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January 2013

Tinctures, Tonics and Teas: Herbal Lullaby Elixir

Linden
LInden Tree & Blossoms~ Photograph not easily attributible


If you're anything like me, at age 53 it's a little bit tough to get a good nights sleep. My husband puts his head on the pillow and sleeps like a baby but oh no...not me. Menopause by itself can have me tossing and turning and if you add a bit of stress to the mix, I'm bound to be up for most of the night. Removing caffeine and alcohol before bed is very helpful, but I also have found that 2 dropperfuls of my "Herbal Lullaby Elixir" in a cup of warm water about an hour before bed works wonders! Then just slide under the covers, read a book for a bit and doze off. You should wake up refreshed and ready to start your day!

This tincture is an infusion of some of my favorite herbal allies. I'm not one for Ambien and I'm naturally very intense, so I made friends with these plants quite some time ago. Everyone of them is cooling, soothing and promotes a restfulness without drowsiness. Hops and valerian are well known relaxants but you still won't wake up feeling as if you've taken a sleeping pill. Linden is one of the loveliest nervines that I know and is used all over France to promote relaxation. Oatstraw keeps everything cool and juicy and the lavender is a natural sleep enhancer, slowing the activity of the nervous system and thought to promote lovely dreams. Hyssop is a delightful anti-anxiety herb and the catnip speaks for itself. All you need to see is your favorite kitty rolling around on a catnip pillow to know why I included it in the mix! And then there's the Rose Absolute. Rose Absolute is just such a beautiful and evocative scent and is the ultimate aphrodisiac, nervine and antidepressant.  It's magical presence in this elixir provides the alchemy that ties it all together and makes it work so well.

 

 Herbal Sleeping Elixir/ Beth Schreibman Gehring

 

I make this tonic in large mason jars (dill pickle size!) so my measurements are for one of those!

In each mason jar layer:

2 tablespoons of raw honey

1 and a half cups of tart cherry juice

1 and a half cups of  blueberries, raspberries and blackberries

3 tablespoons each of:

Linden flowers

Hyssop

Oatstraw

Chamomile

Lavender

Catnip

Hops

Valerian

10 drops of organic, culinary rose absolute  ( My favorite culinary essential oils are the Chef's Essences by Mandy Aftel)

Vodka

 

Layer all of the ingredients into the mason jar and top with vodka. Close the top of the jar and shake until blended. In about three weeks, strain and funnel into dropper bottles. To use, add two dropperfuls of this tincture to a cup of warm water or  herbal tea. Add honey if you'd like and sip, preferably in a warm bath or wrapped in a soft robe.

 

 

Lavender-flower-harvest
Courtesy of Everything lavender.com


 

A lavender and hops filled sleeping pillow is the perfect sidekick to this potion and so easy to make.  Just get two pieces of rectangular shaped soft flannel and sew them together , leaving one side open. Fill the pillow with arborio rice or buckwheat hulls, lavender and hops flowers and then add about 20 drops of lavender essential oil. Sew up the open side and roll the pillow back and forth to distribute the lavender oil. Either take it to bed as it is or heat it in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 3 minutes. You'll be dreaming sweet dreams in no time flat!

 

 


Bubbling in the Cauldron : Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Peaches and Fresh Herbs

 

Autumn_Red_peaches

I'm a big fan of Sunday dinner. I love planning for it, shopping for it and slowly and delightfully cooking it.  Today I'm making a slowly roasted pork tenderloin. Lately it's been so very snowy and when the weather turns wintry like this I long for a smell that says that all is well, the larders are full, the hearth is lit and the cats are happy. In my home such a day calls for a beautifully roasted piece of meat that I've laced with fresh herbs and fruit so here is my recipe for a lovely roasted pork tenderloin that is a delicious addition to a cold winters night. 

 

This is a very simple recipe so feel free to have fun with it and make it your own! Take a sustainably raised pork tenderloin and rub it with a paste of garlic oil ,chili sauce, fresh rosemary, sea salt, pepper and sage and let it marinate for several hours. Layer a baking dish with slices of cappicola ham (either sweet or spicy will do depending upon your taste!) and lay the pork tenderloin on top of it.

 

Slice about 5 yukon gold potatoes into 1/2 inch slices and place  them in a roasting pan. You'll also need a jar of whole peaches in light syrup, (the spiced ones are especially good and please reserve the syrup!) to layer in between the potatoes. Take a good sized red onion, and slice it thinly and sprinkle it all over the pork, potatoes and peaches. Slice a nice size bunch of green onions into about 2 inch pieces and sprinkle them all over top! 

