The Magical Home Feed

The Witches Kitchen ~ Creamy Leek Tart

What a wonderful evening we had last night! Just as Jim and I were about go out to Whole Foods to enjoy Foodie Friday ( our absolute favorite 8.00 date night ~ 5 wines and five foods!!) my darling neighbor Michelle leaned over the row of blackberries and said" do you and Jim have any plans tonight?"" Let me convince you to come over for dinner!" Then she began to regale me with descriptions of sliced fresh peaches, grass fed filet, fresh sweet corn and the piece de resistance.. A fresh leek and gruyere tart!

So began a delightfully spontaneous evening spent with dear friends and their adorable children, a couple of bottles of perfect wine and that utterly unforgettable tart!

It has only 5 ingredients; gruyere cheese, butter, cream , leeks and a crust.
Just take a store bought pie crust and mold it into a fluted tart pan. Set aside.
Then sauté 3 chopped leeks in 2 tablespoons of butter. Add 1 cup of cream and simmer for a minute and then stir in 1 and 1/4 cups of shredded gruyere cheese. Pour the leek mixture into the tart shell and bake for about 30 minutes in a preheated 375 degree oven. Allow to sit for ten minutes, cut into wedges and serve!

You owe it to yourself to make this at least once! A simple side salad and a luscious glass of wine is all that's needed to turn this into a perfect meal!

The Witches Kitchen ~ Creamy Leek Tart

Tinctures ,Tonics and Teas : The Roses in my garden are blooming ~ It must be time for Tea and Thalassotherapy!

 

  “To get the best results you must talk to your vegetables."

Prince Charles 


My gardens are telling me that  once again it's time for tea! My roses are so pretty this year and are producing abundant armfuls of blossoms for flavored sugars, syrups, bath oils and teas! In the fall there will be buckets of rose hips filled with vitamin C to add to my winter tea blends to help ward off a bitter chill! My favorite thing to do is to dry the petals and use them to make a pot of rose petal tea with a touch of cinnamon, anise hyssop leaves, sage and flavored with vanilla and honey...so wonderfully relaxing and so pretty too!

For edible use please make sure to only use roses that have not been touched by pesticide or herbicide. If you have roses that you want to use for tea you can dry them easily by laying them in a pan out in the bright sunshine. Store them when dry in a mason jar or a plastic freezer bag.

There are so many ways to use them .  Why don't you try stirring them into a jar of apple jelly then close the lid and let the petals infuse the jelly with their lovely fragrance. Spread this on a piece of hot toast with a sprinkle of cinnamon and a knob of fresh butter whenever  you're wanting to entice your sweetie back into bed...roses aren't known as the flower of lovers for no good reason! You could also throw three handfuls  of the petals and a cup of muddled raspberries into a decanted bottle of Rose' and add about a cup of honey.  Store it in the refrigerator for a fortnight and strain it into a pretty bottle. Chill and serve to someone that you love! 

To make a really fragrant rose petal tisane throw a handful of the dried leaves and buds, a handful of anise hyssop leaves, a teaspoon of culinary lavender and a stick of cinnamon into a warmed teapot and cover with hot water and let steep for 5 minutes. Flavor with raw honey and vanilla. For extra richness add a teaspoon of almond oil and a teaspoon of cream. This is not only dessert in a cup, but it is a wonderfully restorative tea to drink whenever you're feeling just a bit stressed or under the weather. Roses are calming to both the skin as well as the senses so besides drinking this lovely tea you could also add several sheets of dried seaweed into the pot , let it steep, strain, then pour several cups of this delightful brew into your bathwater and settle in for a long soak. Middle Eastern cultures have long extolled the virtues of a rosewater, milk and honey bath ( Think Cleopatra!) so you can't go wrong! You will emerge from the tub relaxed, fragrant and with the silkiest skin that you could ever imagine! Enjoy!

Tinctures , Tonics and Teas : The roses are a'blooming.. Time for tea!

 

Restorers2-copy
"The Restorers" From the Druid Plant Oracle by Phillip Carr Gom

 

Tinctures , Tonics and Teas : The roses are a'blooming.. Time for tea!


Stirring the Senses ~ Spring Clean/sing!

 

Finally! I don't know about you but I'm just so grateful to see the sun again! Everywhere I look there are the signs.. Buds poking out on the trees, birds busy building their nests and flowers are popping up everywhere . Here are a few that I saw on my walk last night!

Kitchen Apothecary ~ Spring is Stirring

Don't forget that Spring is a great time for a cleanse. It doesn't have to be anything too harsh, just a lightening up of sorts ... A movement towards lighter, fresher foods. Wild greens like ramps, dandelions, violet leaves,chickweed, purslane and nettles are everywhere and they'll make a wonderfully cooling and tonic salad that you can dress simply with a bit of goat cheese, a sprinkle of pink Himalayan salt ,olive oil and lemon. If you want to go for something a little more potent  why don't you try juicing these same greens. Add some parsley, some swiss chard or spinach and for a touch of sweetness an apple or two. This is a cooling and refreshing juice that you can start the morning with that will rev up your system and get it feeling fun and frolicsome for the warm days ahead.

I love to add a tablespoon of pure French green clay to my juice in the morning to really draw the impurites from my system. This ancient secret, that of using edible clays as internal drawing salves is my "go to" remedy to suggest when one of my clients is suffering from from chronic constipation or indigestion. It also helps to cleanse the skin, because beautiful skin does start from within. I've suggested this to many a client who was suffering from chronic acne , eczema and rosacea. The first time that I tried it, I broke out with acne but within a week it subsided and I noticed healing beginning to happen all over my skin.   Of course if you try this yourself and notice a new rash or any burning, itching or anything that would seem like an allergic reaction you should discontinue using it immediately.  


