbal medicine), I have calculated that for making 2oz of tincture, I needed about 1 tbsp of dried herbs. I'm well aware that these homemade tinctures won't probably have the same potency than commercial tinctures or ones made with fresh herb material...But I'm sure that they'll be just fine for my personal use (as well as family & friends) ;).
I already bottled an Elderberry & blossom tincture and just prepared a carminative/digestive blend of fennel & anise seeds.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Happy Yule!

"Standing in the circle,
Beneath the web of light
Dancing in the moonlight
On a cold new year's night
And it seemed we were lifted
Flown across the years
Power-circle shifted
By power-circle seers

And the Goddess and John Barleycorn
Will put flesh upon bones
Fly ribbons round the barrows
Plant footprints round the stones
The Goddess and John Barleycorn
Will keep the spirit strong
For those who remember
For those who sing the song

So stand in the circle
Weave the web of light
Dance in the moonlight
Bring fire to the night
Release the past that made us
Release the fire within
Revel in the mystery
And embrace your sacred kin."

Brian Boothby
Tomorrows Ancestor

Monday, December 08, 2008

Go Paleo!

"Our Ancestral Diet - A Way to Wellness"
http://www.consciouschoice.com/2001/cc1403/ancestraldiet1403.html

"Guts and Grease: The Diet of Native Americans"
http://www.westonaprice.org/traditional_diets/native_americans.html

Food Article "I'm a Natural Born Killer"
http://gremolata.com/Articles/386-Im-A-Natural-Born-Killer.aspx

Late Season Harvest

Yesterday, my husband and I went hiking for a very specific harvest: red colored blackberry leaves. This coloration naturally occurs late in the Fall and in the Winter when the plant goes into its dormant state.
We have lots of Himalayan Blackberries around here (a non native species that some consider to be an invasive weed). They are easy to recognize with their purplish stems. The back of the leaves is white with purple thorns. When they're fruiting, the fruits can get pretty big, sweet and juicy...They're also very productive!
So not only did we find the red leaves but we also found a few last juicy fruits, right under a cluster of Elder Trees (I call them the Three Sisters). Brambles and Elders seem to like each other's company ;).
So why harvest red blackberry leaves?
In "Drink in the Wild" by Hilary Stewart, it is said:
"...Leaves for tea are at their best when they are old and turning red. Dried leaves remaining on the plant in winter are also good for tea."
I don't know yet how the change in color is going to affect the taste of the tea. I also wonder if the red pigmentation implies a beneficial effect on blood circulation and strengthening the capillaries. It's supposed to be one of Blackberry's healing gifts...

Saturday, December 06, 2008

The Perfect Diet is...The One that Works for you!

There's no such a thing as a perfect diet. The reason is simple: we all are different and we all have different needs. Therefore the best diet is your own custom diet (I don't like that word, it sounds so negative...I should say your own custom "Nourishing Routine").

It's important to notice and know which foods:
  1. Energize you
  2. Drain you, deplete your energy and/or make you feel tired
  3. Make you feel good, comfortable, nourished and/or make you smile
  4. Make you feel sad, depressed or angry
  5. Make you sick, are hard to digest, make you feel uncomfortable and/or trigger aches in your body
  6. Prevent you from having a restful sleep

I always had what I thought to be a pretty healthy diet (by common standards): I ate whole grain foods, lots of vegetable, dairy products and was mostly vegetarian (I never really liked meat too much). In my family, we grew up with pasta and good bread (not hard to find in France). Yet since my childhood I've suffered from a mild lactose intolerance (I started to day with a hot chocolate and went to school with a stomach ache...Everybody said that I was probably a nervous child) and hypoglycemia. During my adolescence, I started showing signs of tachycardia (that I always and only treated with hawthorn tincture and tea). It took me a long time and other symptoms (apparently unlinked) to realize that I was also gluten sensitive/intolerant though I have never been officially diagnosed (your body knows what's right for you, right? As long as you're ready to listen).

Today my diet is a blend of gluten free, SCD, paleo with a touch of macrobiotic and raw foods. Besides a little yogurt and a little cheese, I don't eat dairy based products. I make my own nut milks and am starting to experiment with non-dairy yogurts. I eat lots of greens (some of which I grow) and drink nourishing herbal infusions. I'm trying to eat less GF grains though I'm not yet ready to give them up completely. I'm eating more meat which to my surprise, my body is craving and enjoying. I plan on (re)introducing sprouted seeds (just bought a sprouter) and smoothies and also plan on making my own nut butters and would love to make my own fermented foods (I forgot to mention that I cook everyday. I think it's essential when you follow a specific diet).

I feel much better eating nutritious foods: I seem to eat less and have less cravings. I also have more energy (and am starting to look forward to power walks and working out). My hypoglycemia is virtually gone: even when I'm getting hungry, I don't feel the urge to pop a piece of sugar in my mouth. I haven't had hawthorn tea or tincture for a couple months at least, even though I have a naturally fast beating heart (a nervous heart, the doctors said). I feel more positive, I have a nicer complexion and I've lost a little bit of weight too.

My experience has only been positive so far, I don't see any reason for me to stop. My little sister, who's been having different symptoms than mine but who's been suffering with various digestive problems for several years, is going to be tested for gluten intolerance next week. She's already made the first steps to a radical dietary change and knows that not only she'll have to take it seriously but that she will have to start cooking!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Wild Rice Mimetic Bread / Pain de Mime au Riz Sauvage


Another good "bread" recipe that I'd like to share ;).
As usual the recipe is for a small loaf; if you wish to make a regular size loaf of bread, just double the quantities (same thing for the previous recipes).

Comme d'habitude cette recette est pour un petit pain; si vous souhaitez faire un pain de taille normale (dans un moule à cake), il vous suffit juste de doubler les quantités (même chose pour les recettes précédentes).

Ingredients (1 cup/tasse = 250 ml; 1 tsp/cac = 5 ml):
  • 1 cup almond or hazelnut meal (you can easily make your own in an electric coffee grinder) / 1 tasse de poudre d'amandes ou de noisettes (vous pouvez facilement faire la vôtre avec un moulin à cafe électrique)

  • 1 cup cooked and cooled wild rice (leftovers work fine) / 1 tasse de riz sauvage cuit et refroidi (les restes d'un repas feront également l'affaire)

  • 1/4 cup chestnut flour / 65 ml de farine de chataîgne

  • 1/4 cup brown rice flour / 65 ml de farine de riz brun

  • 2 eggs / 2 oeufs

  • 1 tsp maple or agave syrup / 1 càc de sirop d'érable ou d'agave

  • 1/2 tsp gluten free baking powder / 1/2 càc de levure sans gluten

  • 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar / 1/2 càc de vinaigre de cidre

  • 1/8 tsp salt / 1/8 càc de sel

  • Water or nut milk if necessary / Eau de source ou lait végétal si nécessaire

Preheat the oven at 375F/160C. In a bowl mix all the dry ingredients: wild rice, almond or hazelnut meal, chestnut flour, rice flour, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, beat the eggs. Then add the maple or agave syrup and the vinegar. Mix well. Incorporate the wet mix into the dry mix and stir well. If the batter is to dry, add a little bit of water or nut milk. The batter should be thick but not runny. Pour into an oiled baking pan and bake for 45-50 minutes. Wait for the bread to cool down before removal from the pan and slicing the bread. Enjoy ;)!

Préchauffez le four à 160C/375F. Dans un récipient, mélangez tous les ingredients secs: riz sauvage, poudre d'amandes ou de noisettes, farine de chataîgne, farine de riz, levure chimique et sel. Dans un autre récipient, battez les oeufs. Ajoutez le sirop d'érable ou d'agave et le vinaigre aux oeufs battus. Incorporez le mélange liquide au mélange sec et remuez bien. Si la pâte est trop sèche, ajoutez un petit peu d'eau ou de lait végétal. La pâte doit être épaisse mais pas liquide. Versez-la dans un moule huilé et mettez à cuire au four pendant 45-50 minutes. Attendez que le pain refroidisse avant de le démouler et de le couper en tranches. Regalez-vous ;)!

Monday, December 01, 2008

Celebrate the Goddess through Joy

"The days grow shorter and the darkness encroaches. Deep within the sacred temple of your own heart, light the altar flames of joy and let them burn bright all the winter long.
Find the source of your Goddess-self, the spark of divine inspiration that led to your creation in this lifetime, with your own purpose and your own path.
Surrender to the brilliance that is you, unique and precious daughter of the universe.
Move from the core of your authentic being, and celebrate the Goddess within you - and every woman!"

