Herbals

Spring Detox for Your Home!

Good Witches Homestead

Spring is the time of year that we start eating lighter and detoxing. It’s time for spring cleaning of body, mind, and home! While there is a lot of focus on what we eat, often not enough attention is paid to how we clean our homes… Making sure that all of your household cleaning products are naturally-derived is extremely important – especially if you have children. The products we use every day may give off toxins that we then breathe in or absorb through our skin. They may also pollute the air in our environment. Studies have shown that environmental toxicity is a contributor to many conditions such as autoimmune disease, heart disease and even cancer(1). The chemicals found in many common household cleaners are carcinogens which mean that they can cause cancer. Bleach and ammonia are highly toxic and, when mixed together, they are a lethal combination(2).  Other chemicals…

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Food

Blood Orange and Pistachio Cake (with Rose)

Wylde and Green

This recipe is adapted from one I found in Lia Leendertz – The Almanac, A Seasonal Guide. A brilliant book for anyone interested in the seasonal tides, moons and fields.

The best thing about this cake….making it. I chose a gloomy, grey Sunday and the scent of the oranges lifted my spirits immeasurably. Blood oranges are in season from February to mid March I believe, so make this cake quick. I added rose water, because in my head this cake was so green and pink I wanted to add the delicate taste and fragrance of rose, and it really worked. This would be the perfect cake to bake for someone who needed some luck in love, or to raise the spirits after a broken heart.

img_7590Ingredients

  • 150g organic butter
  • 150g castor sugar
  • Zest of 3 blood oranges and juice of 1
  • 2 tsps of rose water
  • 2 free range eggs

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Food, Herbals

Foraging & Cooking with Ornamental Purple Plum Blossom: Spring Floral Confections — Gather Victoria

For me, the heady sweet almond-like fragrance of the Ornamental Purple Plum is the very essence of spring. Standing beneath their sensual pink and rose flower-laden branches on a sun-warmed afternoon is an absolutely swoon-worthy experience. Sadly underutilized as a culinary ingredient, plum blossom has a unique scent and flavour which infuses beautifully in cream,…

via Foraging & Cooking with Ornamental Purple Plum Blossom: Spring Floral Confections — Gather Victoria

Herbals, Wild Foodism

Manzanita Tree Medicine

I love this tree. It’s an all purpose tree with beautiful wood for woodworking and fragrant in campfires and bar-b-ques.

Elder Mountain Dreaming

Arctostaphylos Manzanita is in the family of the Ericaceae. Various names are Greenleaf manzanita; Big berry plant (Navajo); Big Manzanita, Mariposa Manzanita, Whiteleaf Manzanita; Madroño Borracho, Pinguica. They grow along in California, Nevada and Oregon up to the west slopes of the Sierras into the Great Basin and Rocky Mountains. In some areas they are large trees and some are like shrubs, all have a beautiful smooth, matte-finished red bark and a light to medium sage colored evergreen leaves.

Leaves are smooth, wide, dull green and thick as leather. The flowers bloom in little nodding clusters and are pinkish and urn shaped, maturing into red, tart, mealy berries with from 4-10 seeds. It is hardy to zone 8 and has green leaves all year. Flowers from late February to April. The flowers are hermaphrodite and are pollinated by bees. The
plant is self-fertile.

Harvest the berries when just ripened and…

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Food

Golden Bread Magic for The Feast of The Ovens — Gather Victoria

When the landscape outside your window resembles an arctic tundra – as mine currently does – there is nothing better to turn to than warm bread fresh out of the oven. So appropriately, this hearty and flavour-filled loaf is dedicated to the Roman Goddess of Ovens, Fornax, and her February festival of baking. It’s a…

via Golden Bread Magic for The Feast of The Ovens — Gather Victoria

Food, Health

Food as Medicine: Pear (Pyrus communis and P. pyrifolia, Rosaceae)

Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

The genus Pyrus consists of 30 deciduous species and is closely related to the genus Malus, which includes apples (Malus spp.). Both genera are part of the economically important Rosaceae family.1,2 Similar to apples, Pyrus fruits are classified as pomes, where the seeds are contained in a central, compartmentalized core.3 The Pyrus genus is native to Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa.Capable of living for more than 250 years, the pear tree is one of the longest-living fruit trees.1 Cultivated pears are derived from one or two wild pear species widely distributed in Europe and western Asia.2 Of the 5,000 varieties cultivated worldwide, the two species grown commercially are the European pear (P. communis) with its juicy, aromatic, bell-shaped fruit, and the Asian pear (P. pyrifolia) with its crisp and crunchy, apple-like shape and texture.1,2,

The…

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Health, Herbals

Herb of the Month; Cardamom – The Queen of Spices

Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

Cardamom is the Queen of Spices and has grown lavishly under the tropical canopy on hillsides in the Ghat Mountains on the Malabar Coast of southern India to be harvested by hand and shipped around the world.  The cardamom familiar to India and the western world is called green cardamom and it, along with several other types such as giant cardamom, black cardamom, and bastard cardamom, have been used for cooking, perfumery, incense, and medicine since very early in history.

Ancient Egyptians used it frequently for perfume along with frankincense, myrrh, cinnamon, and cassia, and had a recipe for an ointment called “Oil of Lilies” that included the scent from 1000 lilies. It is often mentioned as one of the ingredients of the ancient incense kyphi. Cardamom essential oil is one of the oldest essential oils known in perfumery and in the apothecary. Cardamom is the third most expensive spice after saffron…

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Food

Old-fashioned Graham Pop-overs

A Hundred Years Ago

I recently made a hundred-year-old recipe for Graham Pop-overs. The pop-overs did not rise as much as anticipated, but nevertheless they were a delightful bread that seemed more like a muffin than a pop-over. The Graham Pop-overs had a slightly nutty flavor, and were wonderful when served warm with butter or honey.

Graham flour is a coarsely ground whole wheat flour that contains the endosperm, the bran, and the wheat germ. Modern graham flours sometimes have most of the wheat germ removed to prolong shelf life and to help keep it from going rancid.

Year ago graham flour was considered a health food, and I regularly see recipes that call for it in hundred-year-old cookbooks.

Graham flour is named after its inventor Sylvester Graham. He began making graham flour in the 1830s, and promoted it as part of a health movement which encouraged eating vegetarian meals and unseasoned foods.

It…

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Food

Imbolc Lavender & Rosemary Seed Cake — Gather Victoria

There is nothing like cake to celebrate a special occasion and Imbolc (on February 2nd) is no exception. And I think this “naked” sponge cake would be a wonderful addition to any Imbolc Feast! It’s kept gorgeously moist with brushings of lavender and rosemary syrup (between cake layers) but the slight tang of the Mascarpone…

via Imbolc Lavender & Rosemary Seed Cake — Gather Victoria

Food, Health

Liver Cleanse: A Simple Step-by-Step Guide

Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

If you have a sluggish metabolism, are constantly ill, or follow a poor diet, it’s time to discover what a cleanse can do for you. Follow our simple, step-by-step guide to our 6-day liver cleanse.

The liver is the human body’s largest internal organ and one of the most important for survival. Without it, bodily tissues would die from lack of nutrients and oxygen and the digestive process would not be able to take place. One of the liver’s most important functions is the removal of toxins from your system. This function is why cleansing your liver and living a healthy lifestyle is so crucial. Performing a liver cleanse can help remove toxic buildup for overall health and wellness. Before doing a liver cleanse, it is important to understand what the liver is and all of the necessary functions it performs.

The Liver’s Location & Design

Inside your body, the liver sits…

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