Archive for the ‘Recipes and DIY’ Category
Posted by|06 October 2014
Have you been searching for an alternative to alcohol-based tinctures? Looking for a way to extract the benefits of herbs and preserve them? Maybe you like your medicine a little on the sweet side?
Vegetable glycerine, the sweet principle of oils, was discovered in 1789 and came into use by medicine makers around 1846. This liquid is obtained by the hydrolysis of vegetable fats or fixed oils. The food grade vegetable glycerine offered by Mountain Rose Herbs is certified organic and kosher, making it a great option.
Sometimes referred to as glycerol, glycerine is a clear, colorless, and odorless liquid with an incredibly sweet taste having the consistency of thick syrup. Glycerine has been used as an ingredient in toothpaste, shampoos, soaps, herbal remedies, and other household items.
Glycerine is also a great solvent for extracting constituents from plants without the use of alcohol. These extracts are known as “glycerites” and are an excellent choice for administering herbal support to pets, children, or people who are sensitive to alcohol for any reason. Glycerine is slightly antiseptic and has anti-fermentative properties that are efficient for preservation. A glycerite has a shelf life of 14-24 months, versus an alcohol extract with a shelf life of 4-6 years.
When making a glycerite with dried herbs, it is common to use water to rehydrate the herbs and loosen up the botanical matter. Generally a mixture with 60% or more glycerin to 40% or less water is a safe ratio. To err on the side of safety, I go with a 75% glycerine to 25% water ratio. If you are working with fresh moist herb, you can go with 100% glycerine for your extract – just be sure to muddle well.
Directions for making your own alcohol-free herbal glycerites:
- Fill a mason jar ½ way with dried herb (2/3 way full with fresh herb). Chop dried herb well before mixing with menstruum.
- In a separate jar, mix 3 parts organic Vegetable Glycerine and 1 part distilled water. Shake to combine.
- Pour liquid mixture over the herb and completely cover to fill the jar.
- Label container with date, ratio of glycerine to water, and herbs used.
- Agitate daily for 4-6 weeks.
- Strain with cheesecloth, bottle, label!
- Note: If you used a fine powder you may need to double filter, and even filter through a coffee filter to ensure that no botanical material remains in your glycerite.
Wondering which herbs to try first? Here’s a list of herbs recommended for glycerite preparation from herbalist James Green’s Herbal Medicine Maker’s Handbook:
Enjoy your alcohol-free extract!
Posted by|05 October 2014
Preparing a simple decoction is one of my favorite ways to consume roots. While leaves and flowers lend themselves well to a quickly-brewed tea, the roots can take a little more planning. A decoction is a method of simmering roots, barks, berrries, etc. to extract their properties. It takes a little more effort, but it is well worth it – especially when you can enjoy a lovely combination like the following…
Digestion Root Tea
2 Tablespoons organic Burdock Root
2 Tablespoons organic Dandelion Root
2 Tablespoons organic Astragalus Root
1 Tablespoon organic Ginger Root
Combine all the herbs in a saucepan with 3-4 cups cold or tepid water. Bring to a boil for a few minutes before turning the heat down to low and letting the herbs simmer and steep in the hot water for another 5-10 minutes. At this point, you can either strain the herbs and drink the tea or you can let the herbs rest in the water for a longer time (even pouring into a jar, covering and letting sit overnight) for an even stronger decoction. Strain before drinking.
Posted by|29 September 2014
It’s time for a pizza party…
I have been gluten-free for just about a year now. The thing I miss most? Pizza! I used to love bringing home dough from my local co-op and rolling it out with my nieces and nephews for a personal pizza party. Once I had to give up the gluten, I wasn’t exactly motivated to figure out how to make a gluten-free dough that would satisfy my pizza urges. In the past year, I have only had pizza a handful of times, and it was rather expensive when I did – so I set out to finally make some gluten-free pizza bread myself!
This dough is not your normal dough. It’s a twist on a regular gluten-free pizza dough recipe and is easily enjoyed, even by our gluten-loving friends. The mesquite powder (find it here) and teff flour combine to make a subtle sweetness with a soft and chewy texture. Mesquite powder is made from a legume that has long been a staple food of indigenous cultures in the Americas, making it a great wheat-free option for baking. This dough can easily hold up to toppings and is tasty on its own.
