Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Hearty hobbit omelettes are one of my go-to’s on the weekends, or on a more leisurely weekday morning. At the end of the week, I have leftover greens and garden veggies from the farmers market, in a varying state of freshness. Omelettes are the perfect place to tuck away these vibrant garden gems and pack in the nutrients right at the beginning of my day. I call these “hobbit omelettes” because I make a pretty large one just for myself, usually with at least 4 cups of cooked vegetables, all said and done. I’m delightfully stuffed after such a morning feast, like what I imagine eating a whole piece of lembas bread must feel like.

Nutrition For a Vibrant Morning

Making it easy to get in 7-9 servings of fruits and vegetables everyday is a habit I create for folks almost daily. As a nutritionist, it’s rare that I ever catapult people into the 9 servings of fruits and vegetables arena when they’re accustomed to only *maybe* doing two or three. My starting point for them: just eat more. Four servings is better than two, and seven is better than five. Just try to get in more fruits and veggies every day, and soon it’ll become second nature. When I create and recommend recipes to pack in the nutrients, I’m always looking for meals that are simple to prep, whole food based, and interchangeable with whatever you’ve got in the fridge. Vegetable packed omelettes check all of these boxes.

I’ve often imagined that hobbit’s live so long because their diets are grounded within their gloriously lush and meticulously kept gardens. They never skip breakfast (a miserable day that would be indeed), and in fact, they have two! Breakfast is where I always encourage folks to get in at least half of their vegetable and fruit servings daily, so they can always start the day feeling ahead. I love making a hearty morning omelette because it combines great quality protein with the vitamins, minerals and fiber of whatever colorful, leafy vegetables you have the in fridge (or in your garden!). It’s filling, nutritious, delicious, and you can make a different version almost every time.

Concerning Omelettes

I make my hearty hobbit omelettes with lots of herbs and spices to change up the flavors. My spice cabinet is always in a disorganized jumble of handcrafted spice blends from Mountain Rose Herbs…my favorites always gravitating towards the front of the pack. My favorite spice blends to add to omelettes include Mediterranean seasoning, garlic pepper, garam masala, red alaea salt and Himalayan pink salts. These are SO aromatic, and cook up incredibly well when sautéing any vegetables. All organically sourced from around the world, Mountain Rose Herbs salts, seasonings, and spice blends have been my go-to recipe magic additions for years. Spices can transform an omelette into a culinary masterpiece early in the morning, so don’t leave these out!

The quality of your eggs makes a big difference, too. I almost always get my eggs from the local farmers market, with thick shells and bright orange yolks. There’s a huge difference when I use store-bought eggs, with their faint, anemic looking pale yellow yolks and paper thin shells…a good egg is well worth the extra $2 a dozen (and has me dreaming about one day having my own chickens…). Eggs are so nutrient dense, including vitamin D, riboflavin, protein, selenium, lutein, zinc, and the shells are rich in calcium. The health of the chicken is reflective in the nutrient content of the eggs. Thus, supporting farms that truly pasture raise their chickens, exposed to sunlight, fresh air, rotating fields of grass and grown ethically is reflective in their golden little treasures: healthy eggs.

(Go read the “Riddles in the Dark” chapter of The Hobbit, and now you’ll be a leg up on one of Bilbo’s riddles…).

Omelettes technically fold all the greens and veggies inside the cooked egg like a little sandwich, but I’m pretty lax with my terminology. I use non-stick pans and cast iron skillets, making it virtually impossible to flip anything. But if you want a fluffy, flippable omelette, you can add about 1 tbsp of whole milk to the egg mixture and it will be lighter and airer, and if using a non-stick pan (which I don’t recommend from a health perspective), it will cook up beautifully. If you don’t mind a more rustic presentation (as I imagine any hobbit wouldn’t complain about), you can omit the extra dairy, and delight in the pure joy of eating your omelette, topped with sautéed veggies right out of the pan.

