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Simplicity is my favorite thing when it comes to tea. Single herbs taste so complex yet are so identifiable...like familiar faces you can sense even with your eyes closed. I like to keep little cork top jars filled with single herbs in my pantry so I can look at them every afternoon and see which one whispers to me that day. Chamomile. Peppermint. Skullcap. Licorice. Holy Basil. Lemon Balm....the collection usually ebbs and flows with the changing seasons (and admittedly gets a little out of hand in the winter time). In December, I never let my chamomile supply run dry, as this is my go-to tea to serve for a quick cup of tea when company comes around. I've never met a single person who didn't enjoy chamomile. I think it's because it's a comfort to everyone, even on a subconscious level.

There's something really special to me about holiday company. I love having folks in and out of my house in December. It's a communal respite from the chilly, bitter air outside and it makes our house feel so good when people stop by or stay over. Leave it to me to always have a hot pot of tea out to serve, and to Greg to prepare endless, delicious food to share. Even though we live in the south, I think it gets plenty cold, and a warm mug of chamomile + lemon tea is liquid aromatic heaven to snuggle into someones hands right after they've slipped off their gloves. Winter tea just exudes a subliminal message of, "Come in.....settle in and stay a while...."

I choose a simple chamomile & lemon tea in December because it's quick and easy and comforting and delicious and I always have the ingredients on hand. Flowering tea is a magical thing in the winter when everything else has gone underground and shriveled up. It's delicate and subtle with a hit of lemony citrus that excites your taste buds and makes you feel right at home. Medicinally, chamomile + lemon is a powerful digestive aid to both calm and stimulate digestion, easing the often overburdened stomach during the most overindulgent time of the year. This simple, two ingredient tea is perfect for kids to prepare for company too, and I'll sometimes shuffle the little ones into the kitchen to make the "company potions", and they feel like little wizards. Never too early to start formulating.

For this tea, just keep a jar of dried chamomile flower on hand along with a few lemons and, if you like, raw honey to sweeten.

Chamomile & Lemon Comfort Tea

1 tsp dried chamomile flowers
1/4 fresh lemon, sliced
1 tsp raw honey (optional)
2 cups boiled water
Serves 1
Add ingredients to a generously sized mug and pour hot water over top, keeping everything in there while sipping. Add a dollop of honey to sweeten if desired.
 


For November, this recipe is my ultimate go-to breakfast as the days become busier and my house starts to fill up with visitors and guests for the holidays. This savory autumn porridge with fresh garden rosemary and pears is incredibly easy, affordable and feeds a crowd all in one go! Food is on everyone's mind this month, and as the beginning of the holiday season sets in, your house may have been the designated gathering place for friends and family towards the end of the month. With people to entertain, feed and visit with, breakfast is usually the last thing on your mind when you're busy planning and preparing more complex meals. That's why I love this quick and easy savory porridge. Made with steel cut oats, fresh herbs and seasonal pears, this is a one-pot breakfast that can feed a crowd, simmer on the stove and stay warm as folks roll out of bed, and feels like pure morning comfort on these chilly autumn mornings. I love using these simple yet fancy bowls from Suite One Studio + I always keep this stunningly gorgeous galaxy blue platter on my table during the holidays with fresh fruits, nuts, nibbles and snacks. Get the recipe on the Suite One Studio Blog this month ---> 

This post is sponsored by my fiends at Mountain Rose Herbs

Dreams are half of our lives. Our most personal and private lives. Tucked away between the twilight hours of dusk and dawn, the possibilities of dreams are limitless and never confined to the self imposed restrictions of waking life. I sometimes feel like if I didn't have any biological needs to be awake, I would stay in dreams indefinitely. For as long as I can remember, my dreams have been remarkably vivid, adventurous, and deeply emotional. My first dream journal entry is dated October 12, 1995. I was nine years old, and that night I went on a mysterious swamp venture through dark and murky channels, heavy hanging Spanish moss all around. Everything was green and gray, and there were castle ruins sunk to the bottoms of the swamp with a maze of broken walls jutting out of the bottomless black water. I was looking for a friend that was lost in the swamp without a raft, likely holed up in the bigger castle ruins that seemed so far away I'd never make it. I kept making wrong turns, hitting dead ends and would erupt in these surges of anger and frustration that I couldn't do anything right...I'd never make it no matter how hard I tried. My little raft was falling apart in little pieces every time I got angry. I remember having the feeling that if I didn't keep it together, I'd get lost in that swamp forever too, and no one would come looking for me. When I woke up from that dream riddled with failure, I wrote it all down. I read over it now and it's all just as vivid as the night it first happened. At the end of the entry, I noted that all I wanted to do now was continue going back to keep trying. I couldn't just leave my friend in that dark, abysmal subconscious swamp. And who was that friend anyway? I fell asleep every night for months afterwards trying to have the same dream, but it didn't happen again until February of the following year. 