It wasn’t an easy task to find a gluten-free flour blend I could stand behind. The recipe below is one I’m very happy with and should work fine as a replacement in your other baking recipes, just add a tsp or two of organic psyllium husk powder or organic guar gum per cup of the Gluten-Free Flour Base.
Gluten-Free Flour Base
- 4 1/2 cups + 1/3 cup organic white rice flour
- 1 2/3 cups organic brown rice flour
- 1 1/3 cups organic potato starch
- 3/4 cup organic Arrowroot Powder
- 1/4 cup organic teff flour
This should be enough flour blend to make 2 (almost 3) of the recipe below.
Mesquite Pizza Dough Recipe
- Using a stick or paddle blender, combine flour mix, mesquite powder, almond flour, psyllium husk powder, baking soda, salt, and yeast. Add in (while mixer is running on low if possible) warm water and oil. Turn to medium speed and mix for about 6 minutes or until everything is well combined and mixture resembles a thick batter.
- Remove bowl from mixer (remove lid if necessary) and cover with plastic wrap, let sit for about an hour and a half.
- Prepare baking sheet with parchment paper/oil. Using a spatula with olive oil, or hands and olive oil, spread dough out to roughly 11 to 12 inch wide circle, leaving a thicker crust at the edge. If’ it’s easier, you can place a piece of plastic wrap on top of dough to help smooth it out.
- Place prepped crusts on middle or lower racks and cook for 45-50 minutes at 325 degrees. Cool.
- Top and bake for 10-12 minutes on middle or top rack at 500 degrees. Slice and enjoy!
Vegan Cashew Cheese
Ohhhh for the love of cheese! How I miss cheese! I discovered this delicious cashew “cheese” alternative while dining out for pizza one evening. It is SO easy to make!
Soak nuts in water overnight, rinse thoroughly, and strain. Place in food processor with 3 cloves of garlic, salt, and olive oil. Blend on high for about 3 minutes or until super smooth and chunk free! Add more oil if you would like, and spices if you so desire!
Herb Spiced Pizza Sauce
When I made this pizza recipe, tomatoes were pouring out of everyone’s ears here in Oregon. If they are not in season in your area, don’t feel bad about grabbing a can of organic tomatoes.
- 10 organic fresh Roma tomatoes (or one can organic tomatoes, strained)
- 1 cup water
- 2 Tbsp organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1/4 cup organic sugar
- 1 Tbsp organic white vinegar
- 2 tsp fine Sea Salt
- 1 Tbsp dried organic Basil Leaves
- 1 tsp organic Oregano Powder
- 1 tsp organic Garlic Powder
- 1 tsp organic Onion Powder
- 1 tsp organic Black Ground Peppercorn
- 1/2 tsp organic Cayenne Powder
Dice tomatoes and place in deep cast iron skillet. Add water, olive oil, and spices. Cook on medium to medium low for one to two hours. Use mashers to break down tomatoes. After most of the water has dissolved, turn off and let cool. Place in blender (if you desire) and blend up to a smooth consistency. I sometimes like to leave it chunky too! It’s up to you!
Spicy Pizza Sprinkle
Mix ingredients together and place in a shaker container to sprinkle on top of your pizza!
Enjoy the party!
Posted by|28 September 2014
The rains are back! At least, here in Oregon, our beloved fall is kicking off with some delightful cloudbursts and puddles for tromping through! Rainy days call for tasty, savory, deeply-flavored tea, and the inspiration for this recipe is taken right from the sky!
Rainy Day Chai
2 Tablespoons organic Firefly Chai tea
1 teaspoon organic Nettle leaf
1 teaspoon organic roasted Cocao Nibs
1 dropper (or more, to taste) organic Lemon Balm extract/tincture
Combine the Firefly Chai, Nettle, and Cocao Nibs in a tea infuser, strainer or bag. Pour 2 – 2 1/2 cups boiling water over and let steep for 3-5 minutes. Add 1 dropper of Lemon Balm extract or tincture and stir to combine. Feel free to add a little milk, soy, and/or honey to taste. Enjoy!