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In a bowl place a cup of savory barbecue sauce, 6 cloves of crushed fresh garlic, about 1/3 cup of chopped crystallized ginger and about 1/4 of a cup of hoisin sauce. Stir into this mixture the reserved peach syrup and pour it all over the meat and vegetables. Roast for about 25 minutes per pound in a 350 degree oven, basting frequently. The meat will caramelize on the outside and is delicious . Let the pork sit for about 20 minutes before slicing. Arrange the slices of pork on a pretty platter with the onions, potatoes and peaches as a side garnish.  On the stove whisk together 1 tablespoon of butter, 2 tablespoons of peach jam and 1 tablespoon of sweet sherry as a glaze and brush this over the top! 

  Apricot

I serve this roast often with pumpkin soup, and a salad of roasted beets , arugula,red onion,  a touch of creme fraiche and a bit of caviar. Another wonderful accompaniment would be a small plate of gnocchi dressed with olive oil,  garlic, walnut's  and spinach.  I'm generally a wine drinker, but in this case the absolutely to die for Organic Apricot Ale from Sam'l Smith is the way to go. Just trust me on this one please! The fragrance is sheer and shimmering summertime in a bottle!

 

For fun this pork tenderloin will also make a wonderful hors d'eourve if you're in the habit of making your own potato chips! If you've never made your own potato chips before it's really fun and terribly easy. Bring some fresh peanut oil up to frying temperature (you'll know it because when you toss a test chip in it will instantly begin to bubble!) and slowly add potatoes that you have sliced very thinly and patted dry. Watch them and take them out of the oil when they are a little more than golden and drain them on a paper towel. That's all! Just take a fresh chip and put a shred of the pork loin on top of it with a dollop of a chutney made from caramelized onions, blue cheese and peaches. A fresh sage leaf and a bit of crystalized ginger completes this ambrosial treat!

 

 

Whatever you're eating tonight please remember to take the time  to set the table, light some candles, play some music and enjoy your dinner slowly with someone  special even if it's just yourself and the cat! No one deserves the kid glove treatment more than you and your family who will remember it long afterwards and besides absolutely nothing can make the heart warmer than a delicious meal savored slowly with those you love!

 

So what are you cooking today? Recipes please!


Ecstatic Traditions: Yoga = Bliss

 

Detox

I love Yoga so much and I try to incorporate some poses into my life everyday because it's so very relaxing and yesterday was no exception. It had been a particularly tough day for me; a board that I run literally ripped me into emotional shreds for presenting an idea at a meeting that was too scary for them to see all of the possibilities. By the time I got home all that I could do was crawl into bed, pull the covers over my head and just cry. I was really taking it personally and letting it throw me out of balance.  

Jim called at about 5:00 and said ," I want to take you on a date tonight....lets go have some Italian food and a glass of wine, but first lets go to a Yoga class!" I really felt like I didn't want to even get out of bed but I trust him. He always knows how to make me feel better. So I grabbed my Yoga mat and  went out to the car.

As soon as we walked in and rolled out our mats I began to feel better. It was a basic class which was good because I didn't want to work hard, I just wanted to relax and enjoy myself. The instructor turned down the lights , led us through a series of simple stretches and then many relaxing poses. Halfway through the class I realized that I'd just let go of the worst of the day. We finished with a long Shivasana and several energy and color meditations and I walked back into the locker room where I was greeted by a very obese woman who I'd never met. We began to talk for a bit and she asked me why I looked so happy. "I see all of you go in and out of that class and you always come out smiling and relaxed. Is that what Yoga does?" I smiled and said" Well truth be told, YES! I had an awful day but I feel much better now!" "You'd never know it" she said."I d love to try it, but I'm embarassed about my size". 

What ensued was a conversation about standing in the possibility of your life and starting wherever you are to make the changes that you want. It was absolutely wonderful and a conversation that I couldn't have struck up if I hadn't gotten onto the mat. Before I walked in to class I was whining and feeling really sorry for myself, but as soon as I began to move I couldn't do anything but be present. The mornings meeting became a part of my past and as a result I was able to create my present to be the way that I like it...full of lively and affirming conversations where I'm able to make a difference. The woman that I was speaking to promised to meet me in class next week although she's terrified. Stretching and doing something wonderful for myself completely changed the dynamics of the day and put my spine and my heart back into alignment. 

If you've never tried Yoga I encourage you to do so. It's not necessary to turn yourself inside out like a pretzel to begin to experience the health giving benefits of this ancient and peaceful practice. Go to a studio and sign up for a basic class. Rent a mat and wear something comfortable. Get to know your body just a little bit better and relax...Breathe in and breathe out over and over again without worrying about what you look like. No one cares, they're not paying attention. The only rule is that you stay focused on your mat because this time is yours and yours alone. 

