Summer is abundance, with gardens overflowing, vegetables and fruits cascading out of their nutrient rich beds and flowers emerging in all their glory. Everything seems to come in waves in my garden - the squashes and beets and rhubarb and chard all ready to be part of my summer meals all at once. Not being one to waste even a single rhubarb stem, the only way I can seem to manage this onslaught of seasonal abundance is to quickly pickle and save the ripeness and sweetness of these summer veggies and enjoy them later in the season. June is the summer solstice, and what better way to celebrate than with a June Pickled Picnic featuring rhubarb and beets from earlier in the season! Get the recipes for my pickled rhubarb and pickled beets + how I set my summer picnic spreads on the Suite one Studio blog....

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Sunday, June 11, 2017

I just arrived back home this week from another amazingly awesome Medicine's from the Earth conference in Black Mountain, NC and I'm still feeling the buzz of energy I always seem to absorb while I'm there. This was my fourth year attending this magical conference, and I'm always so jazzed by the time I leave I want to learn more about every. single. thing. It often feels like there's an endless stream of new things to learn about herbal medicine and therapeutic nutrition - I love that about this field. No matter how much I think I know, I'm blown away by how much more there is to learn and share. One of my favorite things about herbal medicine is learning from so many different teachers with different backgrounds... perspectives and experiences with herbs vary so much and it further reinforces that there is no one right way to do anything, but a collective wisdom that is shared from practitioner to person that is equally effective even with no single protocol. The flexibility and creativity of herbs and nutrition is endless - and I love that. 

Since returning home, the past week has been a busy one indeed, but what was most jarring was how much the garden has exploded with beets, chard, cucumbers, basil and squashes and it's only just getting started. June is the month of beginning summer abundance from our garden. Also, we finally starting hitting some 90 degree afternoons here in Richmond, VA...which I can't way I mind. I kind of like the oppressive heat of summer. But, when in need of a cool down - thank goodness for an excessive supply of cucumbers. These little viney green dudes are my favorite thing to infuse in chilled water with some extra fresh fruits & herbs for a delicious herby/fruity infused "tea" that I sip on all day for weeks. It especially hits the spot when the 99% humidity rolls in around mid July...

These fruit & herb infused teas can work with almost any fruits you have on hand throughout the seasons (including peaches, pineapple, pears, apples, grapes, raspberries, blackberries, limes, hibiscus, kiwis etc). Just add a bunch and see how you like it! The cucumbers really give it a cooling undertone, and adding in fresh or dried herbs like lavender and orange peel is another delicious addition (I use dried herbs from Mountain Rose Herbs and absolutely love them). Experiment with each season and Sip Consciously...

Fruit & Herb Infusions

Fresh Basil
Lavender Flowers
Orange Peel (fresh or dried)
Fresh Sage
Filtered Water or Sparkling Water

Strawberry Basil - In a large wide mouth mason jar, add 10 thin cucumber slices, 4 sliced strawberries and 5-6 fresh basil leaves. Cover with filtered or sparkling water and stir / smash well. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. 

Blueberry Lemon - In a large wide mouth mason jar, add 10 thin cucumber slices, 1/4 cup blueberries and 1/2 lemon (sliced and squeezed including the juice). Cover with filtered or sparkling water and stir / smash well. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. 

Lavender Grapefruit - In a large wide mouth mason jar, add 10 thin cucumber slices, 1/2 grapefruit (in chunks and squeezed, including the juice), 1 tsp lavender flowers, 1 tsp dried or fresh orange peel, and 4-5 fresh sage leaves. Cover with filtered or sparkling water and stir / smash well. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. 

When ready to drink, pour through a strainer, smashing all the juice out. Drink chilled with extra lemon if desired. 


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Fresh from the garden this morning: yellow squash, zucchini, beets + beet greens. Saturday mornings in spring are best spent with a bit of time roaming the garden, seeing what's brand new, eyeing it all lovingly/hungrily while sipping coffee and brainstorming breakfast. We planted our garden a little early this year (we were impatient and eager...) so lots of things are growing in already all at once. I get unspeakably happy when I gaze out the porch door everyday and see the squash climbing a little higher...the chard getting more lush and colorful...and the tomatoes bursting out of their frail little cages. We can't bear to waste anything, so harvesting and throwing as many veggies in every single meal is most welcome. This morning, I was craving a fresh garden veggie frittata, and the garden was bountiful and generous to oblige. 