Posted by|24 September 2014
Our new catalog for Autumn 2014/Winter 2015 has arrived!
As cool weather draws us near the hearth, we’re crafting gifts for the holidays, baking treats, and making medicine from this year’s bounty. We’ve filled these pages with new recipes like vegan gluten-free White Chocolate Coconut Bark, Rosemary Mint Elixir, and Herb Roasted Chickpeas, as well as unique homemade gift ideas, herbal profiles, and new products.
As always, we print on post-consumer waste paper with eco-friendly inks so you can recycle the cover and compost the rest, although we hope you’ll keep it around for a bit or share it with a friend. You can also view the catalog online by clicking here!
Want a FREE copy all for yourself?
Posted by|21 September 2014
The garden harvest is waning. While there are still some pumpkins, winter squashes, and tomatoes producing, the rest of the garden is drying up and putting energy into producing seeds. The fruit trees in our back yard are laden with apples, figs, and persimmons, and soon will start losing their browning leaves. There’s a little bit of sadness in the harvest season, but there’s also satisfaction in the abundance of another growing season. This morning’s tea recipe celebrates some of the flavors and nutrients grown and harvested in gardens all over!
1 teaspoon organic Alfalfa Leaf
1 teaspoon organic Artichoke Leaf
1 teaspoon organic Barberries
1 teaspoon organic Blackberry Leaf
1 teaspoon organic Sunflower Petals
1 teaspoon organic Hyssop
Place all the herbs in a tea infuser, nest, strainer, or bag. Pour 1-2 cups boiling water over and let steep for 3-4 minutes. Feel free to add honey, lemon or other ingredients as desired (this is not a very sweet tea.) Relax and enjoy!
Posted by|15 September 2014
We have a tendency to take our feet for granted—and yet, our feet get us everywhere we need to go each day! If you’ve spent a summer running barefoot or wrestle with dry, cracked feet, a regime of herbal self-care may be just what’s needed.
For those of us who wear work boots, or spend all day standing, our feet may get especially sore or develop a bit of an odor. Fortunately, a little extra tending can help combat both of those challenges! These recipes are suitable for everyday use, or as a special occasional pampering. Feel free to experiment and use the herbs, essential oils, and carrier oils you like best!
The perfect pampering pedicure:
Step 1: Get started by using a pumice stone to remove dry, loose skin.
Step 2: Next, it’s time for a foot soak! Adapt your soak to suit your needs.
Rejuvenating Foot Soak
Fill tub or basin with warm water and add above ingredients. Mix well and soak feet for 15-20 minutes.
Deodorizing Foot Soak
Fill tub or basin with warm water and add above ingredients. Mix well and soak feet for 15-20 minutes.
Herb Blend for Happy Feet
Add equal parts of the following herbs to a bowl and combine well. (I used 2 Tablespoons of each) Scoop mixture into cotton muslin bags and use as an addition to the foot soaks above, or on their own as an herbal foot soak in warm water.
Step 3: Apply the following foot scrub to feet, rubbing well, and then rinse off in the soaking water:
Cleansing Foot Scrub
Mix all ingredients in a ceramic or glass bowl, using a wooden spoon to combine. Add enough water to make a paste. Rub well all over feet. Rinse.
Step 4: Dry feet well, making sure to get between toes. Spritz feet with organic Lavender, Rose, Chamomile, Calendula, Lemon Balm, Rosemary, or Peppermint Hydrosol.
Step 5: This is the time to trim toenails or tend to extra cleaning in and around toes and toenails. Trim toenails to fit the shape of the toe and file for extra smoothness.
Step 6: Rub Healing Foot Salve into feet or lotion of choice. You can even finish with a simple moisturizing application of organic Olive Oil or Sweet Almond Oil.
Moisturizing Foot Salve
½ cup organic Sweet Almond Oil
½ cup organic Jojoba Oil
1 ounce Beeswax
20 drops organic Lemongrass essential oil
10 drops organic Tea Tree essential oil
10 drops Bergamot Mint essential oil
Optional: organic Roman Chamomile essential oil, organic Lemon Balm essential oil
In a Pyrex bowl or 4-cup measuring cup, add oils and beeswax. Heat over boiling water until melted and combined. Remove from heat and stir in essential oils. Pour into tins or jars. This recipe makes 10 ounces of salve, enough to fill two 4-ounce tins and one 2-ounce tin. Let cool until solid (this will only take an hour or so.)