From SageWoman 2008 Calendar

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Sleep Deficit: The Hidden Debt That's Hurting Us All

Slumber parties are in ;)...
http://www.experiencelifemag.com/issues/november-2008/health-wellness/sleep-deficit-the-hidden-debt-thats-hurting-us-all.html

Buckwheat Mimetic Bread / Pain de Mime au Sarrasin


So far this one is the tastiest of my hybrid breads. I seem to get the best combinations with nut meals and GF cooked grains (leftovers work just fine).

Le plus savoureux de mes pains hybrides à ce jour. Il semblerait que j'obtienne les meilleurs résultats en combinant poudres de noix et céréales cuites sans gluten (les restes d'un repas font l'affaire).

INGREDIENTS (for a small 4"x4" loaf / pour un petit pain de 10cm x 10cm):
  • 1 cup cooked and cooled kasha-toasted buckwheat / 1 tasse (env. 250 ml) de kaska-sarrasin grillé, cuit et refroidi

  • 1 cup of almond meal / 1 tasse de poudre d'amandes

  • 1/2 cup chestnut flour / 1/2 tasse (env. 125 ml) de farine de chataîgne

  • 2 eggs / 2 oeufs

  • 1 tsp maple syrup / 1 càc de sirop d'érable

  • 1/2 tsp GF baking powder / 1/2 càc de levure chimique sans gluten

  • 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar / 1/2 càc de vinaigre de cidre

  • 1/8 tsp salt / 1/8 càc de sel

  • Water or nut milk if necessary / Un peu d'eau ou de lait végétal si necessaire

Preheat the oven at 375F/160C. In a bowl mix all the dry ingredients: kasha, almond meal, chestnut flour, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, beat the eggs. Then add the maple syrup and the vinegar. Mix well. Incorporate the wet mix into the dry mix and stir well. If the batter is to dry, add a little bit of water or nut milk. The batter should be thick but not runny. Pour into an oiled baking pan and bake for 45-50 minutes. Wait for the bread to cool down before removal from the pan and slicing the bread. Enjoy ;)!

This mimetic bread reminds me of dark country breads. It is tasty, it has character and a little bit of sweetness...

Préchauffez le four à 160C/375F. Dans un récipient, mélangez tous les ingredients secs: sarrasin, poudre d'amandes, farine de chataîgne, levure chimique et sel. Dans un autre récipient, battez les oeufs. Ajoutez le sirop d'érable et le vinaigre aux oeufs battus. Incorporez le mélange liquide au mélange sec et remuez bien. Si la pâte est trop sèche, ajoutez un petit peu d'eau ou de lait végétal. La pâte doit être épaisse mais pas liquide. Versez-la dans un moule huilé et mettez à cuire au four pendant 45-50 minutes. Attendez que le pain refroidisse avant de le démouler et de le couper en tranches. Regalez-vous ;)!

Ce pain de mîme me rappelle les pains de campagne Nordiques ou d'Europe de l'Est. Il est goûteux, il a du caractère et une touche de douceur...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

"Let Thy Food be Thy Medicine" by Darcey Blue

I love folk medicine and grandmothers' remedies...
http://desertmedicinewoman.blogspot.com/2008/11/let-thy-food-be-thy-medicine.html

In the Mood for...Infused Vinegars

I bought some fresh organic cranberries and decided that I wanted to prepare a cranberry infused vinegar. So I filled a glass jar with roughly 1/2 cup of fresh cranberries, 2 tbsp of cane sugar (honey would have been better though) and covered with organic apple cider vinegar...Rendez-vous in 6 weeks for the result.

Cranberries are a natural source of vitamin C, much needed during Fall & Winter months. Vitamin C helps prevent & heal colds as well as affections of the upper respiratory tract, UTIs, it's energizing and it also helps the body absorb iron in food (vitamin C and iron work sinergetically; if your body lacks one, it probably lacks the other too).

I also had a pomegranate that started looking tired so I figured I would make a pomegranate vinegar like the luxurious ones you can find in fancy grocery stores. I opened the pomegranate and poured the seeds in a glass jar, added some leftover honey, some pomegranate concentrate and covered with organic balsamic vinegar. This vinegar was a little acidic so I think it can only improve itself, especially combined with honey. I'm not quite sure how it's gonna come out, but I'm hoping for a flavorful and syrupy vinegar...Yet I have no control over natural alchemy!

Then I strained a thyme infused vinegar (fresh thyme sprigs in organic apple cider vinegar) that I had almost forgotten about (it's been infusing for months!). And I decided to use part of it to make a thyme honegar with wild tasting forest honey (by mixing equal parts of infused vinegar and honey). I like adding a couple teaspoons or so to water, it makes a refreshing and flavorful drink...Plus thyme is one of my favorite herbs & a friend of the lungs (another useful ally during the cold months)!

Thoughts on Fog...

Today is a foggy day like I like them (the denser the better)...As far as my memory goes, I always have. Most people don't like fog for various reasons. I like its energy, its quiet eeriness, its magic. I like the fact that you can expect the unexpected to happen when it's foggy. It makes my feel alive & energized. It's a deep call that resonates on a soul level, something like an old friend or the way back home (Frank McEowen wouldn't disagree). A friend of mine used to say that "fog is made of the spirits of the dead", therefore it is highly spiritual. I agree to this and believe that the dead are calling us beyond the grave and beyond time and space to awaken in our lives and...to awaken spiritually.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Dark Side of the Food

For some reason lately, I've been attracted by ingredients that have a strong color. Especially black items: I have black quinoa, black forbidden rice...I'm currently interested in black sesame (I read the taste is different and that it has more health & nutritious benefits than regular sesame).
I also look for purple, blue, orange and red things to eat...Needless is to say that my cuisine has become more colorful or at least more interesting visually.
If you are what you eat, does that make me a rainbow ;)?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Natural Exfoliation

I just finished knitting my first exfoliating glove for the body. I've been inspired by Moroccan body care with my own twist (read the benefits under my listing). This one is made of jute, but I plan on using other natural fibers such as hemp, nettle, linen or sisal. And maybe make travel size ones as well.

I'd like to make gentle facial gloves too. Some people can't use even the most gentle face masks because their skin is so sensitive. I found some very soft cotton that I think would be just perfect for this project.

I also plan on knitting eco-friendly bags using the same natural fibers: they have the advantage to be natural, sturdy, long-lasting and biodegradable!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Mimetic Bread with Rice / Pain de Mime au Riz

This is not a traditional bread and kind of a hybrid between gluten free and SCD bread.

For 1 loaf, you'll need / Pour 1 pain:
  • 1 1/2 cups almond meal / 1 tasse 1/2 de poudre d'amandes (1 tasse = environ 250 ml)
  • 1 cup cooked and cooled brown rice / 1 tasse de riz brun cuit et refroidi
  • 1/8 to 1/4 tps salt / 1/8 a 1/4 càc de sel
  • 1/2 tsp GF baking powder / 1/2 càc de levure chimique sans gluten
  • 3 eggs / 3 oeufs
  • 1-2 tsp maple syrup / 1 ou 2 càc de sirop d'érable
  • 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar / 1/2 càc de vinaigre de cidre

Preheat the oven at 180C/375F. In a bowl mix the almond meal, the rice, the salt and the baking powder. In another container, mix the eggs, the maple syrup and the vinegar. Incorporate the wet mixture into the dry one and mix thoroughly. Pour into an oiled 6" x 3" baking tin (I used a square 2 cup "Bake n' Keep" glass container by Anchor, smaller in length but higher, allowing bigger slices). Bake for 45 to 60 minutes. Depending on what type of baking container you used, this bread will give you between 6 and 12 slices. Enjoy!

Since it isn't a real bread yet a rich and nutritious one, you won't feel the need to eat a lot of it. I usually slice it and freeze the slices until I need to toast some ;).

I plan on trying variations of that bead with different nut meals/flours, cooked GF grains and even cooked legumes like lentils. My next loaf with probably be hazelnut with wild rice ;).