To get you started here are a couple of apps that might interest you!

 

Namaste' 

I'd love to hear from you! Please keep in touch with me at http://www.facebook.com/bethschreibmangehringholistichealthcoach or atwww.bethschreibmangehring.com

 

 

Photograph is used too widely over the www to know who to attribute it too. 

 


Tinctures, Tonics and Teas: Fire Cider

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I don't know how cold it is where you live but here in Northeast Ohio it's very chilly at this time of year. In January when the temperatures dip into the single digits I really begin to feel rundown, almost like I just want to hibernate for a while. That's when I know that it's time to make Fire Cider!

Fire CIder 1

Fire Cider is an old fashioned herbalists remedy full of warming herbs, roots, vegetables and spices. Everything in it is dedicated to warming the blood and helping to stimulate the agni. (digestive fire) Unlike most of my tinctures this one is vinegar based so it's really a fermented food , not just a medicine. The apple cider vinegar base is so good for your digestion, helping you create an alkaline environment in your body which is necessary to keep the immune sytem functioning  in tip- top shape. Every person that I know makes theirs just a little bit differently so FIre Cider never tastes the same from one batch to the next. I like mine very spicy and heavy on the garlic and horseradish. I add beets for color and also as a blood purifier. Warning! Just a little of this goes a long way and if you've got blocked sinuses this is your perfect food!

 

For each mason jar of Fire Cider you will need:

1/3  cup of chopped onion

2 tablespoons of chopped fresh horseradish root

1 tablespoon of chopped Jalapeno

2 tablespoons of chopped red beet

2 tablespoons of chopped ginger

2 tablespoons of chopped garlic

1 cinnamon stick

1 stem of fresh rosemary

1 tablespoon each of Turmeric and Mustard Seed

1 slice of lemon

Layer all of these in a mason jar and cover with several tablespoons of red wine (antioxidants) and raw apple cider vinegar. Close the jars and shake until the ingredients are well blended and let them settle. this year I used my cuisinart to chop the vegetables and I noticed that within two hours everything had settled in the jar and I needed to add more apple cider vinegar, an outcome that I really liked. Next let them steep for a few weeks, then when you're ready strain and decant the Fire Cider into a larger jar. Add several tablespoons of raw honey and stir. Then strain the Fire CIder into small dark glass bottles or a larger bottle if you like.  When you're feeling rundown, take a small shot of it and prepare yourself. The heat produces such a wonderful energy, not a burning, but a warmth that spreads all the way down to your toes! 

I also like to use my Fire Cider to cook with. You can make slaw with it or thicken it with even more honey and use it as a glaze for a delicious pork tenderloin or chicken stir-fry. How about mixing it with a bit of walnut oil for a perfect salad dressing. Because of the earthy grounding nature of the ingredients I like to mix my Fire Cider with nut oils, not olive because I think that the blend tastes richer. Last but not least although I know that it sounds a bit blasphemous,  Fire Cider is absolutely delicious mixed into tomato juice and makes a perfect Bloody Mary! Either way, you'll be very glad that you've taken the time to make a batch the next time that you're feeling just a wee bit chilled!  

One last thing. I share my recipes  because I believe with all my heart that Herbalism is a form of "medicine" that belongs to the people and I hope that you'll have so much fun making them. Herbal remedies like these have always been passed down from generation to generation; almost every herbal culture has some form of this Fire Cider. If you'd like to purchase some of mine it will be available in a couple of weeks. Just email me at beth.gehring@stirringthesenses.com

 

I'd love to hear from you! Please keep in touch with me at http://www.facebook.com/bethschreibmangehringholistichealthcoach or at www.bethschreibmangehring.com

 


Tinctures , Tonics & Teas: Elderberry and Linden Immune Support Tonic

 

Elderberry_Fruit
PIcture Courtesy of http://www.treeplantflowerid.com


 

When I was a little kid I used to go riding at this wonderful farm about 3 miles from my folks store. Actually as the story goes, my mother the Brownie troop leader took our troop there and when it came time for me to cross the Brownie bridge to my mother's chagrin I refused. Shaking her head and knowing that there wasn't' any turning back she asked me what I wanted to do. "I want to spend every day at the pony farm with Dolly" I said. So mom arranged it and it began one of the most significant chapters in my life. 