I like to put on cotton socks after slathering my feet with this salve and it doesn’t have to be used only after a foot soak. Rubbing it on your feet in the morning after a shower or prior to going to bed are both great ways to add moisture to overworked feet on a daily basis. Feel free to try different oil combinations or essential oils to suit your personal likes and needs.
Soothing Foot Powder
¼ cup French Green or White Cosmetic Clay
¼ cup Baking Soda
¼ cup Arrowroot Powder or cornstarch
¼ cup Marshmallow Root Powder
10 drops organic Peppermint essential oil
10 drops organic Eucalyptus essential oil
Combine all ingredients well and put into a powder container (or keep in a box or tin and use a brush or powder puff.) Sprinkle on feet or in shoes to absorb moisture and soothe hard-working feet.
You might also find these helpful:
Posted by|12 September 2014
This bright and uplifting essential oil blend is the perfect aroma to carry a little bit of summer into fall! Fresh citrus and a hint of floral sweetness will leave you smiling as you enjoy this light and lively scent combination as a body spray, room deodorizer, perfume oil, or diffuser blend. Have fun and be creative!
Feeling inspired to mix it up?
For the next 2 weeks, we are offering the essential oils in this recipe (select sizes) at 35% off! Now is the time to stock up on Jasmine Absolute, organic Lemon, organic Lavender, and organic Combava essential oils!
Posted by|08 September 2014
Many cuticle creams on the market today are mixed with yucky chemicals meant to “dissolve” your cuticle. Sure they might be pesky at times, but cuticles serve a purpose. Their job is to protect your nail bed, and our job is to protect them!
Keeping your hands and cuticles well hydrated is the first defense against cracking, peeling, and possible infection, as well as the key to keeping them looking great! If your cuticles are not well moisturized, they are more prone to break, crack, and thus become more vulnerable to bacteria. Maintaining well hydrated cuticles is what keeps them under control as well.
So instead of trimming, try this weekly routine: soak nails in warm soapy water, pat dry and then gently push your cuticles back (with something soft) and slather on some of this cuticle ointment. You can also keep a tin of this cuticle cream in your bathroom, on your nightstand, in your kitchen, and even at your desk to apply throughout the day. You might find that your cuticles are less of a problem, with the added benefit of fewer hang nails, and an overall improvement in nail health.
I love Argan oil! Pressed from the fruit kernels of the Moroccan Argan tree, Argan oil smells lightly nutty (not as much as neem), is so incredibly light, and absorbs quickly into the skin, making it a perfect cosmetic oil for your face, hair, or nails! I like to use it knowing it will absorb quickly and that I won’t get everything around me (especially my face and clothes) super greasy! You can also massage this ointment into brittle nails to help nourish and strengthen them naturally.
Argan Oil Cuticle Cream Recipe
2 Tbsp organic Argan Oil
2 Tbsp organic Sweet Almond Oil
1 TBSP + 1 TSP Beeswax Pastilles
2 Tbsp organic Shea Butter
A couple drops of Vitamin E oil
Essential Oil Blend
1. Place a small to medium sized pot of water (2-3 inches) on the stovetop, over low-medium heat.
2. Place butter, oils, and beeswax into a small Pyrex measuring glass and hang on the inside edge of your pot of water.
3. Stir occasionally until butter and wax are fully melted together in the oil. Remove from heat.
4. Stir in essential oils and vitamin e oil.
5. Quickly pour into 5-6 1/2 oz tins.
6. Place lids loosely onto containers and allow to cool.
7. Once completely cool, place lids all the way on containers, make a label and enjoy!
Australian Sandalwood Essential Oil: Sweet, woodsy, softly floral, and delicately robust. Good for dry and chapped skin. A grounding essential oil sure to boost your mood.
Tea Tree Essential Oil: A classic medicinal with a sharp, earthy, herbaceous scent. A great essential oil to keep your nails in their happy healthy state.