Beets and beet greens are probably my absolute favorite garden veggie. I love them. Everything about them. And I especially love how they turn everything a sweet shade of pink. They contain almost every nutrient I crave (and need), including vitamin C, folate, magnesium and a bit of iron. They're also one of the best vegetables to support liver detoxification (especially phase-2 liver detox) and are jam packed with antioxidants. Also, they're naturally sweet and make a great roasted "chip" for this potato intolerant girl. So we planted something like 100+ beets in the garden this year. And I'm sure we'll go through every single one. 

This frittata recipe is extremely generous and welcoming to pretty much any veggies you have in your fridge and is perfect to batch cook on a Sunday to enjoy for the entire week. Optional add in's include mushrooms, red peppers, broccoli, scallions, chives, spinach, and cauliflower. Make sure to wash all fresh veggies well and pat dry slightly . 

Garden Veggie Frittata + Sautéed Beet Greens

10 eggs
4 small beets cubed and peeled
1 small yellow squash, cubed
1 medium zucchini, cubed
1/2 cup coarsely chopped red onion
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 tbsp fresh dill
1 tbsp ghee
pepper, salt, garlic powder to taste
2 heaping cups beet greens, coarsely chopped
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tbsp olive oil
Serves 8

For the Frittata:

Pre-heat oven to 425F. Rinse the beets well, chop off the greens and peel. In a large skillet, heat the ghee and add the cubed and peeled beets. Sauté on medium heat, covered, until just tender (about 10 minutes). Add the cubed squash and zucchini and onion. Mix and saute for another 5-7 minutes, covered, until the squash is just tender. Remove from heat and add to a deep dish pie pan or cast iron skillet. In a separate bowl, add the 10 eggs, nutritional yeast dill, pepper, salt and garlic powder. Whisk with a hand mixer until richly yellow and thick, about 60 seconds. Pour the egg mixture over the vegetables in the pie pan. Place on the center oven rack and let cook for 25-27 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool 10 minutes before serving. 

For the Beet Greens:

Coarsely chop about 2 cups of beet greens. In the same skillet, heat 1 tbsp olive oil then add the beet greens, turmeric, garlic and sauté on medium heat, covered, for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and serve immediately alongside the frittata. 


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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

"Nature is our home, and in nature we are at home. This strange, multicolored and astonishing world that we explore - where space is granular, time does not exist, and things are nowhere - is not something that estranges us from our true selves, for this is only what our natural curiosity reveals to us about the place of our dwelling. About the stuff of which we ourselves are made. We are made of the same stardust of which all things are made, and when we are immersed in suffering, or when we are experiencing intense joy, we are being nothing other than what we can't help but be: a part of our world...." -- Carlo Rovelli

I've been tearing through some books and podcasts recently. It may be the wooing of my front porch swing or the hours and hours spent on long road trips that allow for more time to read for pleasure and zone into a podcast series more intensely. In any case - it's most welcome. For the past several months, almost ALL of the books and podcasts absorbed into my brain have been recommendations from friends and colleagues that did not disappoint. I've been really drawn to science meets intuitive wisdom lately and reading anything I can get my hands on to this extent. 

Books  ------

Braiding Sweetgrass - a gift from my Aunt this past holiday, and a lovely reminder of our connection to our ancestry, our traditions, our connection with the earths seasonal gifts, and our ability (and responsibility) to share life's pleasures and nature's bounty.

The Hidden Life of Trees - to quench my desire to get to know my towering, leafy friends on a more personal level. 

Harvest - if you have a garden, you must read this book! Not only is it strikingly beautiful (those photos!), but the recipes it provides for dozens of garden and backyard treasures are so fun! I want to make every single thing in this book - especially the pickled rhubarb and the herbed salts. 

Medicinal Plants of the Southern Appalachians - I'm planning a private retreat in June to the Virginia mountains of Appalachia to do a weekend herb walk and medicine making workshop with some of my friends and colleagues (you can read about last year's dry run here). Appalachia is SO FULL of traditional folk medicine with a rich history of herbal use, although so little of this knowledge is in written form. It's a verbal tradition, passed from generation to generation. But for some preliminary reading (and to brush up a bit myself), I'm re-reading this tried and true classic, filled with dozens of Appalachian herbs, their use and medicine making tips. 

7 Brief Lessons on Physics - a sweet find from listening to the On Being podcast with guest Carlo Rovelli. His interview is one of my favorites in that podcast series, and his little pocket sized book is a much needed reminder of the wonders and complexities all around us (and the basics of physics I've forgotten over the years...)

Podcasts ------

On Being - with every free moment I'm listening to Krista Tippet's interviews in this beautiful podcast. Her guests have really opened my eyes to new ways of thinking and perspectives I've never considered on everything from poetry to physics to music to religion. Definitely worth a listen. 