Préchauffer le four à 180C/375F. Dans un récipient, mélanger la poudre d'amandes, le riz, le sel et la levure chimique. Dans un autre récipient, mélanger les oeufs battus, le sirop d'érable et le vinaigre. Incorporer le mélange liquide au mélange solide et bien remuer. Verser la préparation dans un moule huilé mesurant approximativement 15cm x 7cm (pour ma part, j'ai utilisé un moule en verre carré d'une contenance de 500ml de chez Anchor. Il est plus petit mais également plus haut, ce qui me permet d'avoir de plus grandes tranches). Cuire le pain entre 45 et 60 minutes. Selon le moule utilisé, vous devriez avoir l'équivalent de 6 à 12 tranches.

Comme ce n'est pas un vrain pain et qu'il est riche et nutritif, vous n'éprouverez certainement pas le besoin d'en manger beaucoup. Faîtes comme moi, coupez-le en tranches et mettez-les à congeler. Vous en toasterez une quand vous en aurez besoin ;).

Je compte essayer des variations de cette recette avec différentes poudres/farines de noix, des céréales cuites (sans gluten) et même des légumineuses cuites comme les lentilles par exemple. Je pense que mon prochain pain sera avec des noisettes et du riz sauvage ;).

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Alchemy of Tea

It was refreshing to read Kiva Rose's post on "The Primal Allure of Tea". She put to words what every Wise Woman and tea drinker feels deep inside. She also reminded me how important tea is to me. I've had a long relationship with herbs and I can't see a day go by without having my ritual 3 cups of tea.

Beyond the fragrance and the taste, beyond the nourishment and medicine, there is also the sense of timelessness and instant well-being. A cup of tea is a cup of joy: I am always looking forward to preparing a cup of tea either from 1 herb or one of my blends. I know that after pouring the hot water in the cup, inhaling the scent and waiting a little, I will enjoy my magical brew and I will feel better no matter what. Time will stop for a few minutes. No more worries, no more problems, no more pain...No more nothing. Just me and my tea, allowing my mind to wander and to connect with the Great Mother & All That Is, with Past, Present & Future, the Above & the Below as well as the Inner Worlds.

When I need deeper nourishment, I prepare some nourishing herbal infusions...I do this only when I feel that my body needs is (though lately I haven't been needing much. I guess I have been getting all the nourishment my body needs...I have also been enjoying nut milks).

Some people may wonder how can a few leaves, flowers, roots, barks and spices do so much for you? To me tea is a complex alchemy: each herb is charged with the forces of Nature. The Elements, Earth & Sky, Sun & Rain, the Seasons, Sun, Moon & Stars, Planetary influences, Time passing by, Faery Blessings...You get all that in a cup of tea!

Some of my favorite herbs are: rooibos, nettle, wild thyme, elder blossoms & berries, hawthorn, roses & rosehips, blackberry & strawberry leaves (and fruits), rosemary, lemon balm, plantain, oatstraw, mallows, dandelion, warming spices such as ginger & cinnamon...

Tea talks to us in a subtle level: it nourishes our body, it uplifts our mood/spirit, it heals our heart, it soothes our mind, it heals & strengthens our soul...Tea blesses us with health & wholeness!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

ROPE INCENSE


I'm glad to introduce this new incense of mine ;).

I make my rope incenses with organic cotton twine and homemade scented tinctures. I find that twine absorbs and holds scents better than paper does.

This type of incense is fragrant, natural and slow burning...In other words: perfect!

I currently offer Frankincense & Myrrh, White Sage and Western (Siskiyou) Cedar.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

When you go shopping, bring your own bag(s)...

If you wonder: "Why?" (or even if you don't)...Read this article :
http://grocery-bags.com/Plastic_Nor_Paper__To_Make.html

In order to encourage people to bring their own bags when shopping, Whole Foods stores deduct 5 cents per bag you bring (at least my local Whole Foods does)...

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Celebrate the Goddess through Love

"As a mother loves her tender child, so the Great Mother loves each breathing creature upon the Earth. Honor Her by caring for all beings, both animal and human, as the Wheel of the Year moves into the deepening time.
Offer shelter and comfort in simple ways, and listen to your own animal nature too, caring for yourself through quietness, retreat, and rest. Lovingly give yourself all that is needed for your own wholeness.
Let the cycle of the year's rhythms guide you, always listening to the powerful heartbeat of Mother's love."

From SageWoman 2008 Calendar

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Samhain!

For this special time of the year, I will quote Judith Berger's book "Herbal Rituals":

"Once upon a time, Halloween, All Soul's Day, and the Day of the Dead were considered a three-day month that stood apart from the rest of the year. Freeing the passage of three sunrises and sunsets from the written calendar added to the otherworldly feel of this triad of days. Indeed, unbound from the predictable, calendric rhythm, these three days inspired devotion to the unknowable and invisible, the chaotic and surprising.
...
Using these three days to pause and immerse ourselves in timelessness and not-knowing, can perhaps begin to expand our palette of responses to the unknown, replacing our fear with wonder as we bravely acquaint ourselves with the floating cycle of the void. Pausing exists in the most basic rhythms of nature.
...
As we come to the end of a single yearly cycle, it is fitting that we dwell, even if only briefly, in the void between one year and the next, letting the full body of the year sink in before we step outside to greet yet another cycle of the earth's journey around the sun..."

Blessings to all as we say goodbye to the past year & all that were, and welcome the new year with its mysteries and wonderful possibilities ;).

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Nut & Grain Milk Books...

I recommend these 3 helpful books for those who wish to make their own non-dairy milks:

  • "Milk Recipes from Nuts & Seeds" by Edith V. Edwards

A basic book for the purist, includes gluten free grains (such as millet, quinoa and rice) too. For each nut/seed/grain, there is a Nutritional Analysis. The book also includes recipes for Fruit & Nut Pulp Spreads as well as Nut & Seed Pulp Loaves and Patties.

  • "Not Milk...Nut Milks!" by Candia Lea Cole

This book is more of a gourmet recipe book with 40 different recipes (no grains in this one) including hints, tips, health benefits and nutritional tidbits. You'll find mouth watering recipes such as "Sweet Pear and Pine Nut Milk", "Apple Ginger Almond Milk" and "Caramel Date Pecan Milk" just to name a few...

  • "Laits et Yaourts Végétaux Faits Maison" by Anne Brunner

This book is in French and I don't think it's been translated in English. The title means "Homemade non-dairy milks and yogurts" using nuts, grains and seeds raw, cooked, as flours/farinas, as nut butters and even as instant drinks. Recipes also explain how to make non-dairy cheeses, creams, mock fromage blanc and whipped cream. A good part of the book's recipes involves soy products and how to make them (milk, yogurt, tofu...). Other recipes include spreads, desserts, smoothies and sorbets/ice creams.

Have fun, enjoy and be healthy!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

...And Grain Milk A Few Hours Later

I had some leftover cooked millet which I didn't know what to do with so I figured I might as well try making some milk with it (see my post below).
Conclusion: it works and should work with other grains too; keeping the same ratio: 1/2 cup cooked grains, 2 cups water (I use boiling water) and 1 tbsp natural sweetener. The trick is to puree the grains with a little water first, before adding the rest of the water. Otherwise the milk will turn out like flavored colored water...
Yet I prefer nut milks overall: they have a stronger taste and a nice consistency (though they tend to separate a little...especially the sunflower milk). Grain milks (they also tend to separate) taste more bland (which is probably better for cooking/baking) and have a little floury aftertaste & texture.

Nut Milk Story...

I've been experimenting with a few nuts and seeds for homemade non-dairy milks. Some work well, some don't...But it's mostly a matter of taste!

I liked:
  • Almond Milk
  • Hazelnut Milk
  • Sunflower Milk (Sunflower seeds are nutritious and are known to be beneficial to sick people as well as people recovering from an illness)
  • Pine Nut Milk (It tastes wild! Straight from the woods with piny undertones...It's an acquired taste.)

I didn't like:

  • Pistachio Nut Milk (I think pistachios would work better as a nut butter)

Was just OK:

  • Chestnut Milk (Made with chestnut flour. I love chestnuts but it wasn't the best suited medium for them...I might have more luck with cooked chestnuts)

I still have a few nuts and seeds to try...

Now regarding grain milks, I haven't been very successful so far: I've tried whole & raw, flours, farinas, rolled flakes...They just come out plain tasting and watery. Maybe I should try cooking the grains first, then blending with water as mentioned on Gluten A Go Go.

For her Oat Milk, she suggests using: "1/2 cup of cooked certified gluten free oats, 1 Tb agave syrup and 2 cups of water. Dump the oats into your food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Then add the agave syrup and pulse. Pour in the water and pulse to blend. Be careful not to pulse too long as the water might/will leak out from under the lid of your food processor and onto the counter. Store oat milk in the refrigerator. "

Note that non-dairy milks can be kept up to 3 days in the fridge...