Sweet Orange Essential Oil: Uplifting, citrusy, and sweet. The aroma of sweet orange is cheerful and the oil is naturally antibacterial to keep your nails feeling clean and fresh all day long.
Posted by|07 September 2014
Recently, my energetic co-worker, Mason, and I were chatting about the joy of the Toddler Tea Party! As the proud papa of a three-year-old, the daily tea parties have become a cherished part of his life. This brought back a flood of memories of raising my own kids, as they used to love tea parties or just the special comfort that a hot cup of tea could bring. In fact, all my adult kids are still avid tea drinkers and I like to think all those adorable tea parties helped lay the foundation for the joy of a good, flavorful cup.
As a student at Columbines School of Botanical Studies, Mason has been learning a great deal about plants, herbs, and the offerings of the natural world. I tend to be more of a cook and gardener, so between the two of us, we had a variety of ideas about what makes for great tea for young kids. I asked Mason if he’d be willing to share one of the recipes he makes for his daughter and we also came up with some suggestions for other tasty and soothing tea herbs to share with kids. Here are some ideas for creating a fun, festive and yummy:
Smell Good + Taste Great Tea
1 teaspoon Organic Lemon Balm
1 teaspoon Organic Peppermint
1 teaspoon Organic Oatstraw
1 teaspoon Organic Lycii (Goji) Berries
1 teaspoon Organic Red Clover
Combine herbs in a tea infuser, bag or tea nest and pour 2-4 cups bowling water over. Just the right amount for one of our colorful porcelain tea pots. Let steep for 3-5 minutes and enjoy. Add a little lemon, milk, or honey, if desired.
Pretty Tea Party
1 teaspoon Organic Spearmint
1 teaspoon Organic Hibiscus
1 teaspoon Organic Sage
1 teaspoon Organic Lemon Peel
Combine herbs in a tea strainer, bag or infuser and pour 2-4 cups of boiling water over. Let steep for approximately 3-5 minutes. Feel free to add milk or honey and allow to cool until safe for kids to drink. This tea makes a delightful iced tea too!
Posted by|02 September 2014
While I have been a gardener for nearly thirty years, only recently have I begun saving seeds from my garden with any seriousness. It always seemed a bit daunting and mysterious, and for many years I didn’t think much about where the seeds came from. I simply bought seeds. Period.
Then, I started getting seeds from other gardeners and began to learn more about harvesting, storing, and sharing seeds. There are some great reasons to save seeds from your garden plants! Not only can it save money, but the seeds harvested from your strongest plants are already acclimated to your soil, climate, and growing conditions. The plants become conditioned and the “offspring” have a leg up (so to speak).
I still consider myself somewhat of a beginner, but as each year passes, my confidence grows and I learn more about the best time to collect seeds, as well as new ways to dry and store them. Here’s a little guide to get you started collecting seeds from your garden too…
How to collect and save those precious seeds…
1. Collect seeds from the healthiest, strongest plants. There is something to be said for genetics when it comes to propagating plants. Whether you are dividing or saving seed, go to the best-looking, happiest plants as parents.
2. Allow the seeds to develop on the plant as long as possible. This means a willingness to invite a little untidy chaos into your garden. Many of us have been trained to cut off flower heads as soon as they start to wilt and become unsightly. In order to collect viable seeds, the plants have to be allowed to “go to seed” and put energy into developing healthy seeds, pods, or, in the case of sunflowers (Helianthus annuus) and other Asteraceae family plants—what most folks think of as the “flower” is actually a bunch of flowers packed into a head that produce a huge round of seeds.
3. Be prepared to battle the critters! It can be a bit of a dance to let the seeds develop on the plants and get to them before the squirrels, birds, and other seed-eaters do. In the case of those sunflowers, I harvest the biggest head from the best plants and I allow it to get heavy and droopy with seeds (you can harvest and dry the petals to use too), but I do cut it off and bring it in to the garage to finish aging before the squirrels can get to it. I then let the critters have some of the smaller heads, and feed some of them to our chickens! Some gardeners will tie a plastic or paper bag over a flower or group of flowers they intend to harvest. This allows the seeds to continue ripening on the plant and protects them from the critters.
