Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Inspired Medicine Making

All of 10 minutes ago my friend Barbara inspired me to use cranberry in medicine making. She had made a cranberry and astragalus elixir that sounded divine. Quickly searching my brain for what I had in the house I came up with cranberry and elderberry elixir. Simply said, I can never have enough elderberry concoctions in my house! I love it for all the immune offenses that seem to always be around me. I like elderberry with something tart to balance out it's sweetness. Cranberry is a perfect fit and I happened to have a bunch fresh on hand.

Today's immune tonic, which will be awesome as a base for festive drinks that aren't entirely bad for you, is amazingly simple to make.

To make a pint will need:

The peel of a mandarin orange, or any small orange you have on hand
1 cinnamon stick
1 vanilla bean, broken up
an overflowing 1/2 cup of dried elderberries
fresh cranberries to almost fill the jar, maybe a little less than 3/4 cup (in retrospect I would have cut up the cranberries a bit)
1 cup of vodka or brandy
about 1/2 cup of honey

Put everything but the honey in the jar and give it a stir with a chopstick. Add the honey and stir again. All you need now is a pretty label and about a months worth of patience before you strain and enjoy.

Whole Food Holiday Ponderings

When else can you buy meat for less than a dollar per pound (stock up)? When else is the focus on lovingly prepared whole foods? Where do all the colors of the rainbow come together on one table and people eat  with joy?

The fall and winter holidays are some of my favorite times of year. I love getting together with friends and family eating good food made with love. In many ways I think that the holiday feasts are some of the healthiest meals people eat all year. Unfortunately they are also eaten with a once a year kind of wild abandon that ignores senses of fullness and satiety. Thanksgiving in particular is a day of marathon eating.

By putting these foods up on a holiday pedestal we forget how nourishing they really are. And before we get into how much butter and saturated fat there is in everything, I would have you know that fats and cholesterol really are not the demons western medicine has made them out to be. They are the nourishing foods that our forefathers ate for millenniums, and the modern fat phobia has only fueled modern diabesity with its forced reliance on carbohydrates and sugars taking the place of animal fats, organ meats, and traditional eating. Much of what goes on the holiday table could and should find it's place regularly on the dining table. Gathering with family and friends should occur more than a few times a year.

On my own family table we will be having a roast turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, squash, brussels sprouts, peas, homemade cranberry sauce, vegetarian carnitas, wild mushroom stuffing, button rolls (I will eat many), pies, coffee, wine and love. I love the holidays and food so I am looking forward to the nonstop festivities between now and Jan 2nd. I am looking forward to cooking for friends and warming my house with an oven that is never turned off.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


Fall is a time of change and this fall this is abundantly apparent in my life. Particularly moving from a small apartment into a house, with a yard and a lot of work to do. While change is definitely making its appearance in my life what always amazes me about fall is how much stays the same. Maybe it's because I'm an autumn baby, but I love the fall and feel more myself at this time of year, both good and bad. My true nature comes out more, my love of warm spicy things, fires, camping, engaging the elements, cooking. At the same time I tend to get emotional as all the leaves fall off the trees. I like to cozy up to a fire with a fortifying drink. My favorites are mulled wine and hot Nog a la McTrouble.

Hot eggnog is one of my favorites. I have it for breakfast on cold mornings, or on cool evenings fortified with a bit of brandy or rum. I like to make it with black pepper, cardamon, vanilla, and wild juniper berries, sweetened with honeysuckle infused honey.