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Spirit of Fall Incense

>SPIRIT OF FALL is a new incense in the Spirit of the Season with a blend of wildcrafted frankincense, wildcrafted cedar leaves and organic seasonal herbs & flowers...It smells wonderful and is a great incense for purification, protection and blessings!

>SPIRIT OF FALL (Esprit de l'Automne) est un nouvel encens imprégné de l'énergie de cette saison avec un mélange d'oliban, de feuilles de cèdre ainsi que des plantes et fleurs biologiques et de saison...Cet encens sent merveilleusement bon et est indiqué pour purifier, protéger et bénir!

Paleo Mock Cocoa / Faux Chocolat Chaud

The recipe emerged from a delicious mistake...I was trying to make a chestnut cream from scratch for breakfast ;).

Cette recette est née d'une délicieuse erreur...Je voulais préparer une crème de chataîgne pour le petit déjeuner.

You'll need:
  • 1 to 1 1/2 tbsp chestnut flour (depending on how thick you like your beverage) / 1 à 1 càs et demie de farine de chataîgne (selon l'épaisseur desirée du breuvage)
  • 1 cup of nut milk (I used homemade almond milk) / 250 ml de lait végétal d'oléagineux (j'ai utilisé du lait d'amande fait maison)
  • Optional: a natural sweetener such a maple syrup, honey or agave syrup / Un sucrant naturel comme le sirop d'érable, le miel ou le sirop d'agave

>In a saucepan, toast the chestnut flour slightly. Little by little, whisk in the nut milk. Allow the mixture to boil, then lower the heat to a simmer, until desired thickness is reached. Strain the beverage (there might be some lumps).

Since chestnut flour has a natural sweetness (and some chocolatey undertones), I recommend you only add some sweetener if necessary and in a small amount. Your mock hot chocolate is ready! Enjoy ;).

Serving: 1 mug/ Pour 1 tasse.

>Dans une casserole, mettre la farine de chataîgne a toaster légèrement. Petit à petit, ajouter en fouettant le lait végétal. Faire bouillir la mixture puis laisser reduire à petit feu jusqu'à l'obtention de l'épaisseur desirée. Filtrer le breuvage (il peut y avoir des grumeaux).

Etant donné que la farine de chataîgne est naturellement douce (et avec un petit arrière-goût de chocolat), je recommande de n'ajouter un sucrant que si nécessaire et en petite quantité. Votre faux chocolat chaud est prêt a être dégusté ;).

A Belated Thank You...

...To Docwitch from Dark Side of the Broom for giving me an award.

I didn't know what it meant and what the rules were.

As to naming 7 other blogs, the choice will be very tough...


Mushroom Update...

I started my Portobello Kit on September 22nd and the mushrooms are growing nicely. I'm about to have my first harvest already! You'll notice on the picture that the mushrooms look a little cracked. I believe it has to do with the warm & dry weather we've been having lately, no matter how moist I've kept the mushroom bed.


J'ai commencé mon kit de champignons Portobello le 22 septembre et les champignons ont deja bien poussés. Je suis sur le point d'avoir ma première récolte! Sur la photo, vous pouvez constater que les champignons sont un peu craquelés. Je pense que c'est à cause du temps chaud et sec que nous avons eu récemment, malgré le fait d'avoir maintenu le lit des champignons humide.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Magic Pumpkin Face Mask / Masque à la Citrouille

I love pumpkins! I've always found them both fascinating and mysterious. This new seasonal face mask is an ode to pumpkin and natural beauty.

My Magic Pumpkin Face Mask is 100% natural & hand blended with pumpkin powder, rhassoul clay as well as whole milk powder. All the ingredients I use are pure, nothing has been added. This is a very gentle, soothing and softening mask. (For more infos about the skin/health benefits, see my listing).

J'adore les citrouilles et autres cucurbitacées! Je les ai toujours trouvées à la fois fascinantes et mystérieuses. Ce nouveau masque saisonnier est une ode à la citrouille et à la beauté naturelle.

Mon Magic Pumpkin Face Mask (Masque à la Citrouille Magique) est 100% naturel et preparé de manière artisanale avec de la citrouille en poudre, du rhassoul et du lait entier en poudre. Tous les ingrédients utilisés sont purs, rien n'a été ajouté. C'est un masque doux, léger et agréable qui laisse la peau douce et radieuse.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

GF Almond Bread

I just tried the Simple Bread recipe from Elana's Pantry, using blanched almond flour and a few eggs. The loaf is small and nutritious but also dense and a little heavy on the stomach.
Though it tastes good, it is not something I'll bake too often because it is rich and let's face it: almonds and nuts in general are a little pricey (especially organic ones).
You can save some money by grinding your own nut meals/flours though. I am still willing to give it a try with other nuts like hazelnuts. And maybe add a teaspoon of oil, because the bread is a little dry.
The recipe also requires 3 eggs for a small 6 x 3 in. loaf...If you wanted to bake a regular size loaf, you'd need about 5 cups of almond flour and 6 eggs!
A luxury loaf it is ;)!

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Crème Dessert / Dessert Cream

I have adapted and translated this recipe from Eva Claire Pasquier's book "Recettes Gourmandes Pour Personnes Sensibles" (she calls this dessert "Crème Patissière Légère").


For 3 ramequins, you'll need:


  • 1 1/4 cup of non dairy or nut milk (I used homemade almond milk) / Environ 250ml de lait végétal (J'ai utilisé du lait d'amande fait maison)

  • 1 1/2 tbsp rice flour or cream of rice / 1 càs et demie de farine de riz ou de crème de riz

  • 1 tbsp almond or hazelnut butter / 1 càs de purée d'amandes ou de noisettes

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract / 1 càc d'extrait de vanille

  • 1 or 2 tbsp maple syrup /1 ou 2 càs de sirop d'érable

In a pan, pour the rice flour with the cold milk, the vanilla and the maple syrup. Turn the stovetop on medium heat and stir/wisk until the mix starts getting thicker. Then remove the pan from the stovetop and let it cool a little. Stir in the almond or hazelnut butter then it's ready to serve.

It's a quick and tasty dessert to prepare. If you like you cream a little thick, use cream of rice rather than rice four. You can enjoy this dessert warm or cold, alone or along with cookies, some cakes or even some fruits. Feel free to experiment with different milks and nut butters. I think using chestnut flour instead of rice flour would give an interesting result...

Verser la farine de riz avec le lait froid, la vanille et le sirop d'érable dans une casserole. Faire chauffer et mélanger sans cesse sur feux doux jusqu'à épaississement. Retirer du feu et laisser un peu refroidir. Ajouter la purée d'amandes ou de noisettes en mélangeant bien. C'est prêt!

C'est une délicieuse recette, facile à préparer. Si vous aimez votre crème un peu épaisse, je vous suggère d'utiliser la crème de riz plutôt que la farine de riz. Vous pouvez déguster ce dessert chaud ou froid, seul ou accompagné de biscuits, gâteaux ou même de fruits. Je vous invite à expérimenter avec differents laits végétaux et purées d'oleagineux. Je pense qu'il serait intéressant d'utiliser de la farine de chataîgne à la place de la farine de riz...


Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Celebrate the Goddess through Magic

"Do you believe in magic? You should, for magic is simply the act of bringing your dreams into reality. By clearly visualizing what you wish for, you add the magical power of your intention and your will to the bubbling brew of creation.
Magic is all around in this season of the Crone Goddess - she lends Her ancient powers of wisdom, perspective, experience and endurance to help you transform. Release what no longer serves you, and reach out for the life you truly wish to live.
When you believe, you make it all real."

From SageWoman 2008 Calendar

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Andrew's GF Birthday Cake Translated

You'll need:
  • 125g cane sugar
  • 75g almond meal
  • 100g dark chocolate (I used chocolate chips)
  • 50g potato starch
  • 2 tbsp oil (I used roasted almond oil)
  • 4 eggs

In a bowl put the sugar, almond meal, 1 whole egg and 3 egg yolks. Stir with a spatula for 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in the chocolate that has been melted with a minute amount of water (I used homemade almond milk), then the potato starch, the oil and the 3 egg whites whipped until stiff. Pour the batter in an oiled pan and bake for 20 to 30 minutes in a 180-200 C/375 F preheated oven. Enjoy ;).

