Friday, February 29, 2008


A separation occured in the soap so it has 2 distinct layers. It looks more like a fancy dessert than a soap but other than that it has a very nice lather and a wonderful smell.

I believe that I used too much liquid and that's the reason why the separation occured.

I will give it another try with my new shredded soap base (this one has coconut milk instead of goat milk), measuring the liquid very carefully. Hopefully the next batch will be better...

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Petits Pains au Sarrazin / Buckwheat Bread Rolls

I have a brand new bread machine that I can't use because the supposedly stainless steel baking pan in it has a non-stick coating...I refuse to use non-stick/teflon cookware and bakeware, because no matter how convenient and widely available it is, it's another of these popular things that are dangerous to your health.
Anyway, I'm getting better at making bread by hand (though I ordered an antique bread maker on ebay to help me kneed to dough) and simply baking it in the oven. The rolls are convenient because they seem to bake more homogeneously than a loaf but I will give it another try soon.

For my buckwheat rolls, I used:
  • 1 1/2 cup of organic all purpose flour (which happens to be made of wheat and barley)
  • 1 cup of buckwheat flour
  • 1 cup of lukewarm spring water (tap water is too dangerous to use around here)
  • 1/8 cup maple syrup (but 1/4 cup would have been a little bit more noticeable)
  • 1 teaspoon of Himalayan sea salt
  • 1 little pack of active dry yeast
You knead the dough 3 times. You let if proof 2 times for 30 to 45 minutes. The 3 time is shorter because it takes place while the oven is pre-heating at 450F. Cut the dough in 6 pieces and roll them. Place them on a greased baking sheet or on a piece of parchment paper and once in the oven, lower the temperature to 375F. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes...Et voila!

Buckwheat is gluten free, rich in protein, helps keep glucose levels in check and is good for circulation...Plus it has a pleasant nutty taste. It's a power grain ;)!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Being in Tune with Your Body

I've always been petite and thin and I've always enjoyed eating healthy, natural and nutritious foods...Even as a child.

About 1 year ago, I noticed I started gaining weight. I haven't made drastic changes in my diet so I didn't understand why. Of course there's the stress factor and I could use more exercise, at least to get the chi flowing and the circulation going, plus I enjoy walking in Nature.

So a couple days ago, I really wanted to get to the bottom of the problem and find the root cause of it...And that's when I got a clue. I am intuitive/sensitive in nature and I'm also in tune with my body. I used to buy multigrain bread every week at the farmers market until 1 year ago, when the lady who selled my bread didn't come back again. So I had to buy bread from another man who pretty much only sells white and rye breads...Which was frustrating since I like whole grain breads so much better.

Since these breads are made of refined flours, I figured this had something to due with the gluten which is a starch that later transforms into sugar and fat. I also observed on a few occasions some digestive disorders and bloating.

So in an effort to figure this all out and confirm my suspicions, I grabbed my trusty pendulum and started what I'd call a self dignosis...It was like having a conversation with my body through the pendulum.

As it turned out, I have to stay away from refined grains and flours such as wheat, rye (which is an acidic grain anyway) and triticale (a hybrid between wheat and rye)...I also checked all other grain, nut and legume flours that I know of, and soy flour as well as chickpea flour were added to my black list.

But I can eat whole grains (including whole and ancient wheats) and gluten free grains which are more nutritious, wholesome and rich in protein, plus they keep the glycemia in check. So I'm back to square one with what has always worked fine for me and what I enjoy eating anyway...

Conclusion: your body knows what's right for you, so follow your dietary intuitions ;).

Monday, February 25, 2008

Awakening From Our Dreams...

This shamanic exercise has been kindly shared by Julie Charette Nunn, a fellow Wise Woman and Shamanic Herbalist who runs Crow's Daughter. Her creams and other herbal products are just exquisite, I highly recommend them.

Here blog: Crow's Daughter's Herbal Wisdom is also worth checking.

***A shamanic exercise to initiate awakening from our dreams:***
  • Go outside where you live where there is a natural setting, trees, plants and some open space.
  • Close your eyes and notice your breath. Breathe in and out 3 times.
  • Now imagine you are just awakening from sleep, eyes closed and you have just dreamed a dream of all that you desire.
  • Open your eyes and what do you see.
  • Do this several times. Each time taking note of what you see when you open your eyes.
  • Give thanks for what you witnessed.
  • Now speak outloud an intention for all that you desire.
  • Take time in the next weeks until Spring Equinox to speak this intention to others.