No elevenses is complete, of course, without a spot of tea. And I recommend Orange Spice from Mountain Rose Herbs during this introduction into Autumn. Alternatively, blend up your own brew with some Intuitive Tea Blending 

Thursday, September 12, 2019

I keep one or two of these botanical pressed flower journals in rotation all the time, and scribble all of the herbal formulas and tea recipes I’m making every week. It’s a simple little tool I use to keep me crafty, and a handy place to keep herbs and flowers I collect during the season. Within these pages, I’m usually crafting herbal recipes, short recitals from last night’s dreams, or plant inspirations…

Read More: Autumnal Lucid Dreaming Tea

Botanical Pressed Flower Journal How-To

This is a very, very, simplified way to press flowers This method is the quick and dirty (literally, there’s usually still dirt on the flowers) way I store flowers and botanicals in my formulation journals. I use journals with thick, high quality paper, and a hard cover. This allows a sturdy surface for the flowers to press and dry in, and a solid outer surface to place pressure on the journals.

Step 1: Find your botanicals (flower, herb, weed, leaves, petals…).

Step 2: Take a cutting, including any part of the plant you want to press and store, such as the flower head, leaves or leaflets, and (non-woody) stem.

Step 3: Place the flower flatly out on the surface of the page, allowing several blank pages before and after your preserving page. Press the flower head as flat and open as you can to allow for a full “picture” of the flower once pressed.

Step 4: Close the book, pressing hard on the cover, and then lay something heavy on top of the journal to continually place pressure on the pages to press (and dry) the cutting.

Step 5: After about 4-5 days, the cutting will be pressed and mostly dry (but check for moisture – you don’t want any moisture left).

Step 6: Take your dried cutting and place it on whatever page you’d like to journal. You can leave it on the original preserving page if you like. I secure mine in place with some washi tape, and label each specimen if I’ve identified it. (I use Peterson’s Field Guide to Wildflowers, and Newcomb’s Wildflower Guide constantly, and love these resources).

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Every herbalist has a little book of recipes. A treasured little notebook to squirrel away recipes from their very first formulating days. Mine has a recipe for fire cider from Rosemary Gladstar when she came to teach my herbal class for a weekend, ten years ago. It was one of the first herbal kitchen remedies I ever made (and with the master, too!). It’s a super simple, herbal immune tonic to support the whole body during times of illness, most often utilized in early fall and winter during colder seasonal transitions. There are SO very many variations of this recipe, and each herbalist has their own special twist on this classic recipe. Today, I’ve formulated my foundational recipe, and I often add several other things to this base recipe depending on what’s available, or what my body may need specifically during that month or season.

How to Make a Flaming Cider (AKA “Fire Cider”)

This Flaming Cider Elixir – AKA “Fire Cider” – is the simplest foundational formula that you can add anything to and create a bangin’ delicious elixir. Very rarely do I ever measure what I’m putting into fire cider (but I did this time!). It’s extremely forgiving, and can be made more mild, or could pack powerful chili punch with a heavier hand on the chili peppers. I use Birds Eye Chili’s from Mountain Rose Herbs in my fire cider these days to give it a delicious flavor, and infuse a potent spicy hot kick to my cider. I also incorporate ginger root, turmeric root, fresh garlic, onion, rosemary leaves and peppers to make up my base formula. These warming, stimulating and potent herbal additions make for an elixir that will get your blood moving, and the heat from these herbs serves to push pathogens and heat to the surface of the body. The key to this apple cider vinegar tonic is *movement*, using herbs to stimulating and circulate movement through the immune system, lymphatic system, cardiovascular system, and digestive system.

You can add so much more to your flaming elixir. Horseradish is a popular addition, and I use this when it’s available at my local farmers marker. I also like to add in thyme for it’s anti-microbial properties, and peppercorns for an added savory-spicy flavor. If you really like a kick to your fire cider, you can add just a *pinch* of cayenne powder.

Read More: Crafting Your Own Fire Cider

Extra notes on vinegar infusions

When you’re infusing a vinegar (or oil), it’s ideal to really finely chop (or even powder) the herbs so as much surface area is exposed as possible for maximum infusion. However, the smaller you chop your herbs, the harder they are to strain out when the time comes. I generally chop things fairly fine, but not too fine that they would slip through cheese cloth or a fine mesh strainer. It’s totally fine to consume bits of the herbs in the cider! Finally, vinegar can be hard to take straight, thus the addition of the honey in this formula (but it’s optional to add). The sweet flavor cuts the tart flavor of the vinegar, however if you choose to forgo the honey, I would recommend diluting the fire cider in a little water before consuming. It’s strong!

This recipe makes a small batch, so double or triple the recipe as you need. You can also add this flaming elixir to salad dressings, dash a bit on your eggs in the morning, or put a splash into your cocktails or water spritzers!