Wild Blackberry Sorbet / Sorbet aux mûres sauvages

Very easy to prepare and packed with flavor.

All you need is:
  • About 1/2 lb of frozen wild blackberries / environ 250g de mûres sauvages surgelées
  • Some organic apple juice (with nothing added) / du jus de pomme bio (sans rien ajouté)
  • Some agave syrup if necessary / du sirop d'agave si nécessaire

Put the berries into a blended and add a little apple juice. Start blending little by little (you don't want the blender to overheat) until you reach the desired consistency. If you feel that the sorbet is too thick, add a little more apple juice. Pour into a container and if needed, adjust the sweetness with a little agave syrup (I used about 1 tbsp or so). Close the container and put it in the freezer. After 20 to 30 minutes, stir the sorbet with a fork. Do this 2 or 3 times to have an homogeneous texture. Then...Enjoy ;)!

Feel free to experiment with different frozen fruits/berries, fruit juice, nut milks and natural sweeteners.

Mettez les baies dans un mixeur et ajoutez un peu de jus de pomme. Mixez petit à petit (vous voulez éviter que le mixeur surchauffe) jusqu'à l'obtention de la texture que vous souhaitez. Si le sorbet vous paraît trop épais, ajoutez un petit peu plus de jus de pomme. Versez dans un container et ajoutez un peu de sirop d'agave si vous jugez que c'est nécessaire (j'ai utilisé 1 bonne cuillère à soupe de ce sirop). Fermez le container et mettez-le au congélateur. Après 20 à 30 minutes, remuez le sorbet avec une fourchette. Répétez l'opération 2 ou 3 fois de manière à obtenir une texture homogène. Ensuite...Régalez-vous!

Vous pouvez expérimenter avec différents fruits/baies surgelé(e)s, jus de fruits, lait végétaux et sucres naturels.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Happy Equinox / Mabon!

While most people feel melancholic and even lethargic in the Fall, I feel awakened, renewed and inspired! (Probably because of my introspective nature...)

Yesterday I celebrated my 30th birthday with a trip to a local mountain (and a homemade GF/DF pear & hazelnut pie) where I was hoping to see some Fall foliage along with a breath of fresh mountain air. We went to an altitude of approximately 3000 feet/1000 meters where there were plenty of oaks but no pines. Though we could feel the change of season, the foliage was just starting to change color. I think we will need to wait a few weeks before seeing any major color change and for the air to get cooler and charged with that specific Autumn smell that I adore.

Yet I was lucky to find & harvest a few wild rosehips (probably from 2-3 different varieties, judging from the differences in size and shape)...Not enough to make jam but once cut, cleaned and dried, I'm sure they'll make a delicious tea ;).



Today I started my Portobello mushroom kit from Mushroom Adventures. I've never grown mushrooms before so I'm very excited about it...And when you know how much they charge for portobellos nowadays! Anyway, 3 to 5 weeks of patience and care are required before the first harvest...


I'm also looking forward to tasting a cup of Castagno Caffé / Chestnut Coffee from Chestnut Trails (just got it today in the mail). It's made of 100% dried roasted chestnuts and is caffeine free as well as gluten free (with the exception of chicory root - which is not pregnancy friendly - and dandelion root, most coffee substitutes are made of grains). Though I've never been a coffee person, I enjoy drinking a cup of faux coffee once in a while (or more often if it's really good).

Friday, September 19, 2008

Andrew's Birthday Cake

A gluten free (using almond meal + a little bit of potato starch) and dairy free chocolate cake that was light, moist and tasty...Both Andrew & I enjoyed it very much. Definitely a keeper!

I found the recipe under a french blog: http://sanslaitsansgluten.over-blog.net/article-13132580.html

The trick about french recipes is that the ingredients have to be measured by weight, not by cups. It's the key to success ;).

Autumn Cinnamon Lip Balm


I like following the cycles of Nature (the cyclical/lunar/seasonal changes in our body remind us that we are Nature's children) and especially the changes of Seasons.

This is very much reflected in my creations and offerings; for this season, cinnamon seemed a natural choice.

Autumn Cinnamon Wise Woman Lip Balm is handmade with organic cinnamon chips infused in a blend of organic extra virgin olive oil & organic sunflower oil, unrefined beeswax, raw honey and vitamin E.

Enjoy ;).

Thursday, September 18, 2008

More Paper Incense...


I'm currently making some paper incense which I haven't been doing for a while. I enjoy the whole "alchemical" process of preparing the scented tinctures, which reveal their magic and scents only after a few weeks. Then comes the soaking of the paper (with a brush) which I find quite relaxing, it's like meditation in movement. I'm not sure how letting the scented paper age affects the scent...It's a personal choice that I leave to the ones willing to experiment and surrender to timelessness.

I find that strong aromatic herbs, tree trimmings, resins and spices give the best results. My personal favorites are the wild scents reminiscent of Ancient Woods. I believe that a little bit of the tree/plant spirits and their memory (trees are keepers of time) are infused in the tinctures as well, adding to the uniqueness of the concoctions.

I currently offer some lavender, douglas fir and eucalyptus paper incenses...And plan on adding more soon ;).

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Gardening with a French Touch...

I highly recommend reading articles from L'Atelier Vert on kitchen gardening (le potager = the kitchen garden). The current one is on (wild) purslane..."A weed?!" You're gonna say.

Yes! We French people (and I believe Europeans in general) love to eat nourishing weeds, wild edibles and forgotten vegetables (you won't find these delicacies at your local grocery store but if you're lucky you might be able to spot some at the farmers market).

You can also find some in your garden (if you don't spray any pesticides), your neighborhood or the nearby woods. Don't harvest anything you aren't 100% sure about, there are a lot of look-alikes that can be toxic or poisonous. The safest option would be to grow your own...

Don't skip the old posts, they are all very interesting reads... http://www.frenchgardening.com/aupotager.html

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Food & Behavior

We are what we eat, it's a fact.
The solution(s) to our health, psychological and behavior problems may well be found in our plates...

http://nourishedmagazine.com.au/blog/articles/food-and-behaviour

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Autumn Goodies...

I am still in the process of updating my shop with seasonal items...I have 3 or 4 new products that need to be tasted and tested before listing them.

In the Skin/Body Care sections, you will find the following items:
  • Autumn Fairy Facial Elixir
  • Woodland Fairy Facial Elixir
  • Wise Woman Autumn Cream
  • La Campagne Face Mask...and more

http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=36753&section_id=5101995

I'm hoping to soon add a cinnamon infused lip balm and a pumpkin face mask ;).

In the Artisan Tea section, you can already find:
  • Amber Spice Tea
  • Journey to Middle-Earth
  • Thé d'Automne
  • Samhain/All Hallows tea...and more

http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=36753&section_id=5096792

I'm working on 2 different & new Chai variations that I'm hoping to add within a few weeks...

I also plan to offer herbal dryer sachets as a natural alternative to chemical, toxic and allergenic scents of commercial softeners.

Thank you for browsing ;).

Automne

"Le vent tourbillonnant qui rabat les volets
Là-bas tord la foret comme une chevelure.
Des troncs entrechoqués monte un puissant murmure
Pareil au bruit des mers rouleuses de galets.

L'Automne qui descend les collines voilées
Fait sous ses pas profonds tressaillir notre coeur.
Et voilà que s'afflige avec plus de ferveur
Le tendre désespoir des roses envolées.

Le vol des guêpes d'or qui vibrait sans repos
S'est tu; le pêne grince à la grille rouillée.
La tonnelle grelotte, et la terre est mouillée
Et le linge blanc, claque, éperdu, dans l'enclos.

Le jardin nu sourit comme une face aimée
Qui vous dit longuement adieu quand la mort vient.
Seul, le son d'une enclume ou l'aboiement d'un chien
Monte, mélancolique, à la vitre fermée.

Suscitant des pensers d'immortelles et de buis,
La cloche sonne, grave, au coeur de la paroisse.
Et la lumière, avec un long frisson d'angoisse,
Ecoute au fond du ciel venir les longues nuits."

Albert Samain

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Words of Comfort for Sensitive People

"...Nobody could predict the leap in food allergies that has unfortunately taken place over the last few years. Instead of being defeated, we should take advantage of this, finding new and exciting ways of eating and enjoying sensitively prepared food with the people we love to be with."