Green teas, iced and sparkling with additions of fresh citrus fruits, berries, cucumber slices and herbs like basil, sage and mint are a wonderful aid for cleansing a system that's just a bit sluggish from the denser foods of winter. Adding a touch of raw honey during the cooling process will give you just enough sweetness and a lovely constant energy. You can use maple syrup too, a flavor which is absolutely delicious blended into tea and is very healthy on it's own , providing huge quantities of polyphenols to calm inflammation  and lots of antixidents to boost the immune system!

Spring is a very good time if you are so inclined to begin a plant based diet. I personally adhere fairly strictly to a diet of fruits, grains and greens and I eat seafood, raw milk cheese and some eggs as much of it from organic traceable sources as possible.  I can't stress enough the difference this makes to my moods, my body  and my worldview. I can't stress enough just how important it is to really  understand where your food is coming from. Corporations like Monsanto and Dow Chemical are doing their very best to keep our food supplies hostage by buying up plant patents and continuing to contaminate our foods, fields and waterways with Round-up and other dangerous herbicides. Factory farmed meat, chicken and fish are full of antibiotics and growth hormones, to say nothing of the absolute cruelty with which they are treated. If you are going to eat flesh foods, please make sure that they come from fully traceable sources. Truthfully? Our planet is depending upon it. 

Eating clean will help you feel lighter and feel better....I promise! Could one conversation change your life?  Drop me a line at beth.gehring@stirringthesenses.com and lets find out!

If  you are a first-time visitor, please be sure to like me on Facebook and receive my exciting and innovative tutorials on cooking and natural health topics!

For more information on my 6 month 'Stirring the Sense!" Health & Lifestyle Coaching program please go to www.bethschreibmangehring.com

 


The Magical Home: Vision Boards ~ Learning to Speak the True Language of Your Style!

 

image from www.sbryant.me
Over the years I’ve enjoyed many a beautifully decorated home, but wondered to myself where the heart and soul of the owner was truly  residing.  When it comes to home-style I am firmly convinced that the best home design, the one that really works for YOU will come from your own inspirations. That’s why I always recommend to my clients that they do a bit of internal interior prep work themselves and then  bring in a designer who can bring their visions to life!  A little time spent discovering how you truly want your home to look and feel will guarantee that the results are a home that you and everyone who comes into it will really love. This is all about learning to speak the language of your style. 

It is easy and fun to do just that and my favorite way is by creating handmade vision boards or  because I do love the latest technologies , a vision board on a Pinterest account. For those of you not familiar with PInterest.com, it is an online scrapbooking  application that’s fun and easy to use. On Pinterest you can create pages of photographs that you love, that will reflect different styles and interests and it’s a very easy way to create rooms that you love without any financial commitment at all! 

Traditionally a vision board is crafted from a piece of poster board that you paste images  and words that you’ve torn out from various magazines, newspapers and books. It’s a fun way to learn about what you really desire in a home environment and it’s easy and fun project to do.  You could also get a large leather bound sketchbook and keep an evolving vision journal for your home.

This is really an effective tool to use anytime you are beginning a renovation or decorating project.  We all want our homes to reflect who we are and who we are becoming because that’s when we truly feel comfortable in them.  I’ve done this exercise often with people who are redecorating or building important rooms in their homes like kitchens and bedrooms. It’s amazing what happens when they allow themselves to dream outside of the box for a bit. Suddenly a ultra-modern kitchen turns into a beautiful chateau with a trompe l’oeil wall and a bedroom that was originally lacy and traditional becomes a 50’s style movie star set!  

The idea behind creating a vision board of any sort is that when you begin to surround yourself with images of who you want to become, what you want to have, where you want to live, or travel to, your inner life begins to change and the world can expand to manifest  your desires.  I feel that there’s no better place to do this than in your home , in the rooms where you live, work and love everyday.

 I’ve been doing this for years and often my vision boards have brought me clear access to the thingsthat I have outgrown and the new ways that I have wanted to live.  Our current home looks very different than our previous home which was a reflection of the things that I had and that I thought that I should use, but not necessarily that I loved nor wanted. Creating a vision for our new home allowed us to know that what we really wanted to create was a home that felt like our beloved Southern California, with diffused light and bright color everywhere with some very traditional accents instead of the Colonial style of home that we had before. Looking at the blueprint we created allowed us to give away a lot of items and recycle some that we hadn’t looked at in awhile  because  we realized that  we’d  grown into another style.  I know that it’s because I created a visual reference of exactly what we wanted that our friends often remark that that they are so comfortable in our space because it feels just like us. We walk into it even on the toughest days and it always welcomes us home. 

 

No matter what type of vision board you’re creating be sure to take a moment to relax and focus on your desired outcome for your home. You may be very surprised by what you see.  Just take a moment to breathe and be inspired by with whatever appears next.

 

Put on music that you love.  It could be Sinatra or Stravinsky, anything that helps you get clearand creative. Next go through magazines (or if it’s Pinterest that you’re using through websites!) and cut or tear words that you love and images that speak to the kind of spaces that you want to create in your home. Enjoy the process and don’t worry about having too many! Be sure to have a photo of yourself and your family because you’ll want to put it somewhere on your board for inspiration!  Lay your favorite images out onto a piece of poster board in whatever way that you want. Begin to glue everything that you’ve chosen onto the board and add paint, ink or marker wherever and however you’d like.  There is no right or wrong approach to this exercise, only the approach that makes you happy. Use your intuition as a guide and you’ll begin to see  patterns and styles that you’ll love  that may really surprise you and I promise that if you do this exercise, that you'll end up with  rooms that you'll really love. Just trust yourself and have fun!

 

 

 

 

 

This was originally written for and printed in Currents!

Gorgeous example of Vision Boarding Photo courtesy of SBryant