Invisibilia - all about the invisible forces that control human behavior and it's mind blowing

Stuff You Should Know - what to know more about __________? They've got it on this podcast. Applicable to all the gardeners right now : How Composing Works

Revisionist History - this was a frequent go-to on a recent road trip I took to New Orleans, and if you're a history junkie like me, it's an interesting perspective on the little bits of history we may not think twice about - but dives deep into the long forgotten details of those seemingly insignificant historical characters and their bigger impact on the world today. 

What are some of the books and podcasts that you've been loving lately? I'm on the hunt for upcoming summer reads and podcasts for upcoming road trips and travels! Share yours below...

Photo by Renee Byrd

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In early May, when everything is crisp, fresh and bursting with colorful blooms, one of my favorite ways to indulge in this sweet and vibrant bounty is with a shared spring bitters salad. This recipe really takes advantage of the local herbs and greenery that's all around you (or at least making an appearance at your local grocery stores) while providing not only a deliciously fresh and crisp salad, but a digestively supportive light meal to boot! Early spring bitters - such as Dandelion Greens in this case - are slightly bitter and jam packed with good minerals and nutrients. We are often not accustomed to eating bitter foods today (alas!), however not long ago, this was the whole reason people would eat a salad before meals! Salads used to be made of wild bitter greens, freshly picked from the garden and lazily tossed in a bowl, topped with some fresh veggies and a bit of vinegar. Bitter foods are magic - and once you've ventured back to your salad roots with this recipe, you'll soon see why....Continue reading on the Suite One Studio Blog

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May is one of my favorite months of the year. It's beautiful here in Richmond, Virginia this time of year. The breeze is slight and cool. The days seem longer. The humidity isn't quite here yet. The birds are all over - serenading at every corner. And our garden is having an absolute renaissance. May 1 is also my birthday, and I've spent almost the entire day on my porch soaking in the early spring dreamscape that presented today and listening to my favorite David Bowie albums. An ideal day is so many ways. It's perfect transition weather from cool to warm, from dark to light, from sleeping to waking. I've been craving more room temperature and cooling teas lately as the warmth starts to settle in more permanently. This month, my May Steep is a warm infusion left to cool, filled with invigorating and nourishing herbs that taste just like the spring breeze feels. Damiana, Hibiscus, Nettle, Mugwort & Lavender are the lucky ones this month. 

I've always loved the versatility of herbal tea. The strength and potency and steeping calculations and how technical it could all be, and also how forgiving a simple brew can be when you're feeling lazy and nonchalant about it's ingredients. Sipping an herbal tea brew is just pure magic, and this recipe is pretty forgiving. So much so I never even wrote a recipe down until I came to publish this post. I've been making this for days now, a little different every time, never measuring anything and I like the subtle differences in flavor from day to day. I've been throwing this together once I get to my office each day, varying the amounts of damiana and mugwort, really, depending on what I'm feeling like that morning. More damiana when I need more of a kick in the pants and am feeling a little sluggish. More Mugwort when I need more support with mental focus or have lots of cerebrally heavy (and focusing!) tasks that day. Mugwort is SO GOOD at helping me focus and keep to the task at hand...especially when they're tedious computer tasks (and it's a main ingredient in my Book Nook Tea just for that reason!). Hibiscus gives it a sweet, springy, colorful and vibrant flavor. Nettle adds the punch of minerals and nutrients, and lavender adds the subtle sweetness to offset the bitter of mugwort. Together, perfection. 

This recipe makes a month supply of tea. Brew yourself up a pint or two early in the day and sip all afternoon. Add a twist of lemon or extra dash of honey if you're like more zing or more sweetness.  If you don't have access to herbs locally, you can source them from Zack Woods Herb FarmMountain Rose HerbsStarwest Botanicals & Oregon's Wild Harvest. Joyous May wishes, everyone!

May Steep

20 grams Damiana
20 grams Hibiscus
10 grams Nettle Leaf
7 grams Mugwort
5 grams Lavender Flowers
3-4 cups filtered water
1 tsp Raw Honey
Makes 1 month supply

Blend all herbs together and store in an airtight glass container. When making a batch of infusion, add 1 heaping tablespoon to a 1 quart mason jar and cover with just warm, filtered water. Add 1-2 tsp raw honey to taste and a twist of lemon if desired. Stir well and let steep at least 10 minutes before straining out the herbs. Drink immediately, or let cool and drink throughout the day. 


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Herbal medicine and nutrition is my expertise. Understanding plants, their properties, and their powers is my passion.


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