Thanks Julie ;)...

Friday, February 22, 2008


I just made a new batch of soap using a different method that the one I used before. Well...Less ingedients involved and the result already seems better but the real test will be once the soap is completely dry ;)...Can't wait to try it: orange blossom & goat milk. I will turn to a real bath tub goddess ;).

I have offered a few natural soaps on Etsy but for some reason they are just not popular. I'm sure it's because I don't use artifical bubblegummy scents and colorings. Sorry! My soap are ALL natural. No artifical smell and no artificial anything for that matter...

I admit that I don't make soap the old-fashioned way with lye...I don't have the will nor the space to do that, and quite frankly I'm trying to minimalize exposure to chemicals. We are already exposed to so many dangerous substances (most of them unknowingly) on a daily basis.

But I used quality shredded soap for rebatching. I like Chelsea's Soap Garden, they have a good choice, whether you want plain soap, with added milk or shea butter, I'm sure you can find something to your likings. I just finished the goat milk soap (that I recommend) and I'm waiting to get the coconut milk one delivered, I read that it gives a good lather.

Anyway, I basically only make soap for my own use. But I will still mention it in my next newsletter, just in case somebody is interested in giving it a try. The shredded soap I used is made of saponified oils with goat milk to which I added food grade orange blossom water, homemade fresh calendula oil, orange blossom honey and a touch of benzoin tincture (besides its healing properties, it has a nice vanilla-like scent).

I just have to wait a few weeks for it to dry. Hopefully the weather will become dryer soon (this is really helpful when you make soap or incense).

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Celebrate the Goddess through Creativity

"The spark of creativity dwells within your spirit, awaiting only your encouraging breath to ripen it into flame. Each of us is blessed with the gift of creative inspiration, and the Goddess always wants you to use your gifts!

As the Wheel of the Year turns toward the light, stretch your imagination toward all the ways in which you can express yourself. Writing, artwork, cooking, music-making, home decoration, crafte work of all kinds - each is an expression of divine creativity if you do it with that intention."

From SageWoman 2008 Calendar

Monday, February 18, 2008

Homestyle Tincture

I'm fairly new into the art of tincturing but I find tinctures quite fun to prepare. My main & favorite herbal remedies are and will remain teas though, but tinctures are a useful and practical way to have some medicine handy especially when you need it fast.

I make tinctures "folk medicine style" following a basic ratio. I don't like complex things so this method suits me just fine. The tincture may not come out as potent this way but it's enough to get some help and relief, especially if I combine the use of tinctures along with teas/infusions and/or herbal capsules (that are also fun to make).

Since I don't need a big quantity of tincture, I just calculated the right amount of herbs for 2 oz (approximately 60 ml) of liquid. I made an elder tincture: I chose to combine both the berries and the blossoms because I have observed that different parts of a same plant seem to have similar yet complementary properties (my future experiments with include dandelion leaves & roots as well as hawthorn blossoms & berries).

So to my little 2 oz glass jar, I added 1/4 tbsp organic dried elder blossoms and 1/4 tbsp organic dried elderberries (sambucus nigra or canadensis) that I covered with 100 proof vodka (I tried 80 proof vodka before but I wasn't really impressed with the result). I will let everything infuse in a semi-dark place for 4 to 6 weeks...After just a few minutes, my tincture already turned to a purplish-rosy color.

When it comes to extracting nourishment from herbs (vitamins and minerals), then I use organic apple cider vinegar. I recently made a dandelion leaf ACV tincture with fresh dandy leaves from the farmers market...OK, it's not the wild stuff but even farmed dandelion is pretty bitter. It came out quite nice. I like its "bouquet" (scent) and its flavor is more than tolerable. This method works well with "weeds" such as nettle, plantain, chickweed...etc. I recomment reading Susun Weed's article about herbal vinegars (their benefits, how to prepare them & how to use them):

Note that it's usually better to use fresh (homegrown or ethically wildcrafted herbs) following the rythm of the season...But right now it's too late for harvesting berries (which are more blue than black around here) and too early for the blossoms.

I shall talk soon more in depth about the wonderful natural gifts provided by our herbal allies...



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