From "More from the Sensitive Gourmet" by Antoinette Savill

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Celebrate the Goddess through Solitude

"As women, we give ourselves away to many people everyday. Even when this is done in love and joy, it is still depleting if we don't renew ourselves in solitude.
Autumn equinox is a powerful time for inner journeying, being alone in nature, writing in your journal, planning for the months to come. This is a time of year when the Goddess encourages you to get serious about your spiritual path.
Whether your retreat is for an hour, a day or longer, let the rest of the world take care of itself for a while. It's time to care for you."

From SageWoman 2008 Calendar

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Pine Nut Milk / Lait de Pignons de Pin

This pine nut milk has a beautiful white color and has pretty much the richness and density of whole milk. This is a tasty, sweet, wild and nutritious milk with a velvety feel in the mouth.
Since it's this is my first try with pine nuts, I chose to make a small batch (also because because it's somewhat a luxury nut): 1/4 cup pine nuts to 1 1/2 cups of boiling water and 1 tbsp of honey (but you can add a little more if you like your milk sweeter; I bet maple syrup would make this milk taste even more wild)...Refrigerate and enjoy within 3 days ;).

Ce lait végétal a la couleur, la richesse et la densité du lait entier. Il a un très bon goût çà la fois doux et sauvage) et est également très nutritif. Comme c'est mon premier essai avec les pignons et que ceux-ci ne sont pas très bon marché, j'ai décidé de préparer ce lait en petite quantité: 65 ml de pignons de pin, 375 ml d'eau bouillante et 1 cuillère a soupe (15 ml) de miel (vous pouvez en ajouter davantage si vous l'aimez plus sucré ou bien essayez avec du sirop d'érable pour donner à ce lait végétal un goût encore plus sauvage)...Conservez au réfrigerateur pendant 3 jours et régalez-vous ;).

More about Pine Nuts:
  • They contain vitamins A, B1, B3, B3, C, E; calcium, magnesium, manganese, potassium, phosphorus, copper, iron, zinc; fiber, protein, oleic acid/unsaturated fat
  • Pine nuts are energy-providing and nutritious. They protect against heart disease and some cancers. They aid liver function and metabolism, boost energy, and benefit the blood, muscles, nerves, mucous membranes, and the skin.

From "The Complete Guide to Nutritional Health" by Pierre Jean Cousin & Kirsten Hartvig

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Autumn

"West Wind, all that you are -
Season of autumn, house of chill black winds, twilight of the day, dying fires of sunset.
Dwelling place of the bear, the raven, and the thunderbeings.
Guardian of the adults.
Place of introspection, harvest and healing.
Time for putting the garden to rest, gathering the last bounty of summer,
And taking stock of the harvest.
Cycle of leaves falling, stems turning brittle, and berries shriveling.
Guide us though this season of turning within, collecting ourselves, and preparing For the deep rest of winter.
Help us accept what our garden has produced, and let go of what was,
And what wasn't.
Walk with us as we grieve, celebrate, reflect.
There will be other summers.
Hear our prayers that what we have gathered will be sufficient
To take us through the dark nights and cold days of winter.
Hear our prayers for healing the wounds of the past seasons.
Open our ears to the rutting songs of the elk and the moose,
Our eyes to the clouds of migrating birds, and our hearts to stillness.
West Wind, blow through us. Bring us your blessings and your wisdom."

From "Why Buffalo Dance - Animal and Wilderness Meditations through the Seasons" by Susan Chernak McElroy

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Know Yourself...

We all want to be acknowledged and respected. We all want to achieve something and be remembered for that or just for who we are.

Today I'm not the same girl who left France 5 years ago...I have changed. I made choices for my life (on a spiritual level as well) that some don't know and/or don't/won't understand. I'm not looking for fame or riches like so many out there. I just want a simple & natural life, rich of experiences (or stories to tell) yet grounded. I don't want to be rich, I just want to have enough to live a decent life without worries...It doesn't mean that I don't have dreams or ambitions.

Today I can say that I know who I am, what I want (to achieve, for myself & mine) and what I'm worth. With that in mind, anything is possible because the world and life are as you dream them...

Sunday, August 17, 2008

"Welcome the Fall" Bread / Pain d'Automne


Homemade with whole spelt, oat and chestnut flours + a touch of mountain honey... Tasty, nourishing & wild ;).

Fait avec un mélange de farines d'épeaûtre, d'avoine et de chataigne ainsi qu'une touche de miel de montagne...Délicieux, nourrissant et un brin sauvage.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Words of Wisdom from Robert Shapiro

http://benevolentmagic.blogspot.com/2008/08/pay-attention-to-your-world-around-you.html

Preparing for the Fall...

This Summer, we've had a cooler weather than usual here by the Coast in Southern California (which didn't surprised me, since I had been told so by the Spirits a couple months ago), therefore my summer plants have been growing slower and I hope to harvest my zucchinis, fennel bulbs, ice beans and tomatoes in the Fall (1 of them is a Black Zebra tomato, a variety enjoying cool weather anyway).

I've already felt the first signs of the Fall, slowly but surely moving in. The light, the temperatures, the leaves...Are all hints of its yet discreet presence. I have started my Fall gardening a few weeks ago with lots of leafy greens (lascinato rainbow kale, purple peacock broccoli, collards, swiss chards, epinard (spinach) monstrueux de Villofray), carrots (white Belgian and jaune du Doubs) and other root vegetables (parsley root, white & bull's blood beets). My purslane and arugula are taking their time to grow, while my stinging nettle is thriving.

Also mentioned in my Otherworldly local weather forecast for the few months to come (besides the short and cooler Summer) were the early arrival of the Fall, cooler temperatures (probably even a sudden drop) mid-September to October and and even cooler (I can even say colder) Winter than last year (and possibly some snow). So far the predictions have been correct and the weathermen have reviewed their yearly online forecast/predictions which are now confirming what I've been told.

This is going to be interesting...I have a feeling that the sweet lemons I'm growing will be very useful this Winter!

Friday, August 08, 2008

More Food for Thought: Living a Shamanic Lifestyle...

...Which makes even more sense now that we are ALL going through rough times.

  • "Engage in anti-consumerism: purchase only products that fulfill vital needs and avoid shopping as a simple escape to life.
  • Have a minimum of personal property and reduce the number of possessions to maintain a low material standard of living.
  • Cherish old, well-kept things that still serve well, rather than admiring and purchasing new things just because they are new.
  • Develop a career that makes a meaningful contribution to life, rather than just "making a living".
  • Participate in and appreciate activities and lifestyles that do not blatantly disrespect or take advantage of fellow human beings or the natural world.
  • Live in nature as opposed to merely visiting beautiful, overcrowded tourist destinations, such as national parks.
  • Develop a feeling of responsibility toward local ecosystems.
  • Purchase locally grown or raised food, or grow/raise your own."

From "Ecoshamanism - Sacred Practices of Unity, Power & Earth Healing" by James Endredy

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Celebrate the Goddess through Intuition

"There is an ocean of mystery called women's intuition. We may speak of it lightheartedly, but every woman knows the truth, which is simply that she knows.
Through the rhythms of your own cycles, and continuing on though the years when those cycles cease, you are part of this ancient cosmic knowing. The more you trust that tingling in your fingertips, that shiver at the back of your neck, the more sensitive you will become to subtle signs.
Women's intuition is the Goddess whispering in your ear. Let Her know you are listening."

From SageWoman 2008 Calendar

Friday, August 01, 2008

Food for Thought on Lughnasadh

"Now that most of us in the Western world take plentiful, year-round food for granted, it is hard for us to imagine the relief and gratitude our (Celtic) ancestors must have felt when harvest time began. For poorer people, it wasn't always possible to stretch out the stores till next year's harvest, and this was especially true in the dark days of Ireland's oppression in the 18th and 19th centuries. Before the first potatoes were mature there was "Hungry July" or "July of the Cabbage", when the Cailleach Rua, the Red-haired Hag of Hunger, stalked the fields or squatted by the empty cooking pot. An old woman in County Mayo gave voice to the meaning of Lughnasadh during this era when she proclaimed in ringing tones: "The harvest is in and the hunger is over!"

Even if you don't produce what you eat, this is a good time to connect with those who do by visiting farmers' markets or spending a day in the countryside picking your own fruits for jams and pies. As you watch the black and red jewels of berries, musky peaches, and nectarines spill out onto your kitchen table, let your eyes feast on their colors and shapes.

Smell, touch, and taste the fullness of summer and the blessings of life bestowed upon us by the earth at this time of the year. Think of the human labor and skill that midwifed them into being in your kitchen at this very moment.