In between, I wrote down all of the my dreams. I dreamt of carnivals, a cancelled Christmas, endless seas of white sand dunes I had to keep climbing, having to take a math test for a class I'd never been to, sailing in a green sea with Prince Caspian, being killed in a huge battle, flying kites at the beach, planting a tree on my own planet (shortly after I read The Little Prince, I imagine), and making a river out of crunchy fallen leaves. There were dozens of others, and I have them all written down. Hundreds of hours of my childhood are all document and I would never remember it otherwise. My dream life then (and now) was way more adventurous than my waking life ever seemed, and it was all mine. I never had to tell anyone what I was up to. Every now and then, I'd have the most amazing lucid dream. In the middle of some weird part of my adventure, I'd realize I was dreaming and immediately try to fly and it worked every time. I hoped I could do that if I ever got back to the swamp.

My cousin taught me a trick during that span of time to recognize when I was dreaming. Everyday, at least 10 times a day, I should stop what I was doing, look at my hands and ask myself, "Am I dreaming? How did I get here". I'd get into the habit so much  in waking life that I would eventually do it while I was dreaming, and soon enough I could do that every night in my dreams. I repeated this hand practice all the time at school, as practice of course, but also to remind myself that life wasn't always this boring. Around January, I would go to sleep at night knowing I'd figure out I was dreaming and be able to do anything I like. Finally, one night in February, I ended up back in the swamp on the same raft in the same murky maze looking for the same person. I was in the dream a long time before I remembered the trick. I had lost my temper so many times before then that I barely had a raft left to float on. Once I realized I was dreaming, I just took off flying towards that larger castle ruins (made good time, too) and abandoned my emotionally frail raft. I made it to the ruins and started looking around, through all of the corridors and empty abandoned rooms...the place was silent except for the sound of bullfrogs that echoed everywhere like a song. I looked and looked. There was nothing. Empty. The feeling of having something or someone to find completely left, and I was overwhelmed with disappointment. All that for nothing. Just wake up. You failure

.... 

....... but I did make progress. 

My cedar chest is full of old dream journals. I've kept them since that first swamp trip. They're packed with every spectrum of emotion, all of the highs and lows. Failure. Anger. Lust. Love. Fear. Elation. Longing. Hope. Hopelessness. Despair. Excitement. Dread. They are all just as real as waking life. I've just paid attention to thousands more hours of them. They're my stories. My whole life. Now that I'm older, though, that hand trick doesn't always work for me anymore. I'll just forget, or be so consumed by a dream I won't even consider it an option. But I still want those lucid dreams sometimes...and I eventually (and accidentally) found a new trick with a lucid dreaming herb - Mugwort.  

For the past few years as I've gotten to intimately know herbs, I've been crafting a dreaming tea blend that I drink before bed to encourage lucid dreams (although it doesn't always do the trick). It's a combination of mugwort, chamomile, passionflower, spearmintoatstraw and orange peel. The chamomile and passionflower help to relax my mind, calm my body and slow me down from the fast pace of a busy day. The oatstraw replenishes my body with it's building nervine quality and gentle nutrients. The orange peel is a hint of zingy aromatic flavor and the spearmint just smells like a dream. And the star of this celestial blend is the mugwort itself. Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris) has a mystical history as one of the most magical herbs - used for protection mostly, and named for the Greek goddess Artemisia, the goddess of the hunt and the forest and the hills. I've found that mugwort sometimes helps me to slip into lucid dreaming more easily...perhaps because as an adult, I'm more far removed from my ethereal imagination than I was was a child. This autumnal dreaming blend is one of my favorites to create. I blend up a large batch and use it up for several weeks. The addition of the celestial tea strainer is particularly fitting. 

When I imbibe in this dreaming tea, it usually always takes me to the forest with a swift stream and large, towering trees. It's become one of my favorite dreamscapes to visit. It's calm and beautiful and always autumn. I like it most because when I'm here, the only emotions I feel are happy and safe and calm. There are no tasks or expectations or fear or uncertainty. It's just my magical place. With mugwort, each person has their own experience, and I'm always curious where this dream blend will take you, too. 

Autumnal Lucid Dreaming Tea

2 tsp mugwort
1/2 tsp chamomile
1/2 tsp passionflower
1/2 tsp orange peel
1/2 tsp spearmint
1/2 tsp oatstraw
Serves 1

Add dried herbs into a tea strainer in your favorite mug and cover with 2.5 cups hot water. Let steep for 10 minutes, covered. Strain and sip consciously 1 hour before bedtime in a quiet and calm space, letting the aroma fill your senses and ease your mind. 

 

This post is sponsored by my friends at Mountain Rose Herbs. All thoughts and opinions are my own. It is my goal to use and recommend only the highest quality herbal products from companies that I wholly trust and fully support. Industry standards including sustainable harvestingquality controlorganic / fair trade standards and responsible sourcing are all things I care deeply about when working with herbs and herbal companies. I have been using Mountain Rose Herbal products for almost a decade, and have always been so impressed with their commitment to environmental stewardship. Thank you for supporting the brands that help to make this blog possible. 

Photography by moon sister Renee Byrd

HELLO, I’M LINDSAY.
Herbal medicine and nutrition is my expertise. Understanding plants, their properties, and their powers is my passion.

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