4. Some plants will drop their seeds before they are ripe and dry. Nasturtiums (Tropaeolum spp) are one of those plants and soon after the flowers wilt, the plant will drop plump green seeds onto the ground. I often let some of these just fall where they will and they dry, age, and, if we’re lucky, eventually sink down into dirt and grow new plants. I love finding surprise “nasties” tucked into cracks and along the edges of the garden. You can collect them from the ground, however, while they are still green and allow to dry. They can then be stored and planted “on purpose” in other areas of the garden.
5. Collecting seeds from pods can be a little tricky. Normally the pods will start out small, green, and tightly closed. Shepherd’s Purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris) has little heart-shaped pods. As the pods age, they generally get browner and dryer. You’ll want to harvest the seeds from these pods once they are mature and dry, but not allow the pods to go so long they naturally split and drop the seeds. Plants of the Brassicaceae family (this includes plants like Mustard) will form tight pods called silicles or siliques. This is another instance where putting a bag over the pods can be helpful. I will also harvest the pods when they are a little under-ripe and allow them to dry on a paper towel or cotton napkin until they are dry, brittle, and ready to pop open to release their seeds.
6. Scattering seeds—there are some plants that I encourage to self-seed throughout my garden: Calendula (Calendula officinalis), Chamomile (Matricaria recutita), Columbine (Aquilegia), and Dame’s Rocket (Hesperis matronalis), just to name a few. For these plants, I allow the seeds to ripen on the stem and then I help them to scatter by removing the seeds and broadcasting them throughout the areas of the garden where I’d like them to grow. For Columbine seeds, I actually have to clip the flower head off and turn it upside down, shaking out the tiny round seeds. As long as it doesn’t get too cold (I have a zone 8 garden), they will settle in and grow where they land. If you live in an area where the winters are cold and the plants are unprotected, it is best to gather the seed and store inside until spring.
7. If you do need to dry the seeds, you will want a warm, dry place to do this! If it is late summer and the days are warm and dry, hanging or laying them out of doors may work just fine (as long as you can protect them from the critters and the wind.) A garage, shed, or even the dining room table can work just fine too. Lay them out on a paper towel, cotton cloth, or torn open brown paper sacks and allow to dry thoroughly. For stalks of seeds, like Fennel, you may want to hang upside down as you would for herb drying, making sure to have a clean cloth or bag to catch the seeds that drop. I like to use a paper bag or sack, shaking and tapping the stalks against the inside sides of the bag to release all the seeds. There are some plants, like Echinacea (Echinacea purpurea), where the flower/seed heads are rather dense. I cut these after the outside petals fall and bring the whole head in to dry. Once, it is dry and brittle, I use my thumbs to loosen the seeds and release, spreading them out on the paper to dry for another day or so.
8. Branch out and try saving vegetable and other plant seeds! Squash (winter and summer) is one of the easiest to try. Choose one of the best specimens from an heirloom (or, at least, non-hybrid) variety and scoop out the seeds. Rinse and spread out to dry on paper towels or brown paper until thoroughly dry.
9. Store the saved seeds in an airtight container (sealing plastic bags work fine, but I like glass jars with lids for extra protection from moisture and temperature changes. Our clear glass salve and/or pantry jars are perfect, but you can also use recycled canning, baby food, or other jars. Be sure to label with the plant, the Latin name if you keep track of such things, and the year. Seeds do lose their viability over time and, while you may think you’ll remember what’s what, labeling is imperative!
10. Keep in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight until ready to plant.
Need some seeds to get started?
We offer a wonderful selection of organic herb seeds from Horizon Herbs!
Looking for more resources?
Be sure to check out these wonderful books too:
Posted by|29 August 2014
Making your own hemp milk is super easy and economical. Many of the alternative milks you find in stores contain weird thickeners and preservatives. Blending up your own allows you to have fresh, creamy, pure, and healthful hemp milk whenever you want it. No soaking necessary! You can also customize the flavor of your milk by using tea in place of the water – so delicious!
Ready to give it a try?
For the next 2 weeks, we are offering the ingredients in this recipe (select sizes) at 25% off! Now is the time to stock up on organic Hemp Seeds, Acacia Gum Powder, Cacao Powder, and Vanilla Bean Powder…