In the modern world August is also vacation time when work is set aside for lazing on the porch or the nearest sunny beach. We, too, can rest from our labors, celebrate Summer, and enjoy the fruits of our daily toil. This can give us a good opportunity to take stock of what the seasons so far have yielded: to reflect upon our hopes and dreams that were sown in the dawn of the year, came to life in the springtime, and are now maybe ready to bear fruit. On a spiritual level we can ask ourselves what wisdom we have garnered so far this year: What will be the harvest of our souls?"

From "Kindling the Celtic Spirit" by Mara Freeman

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Place To Go...

Yesterday I've discovered a fairly new knitting shop which is like no other: TWIST - Yarns of Intrigue.
It doesn't look like much from the outside, but once you steep inside, you get a warm and homey feeling. Cathy Karen -the owner of this beautiful shop- is friendly, genuine, knowledgeable and very helpful ;).
There are all sorts of little gems in this shop including natural fibers (silk, sea silk...etc), social/community conscious yarns (supporting co-ops of women), hand painted yarns, original/creative fibers from Japan (I found a very interesting yarn made of Silk and Stainless Steel, once knit you can give it the shape that you want and it will keep it) and...Cathy's own hand dyed and hand made yarns.
The prices are affordable and even a bargain for some of these yarns.
I let myself be tempted by 2 variegated Loro Barranquero yarns, in Fall colors. These are made of kettle dyed pure merino wool and come from a co-op in Uruguay named Malabrigo. I plan on using them for a nice crochet-like sweater.
I also found some very interesting buttons made out of recycled glass, I'd like to make some jewelry with them (a pair of earrings and a ring).
One thing is for sure...I'll be back ;).

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Rustic Clay Buttons...

These are the first buttons I make and since I enjoyed making them so much, I will be making more soon (or so I hope). They are made of real clay (not polymer clay), embossed and I added a touch of acrylic paint for visual contrast (and because they look nicer this way).
http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=13078475

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Celebrate the Goddess through Sisterhood

"As you are created in the Goddess's image, it stands to reason that all other women are too!
One of the most powerful ways to honor the Mother is to enjoy the company of Her other daughters.
Place a high priority on friendship and on supporting relationships with women - celebrate the wonderful diversity of our many shapes, sizes, talents, temperaments, ages, and abilities.
As you move through each day, give your sister a smile and let her know you are there for her. Or better yet, take her hand and dance!"

From SageWoman 2008 Calendar

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Welcoming Changes...

I know that most people are comfortable in their daily routine and don't like changes. Why? Because it forces them to step out of their comfort zone and affect their life. Changes also represent challenges, something you have to figure out before going further on your Life's journey.

I like challenges and changes. I see them as an opportunity to learn, grow and become wiser. They also offer an array of new possibilities which can be quite stimulating.

I think changes should be embraced and not feared. So why not break free from routine and take a peek at what's on the other side of the rainbow?

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Un Peu de Poésie...

"Esprit Libre et Sauvage - Force de la Nature exposée aux Quatre Vents,

Femme-Chamane érrant sur la Lande, dans La Forêt

Ainsi qu'entre les Mondes...Là où il n'y a plus ni Temps, ni Espace Défini,

Je ne me sens chez moi qu'en compagnie d'Arbres, d'Ancêtres et d'Esprits."



Seeds for Sprouting

I like sprouting seeds once in while and in small quantity (I don't need several ounces worth of sprouts) that I usually add to salads, soups and sandwiches. Yet I noticed that they are usually sold in bulk (by the lb) and if there aren't, the choice is usually limited.

I found a website named Italian Seed and Tool where they have a nice selection of organic sprouting seeds (not in bulk) including red cabbage, fennel, carrot and garlic chives (just to name a few). I like the fact that they provide info about the health benefits of each variety, including vitamin and mineral content.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Blog Party: Staying Cool in the Summer

I am hosting this month's Blog Party but...my contribution will be delayed (I know, shame on me!).

Nonetheless, feel free to read, enjoy & use the tips provided by my fellow Wise Women ;):
-Sarah tells us everything about her wonderful Elder Blossom concoctions (Elder is a long time herbal ally of mine)
-Darcey shares her Summer Survival Tips with us
-Michelle mentions her cooling & zen Oatstraw Infusion
-Kiva is savoring the Summer in the Mountains of NM...We could all use a River in a Bottle ;)
-Tammy tells us about her fragrant & refreshing Rose Spritzer
-Ananda enchantes us with the Magic of Mint

Thank you Ladies ;).

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Back to Sewing!

It's been an eternity since I last used my sewing machine.
It felt really good starting to sew (and knit) again ;).

I made a "Jupe Culotte" (which apparently translates to "Culottes" in english) out of piece of batik cotton. The motives remind me both of Celtic triskeles and young fiddle-head ferns.


Monday, June 09, 2008

Summer Goodies...

I love the idea of seasonality. Whether we like it or not, we are connected and depend on the seasons. The Wheel of the Year turns and each season brings us a rainbow of colors, smells, sensations (physical, emotional and spiritual), herbs and edibles.

So following the Wheel and the coming of the Summer, I created and blended seasonal goodies such as my Wise Woman Summer Cream and my Summer Fairy Facial Elixir.

The Wise Woman Summer Cream is herbally infused with organic calendula, pesticide-free jasmine rose petals, organic elder blossoms, organic nettle, organic lavender and organic fennel seeds. I use plum kernel oil which has a natural wonderful sweet, floral scent that reminds me a little bit of almonds.

The Summer Fairy Facial Elixir is a great facial oil and is hand blended with organic sunflower oil, melon seed oil, plum kernel oil, raspberry seed oil and a touch of vitamin E. It has a natural and pleasant fruity smell.

Thank you for browsing ;).

WILD CALIFORNIA INCENSE

There are lots of wonderfully scented wild sages growing in the area. I have used them myself for some time now for making various incenses and herbal concoctions.

I thought it was time to share these wild treasures with the world and blended a Wild California Incense that contains black sage (salvia mellifera), purple sage (salvia leucophylla) and silver sagebrush (which is in fact an artemisia).

All sages have cleansing, clearing and purifying properties ;).

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Gluten Free Corn Sablés (Cookies)

Sablé(s) translates to Sand Cookies because of their crumbly texture.
This is an adaptation of a french recipe.

You'll need:
  • 1 cup / 250g of corn flour
  • 4 tbsp / 60ml of oil or softened butter
  • 2 tbsp / 30ml of cane sugar, honey, agave or maple syrup
  • Some water
  • 1/8 tsp baking powder (optional)

Preheat the oven to 375 F / 180 C.

In a bowl, mix flour and sugar. Add the oil/butter & some water. Once you get a lumpy but somewhat sticky texture, work the dough to form a ball. Let it rest a few minutes.

Take small amounts of dough, roll them between your hands and flatten them. Place the cookies on an oiled baking sheet (parchment paper works well too).

Place the cookies in the oven and bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until the edges start turning brown.

Et voila! You have tasty, gluten free, egg free and dairy free cookies ;).

When I was shaping the cookies, the smell of the dough reminded me somewhat of orange blossom. So I may try adding a little orange blossom water next time. I'm sure that cocoa powder, cinnamon and other spices will also work fine.

"Corn is rich in vitamins A, B (B3 and B5), E, iron, folate, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, complex carbohydrates, fiber, polyinsturated fat, omega-6 fatty acids and protein.

Corn is suitable for people with gluten intolerance. It is said to be a gentle moderator of the thyroid gland. Corn aids wound healing, strengthens the immune system by boosting antibody production, and keeps the skin and mucous membranes in good condition. It helps the body cope with stress, stabilizes bloog sugar, aids digestion and maintains a healthy level of blood fats."

From "The Complete Guide to Nutritional Health by Pierre Jean Cousin & Kirsten Hartvig

Monday, June 02, 2008

Celebrate the Goddess through Self-Respect

"In the not-too-distant past, women were held in low esteem by our society in terms of their power and skills. Now, as strong Goddess-women, we affirm our empowerment and stand tall in our self-respect.
Staying true to yourself means honoring your gifts, speaking your truth, walking your talk.
The tales of the Goddess, such as Ix Chel, can inspire and lend courage to face life's challenges, while always holding true to your own center.
Never doubt that you are exactly as the Goddess intended."

SageWoman 2008 Calendar

I'm Featured on the POEST Blog ;)

http://pagansofetsy.blogspot.com/2008/06/june-featured-member-alchemille.html

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Brighter Planet's 350 Challenge - Help Fight Climate Change!

http://350.brighterplanet.com/

Mystery Tomato...

Lately I'm into a compulsive gardening mood ;).
I've bought a whole bunch of seeds (heirloom and organic mostly)...Enough for a micro farm though I only have a container garden on a porch.
Most of the seeds I ordered are from Bountiful Gardens, Wild Garden Seed and Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds from which I received a free packet of trial tomato seeds of a variety named Pink Israel.
I searched all over the web for some info about this tomato but couldn't find anything, not even a picture. The funny thing is that Baker Creek doesn't sell this variety yet.
So I basically have no other choice than growing this mystery tomato to find out what it looks and tastes like...At least I know that it's a pink heirloom and I suppose from Israel, so potentially a variety that can handle warm weather (or so I hope).
So if I start it now, I should be able to taste it by the end of the Summer/beginning of the Fall (here the Fall can get even warmer than the Summer).

Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Self-Healing Cookbook

"The Self-Healing Cookbook - A Macrobiotic Primer for Healing Body, Mind and Moods with Whole, Natural Foods" by Kristina Turner, is one of those books that everybody should own, read and use.

This book has a wholistic approach to food: you'll find nourishing, grounding, cleansing and healing recipes. The focus is on well-being, balance and being in tune with your body & the seasons in a fun, creative and nourishing way.

The book also explains the effects of certain foods on the body. There's also an interesting & useful "Healing Foods Glossary" at the end of the book with recipes for homemade herbal remedies.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

June's Blog Party...

...Will be hosted by me ;)

The theme is "Cooling Herbs for the Summer" (I think we are all looking forward to good tips and great recipes).

The deadline is June 15th.

Submit your posts on the Herbwifery Forum or send me an email (with your name please).

CHOCOLATE GODDESS LIP BALM

All natural, this Chocolate Goddess Lip Balm is handmade with real organic chocolate, cocoa butter and honey (plus a few other natural ingredients).Hhhhhhhhhmmmmmmmmmmmmm ;).

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Dear Arugula...

This month's blog party is hosted by Darcey and has "Spring Greens" for theme. I'm very much into arugula lately so it seemed an obvious and natural choice.

Arugula is also known as rucola, rocket or roquette (in french).

When people think of arugula, they often have the typical Italian Summer salad in mind with tomato, basil...etc. But arugula belongs to the Spring. It's a green that is now widely available since it has become popular and most people are now familiar with it.

But what most people don't know is that arugula was and still is a wild green. Wild arugula (Rucola Selvatica) is commonly found on the side of trails or waste lands...Places you wouldn't think of going foraging.

Wild Arugula doesn't look like the cultivated one (Eruca Sativa) : it's smaller and has more dented leaves. It also takes longer to grow (there are many places that sell the seeds which are fairly easy to grow, even in a container). I find its taste sharper, more spicy and peppery ;).

We often forget that beyond the natural vitamin and mineral content of what we eat, food is also our medicine...And arugula is no exception: it's very rich in vitamin C, sulfur and minerals. Arugula is a tonic and stimulates appetite. It's a diuretic and cleanses the kidneys. It has expectorant properties and helps to break mucus down. Arugula juice cleanses wounds and ulcers. For a long time, it was believed that arugula was an aphrodisiac...This was the reason why Hildegard von Bingen forbade its consumption to her fellow nuns.

Whatever your reason is to use arugula (from the ones mentioned above) and besides its edible use, a decoction of the leaves can be made using 1 tbsp of dried leaves per cup of water, steeped for 2 minutes. The recommended dosage is 2 to 3 cups of this decoction per day.

Did I mention that the flowers are edible too?

Translations from "Sauvages et comestibles - Herbes, fleurs et petites salades" by Marie-Claude Paume and "Secrets des Plantes" by Michel Pierre & Michel Lis.

Tisane Gourmande...

I was craving a sweet gourmet tea with some of my favorite flavors...And here it is!

Tisane Gourmande is a 100% organic blend of vanilla rooibos, cacao nibs and cinnamon chips. I especially enjoy it with a touch of sweet honey ;).

It's great if you wish to start the day with a touch of sweetness or as an afternoon tea. It's a soothing and relaxing blend...I find it quite inspiring too, great for creative projects...

I hope you'll enjoy it as much as I do ;).

Monday, May 05, 2008

Back to My Roots...

I have decided that it was time for me to get back to restudy/relearn from the French & European traditions of herbalism which are strongly rooted in Folk Medicine and Grandmother Remedies. The Materia Medica can be easily found in one's garden, nearby woods or at the farmers market and is a blend of edibles with aromatic, wild and not so wild medicinal plants.
It's the people's medicine: onion syrup, cabbage poultice, hand & foot baths, thyme tea, herb infused wines and blackberry liqueur, just to name a few remedies...

I like the approach of Maurice Mességué (who likes to work with "the Simples") and Germaine Cousin-Zermatten (a charming grandmother who makes healing concoctions with the wild medicinal plants of the Alps). I also like Jean Palaiseul's "Grandmother's Secrets: Her Green Guide to Health from Plants"; and have rediscovered the works of Maria Treben, Sebastian Kneipp...and even Hildegard von Bingen!

There are herbalists out there, whose greed has taken over the joy & pleasure of teaching, learning and sharing this ancient healing art. This same greed clouding their judgement, raising their ego and darkening their heart...How can such people claim to be teachers, healers or even guides?

I have never followed one way of thinking, learning or doing things. It is important to learn from difference sources and compare them to have the best knowledge and understanding of one herb. I especially enjoy ancient herbals with tidbits of information that have often been overlooked, forgotten or lost.

For example, I enjoy drinking nettle tea/infusion at night. I've noticed that I sleep well this way. Since nettle is a nutritious herb with a tonic effect on the body, one might not think of having a cup of nettle tea before bed time. Yet I have found one source mentioning that in the British Isles, nettle has been used as a treatment for insomnia.

People from the past still have a lot to teach us...

Celebrate the Goddess through Compassion

"From the moment we first come to know Her, the Goddess draws us in through the power of Her compassionate love. We turn to Her for comfort, for solace, for tender acceptance, as a trusting child turns to her mother.
As a daughter of the Mother of Compassion, take what She has taught you and offer it to others.
Offer your healing to the suffering of the world, and add your light to the sum of light.
Look gently into the eyes of your fellow humans, show them you truly care, as the Goddess cares for us all."

SageWoman 2008 Calendar

Monday, April 21, 2008

Sunday, April 20, 2008

APRIL 22ND: EARTH DAY SALE!

I'm having a sale on Earth Day.

On April 22nd, I will offer -20% off my shop's current offerings with the exception of items that are already on sale.

The amount of the discount will be refunded (the discount is calculated on the total amount before shipping).

My friend Hedgewitch will be donating all proceeds on the 22nd to 'Friends of the Earth', an environmental charity.

Feel free to check her shop:
http://hedgewitchUK.etsy.com

Monday, April 14, 2008

Introducing Black Annis Cosmetics

Over the past few months, I've been thinking about having a small lines of natural & botanical cosmetics. I know that mineral powder have become very popular but they are also quite pricey.

I chose the name Black Annis Cosmetics because I wanted a Faery inspiration for my line. Since my products are natural and made with herbs, it seemed very appropriate (hopefully the Fairies will appreciate and bless my products as well).

In the Celtic Faery lore, Black Annis is a hag. Hags are often described as ugly & nasty old crones; I believe they are very misunderstood spirits of power and wisdom. One of my favorite tree to work with (both on a spiritual and medicinal level) is the Elder tree. The Elder is a Faery tree and portal to the Underworld. The spirit of the Elder is an old and wise crone who will gladly help and even bestow gifts if treated with all due respect. Elder is a tree of transformation as well.

My Fair Lady Face Powder is the first item of this new cosmetic line. It is a veil powder more than a foundation powder because it will prevent the skin to become shiny but won't cover blemishes (or very lightly). It's a powder that I recommend for light and fair skin complexions.
My Fair Lady is made of arrowroot powder and pesticide-free rose powder that imparts a natural pinkish hue to the powder as well as a nice rose scent. I really enjoy it ;).

I'm hoping to be able to come up with a matching blush but it seems that it'll be harder than I thought. Other than that, I will be offering herbally infused tinted lip balm in shades of pink and red (if I'm lucky maybe even a violet) similar to my Wise Woman Lip Balm in texture and goodness...
CURRENT MOON

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