Dolly was a wonderful Southern woman, a bit like Granny Clampett only she also had a Doctor for a husband. She raised and butchered her own chickens and Muscovy ducks and she made the best Elderberry wine and tonic. She taught me all about the plants that she had growing on her 36 acres and oftentimes would send me out with a basket to gather plums, strawberries and blueberries and in the springtime, Elderberry Flowers because she made the most delicious fritters! She was the first person who ever put a rifle in my hands because she loved to go hunting and my mother trusted her. She taught me how to deliver a foal. The one time that I saw her all dressed up I didn't recognize her because for all those years I'd never seen her in anything other than jeans and Wellington boots. I loved her. She's been gone for quite awhile now and I still miss her everyday.

By now you can probably tell where I come from. 

 

 

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Handcrafted Immune Support Tonic


 

So here in Northeast Ohio it's raging flu season and Elderberries are definitely one of the best immune support weapons that we've got in our natural arsenal. We've all had the flu in this house  and I refuse to get it again AND I refuse to get the shot. I just don't trust it and so many people that I know who've gotten the shot have gotten the flu anyhow. So I mixed up a batch of my favorite Immune Support tonic and I thought that I'd share the recipe here. This batch has home infused blueberry vodka as it's base, but you can use just plain vodka. I love to infuse my own with fresh summer fruits and herbs and that way I've got it in the thick of winter when I need it. This particular batch was infused with fresh summer blueberries, lemon balm and sage. I add mullein to help cleanse and refresh the lungs and linden to help soothe the nerves. Lemon to help flush the liver.  Lots of raw honey to soothe the throat and plenty of ginger , cinnamon and other spices to help boost the antibacterial qualities of the tonic.  It really tastes good and that's before it's steeped for a bit. 

 

You will need: 

Large clean mason jars with tight fitting lids 

1/3 of a cup of Elderberries for each jar

1/3 of a cup of elderflowers for each jar

 4 tablespoons of dried mullein

4 tablespoons of dried linden flowers

Half a teaspoon each  of cinnamon, fresh ginger and cardomom

3- 4 heaping tablespoons of raw honey 

1 sliced Meyer lemon

Vodka to top it all off

 

It's simple after all of that. Put the herbs, spices and lemons into the mason jars and add the honey. Cover to the top with vodka, stir briefly,   close the lids tightly ,  shake the jars a few times and let them sit on the windowsill for about 4 weeks (although I've been known to break into it sooner!) Open the jars and strain each into a pitcher, stir to blend.  Using a funnel,  decant the tonic into small dark glass dropper bottles. 

I love to put this into tea or it's good enough to take straight when you feel a bit under the weather. Making your own tonics and tinctures insures that you've got the quality you want and the energy that you want. There's nothing nicer than taking care of your family with tinctures and tonics that you've crafted yourself with all of your love. Trust me, they'll totally notice the difference!

If you'd like some of this it will be for sale in a few weeks. Just send me an email at beth.gehring@stirringthesenses.com and let me know!

 

Please feel free to stay in touch with me at  http://www.facebook.com/bethschreibmangehringholistichealthcoach or www.bethschreibmangehring.com


Bubbling in the Cauldron : Soup for Supper!

 
I love soup for supper! In fact, I've never met anyone who doesn't enjoy a steaming bowl of great soup, along with some good bread and a salad on a cold winters night! Last nights inspiration came from a wedge of Rogue Creamery's "Smoky Blue" that was leftover from our Winter Solstice party and a bottle of Tawny port that I hadn't yet put away! Add a bit a bacon, some potatoes and a generous ladleful of cream and you have a very elegant soup that you'll definitely want seconds of. 
I've added a description from IGourmet for the Rogue Creamery blue. It's guaranteed to make you want to run out and buy the biggest chunk of it that you can afford! Trust me, it's worth it! The fragrance alone is incredible but the cheese is buttery and delicious .  So far I've melted it on hamburgers and pork chops,  crumbled it into salads, made this soup and served it with pears, grapes, apples and crusty bread.  Rogue Creamery smoky "Oregon Blue" can be found at any great cheese  counter near you! Don't buy it just on my recommendation though…Ask for a taste. Your senses will begin to dance…I promise!

"Rogue Creamery's "Oregon Blue" was the first blue cheese ever made on the west coast and they thought it only fitting that this cheese become the first blue cheese ever smoked. The result is magic! "Oregon Blue" is a classic Roquefort style blue cheese that is cold smoked 16 hours with Oregon Hazelnut shells. The smoking process releases a sweet creamy Smokey flavor that balances both the sharp blue flavor and sweet creamy flavor of the 100% natural full cream sustainable milk from Bonanza View Dairy."

This soup recipe is very simple. Just saute a cup of chopped onion, some fresh sage and about a cup and a half of diced, naturally raised bacon with a half a stick of butter in a stockpot until gently browned. Add 3 cups of diced yukon gold potatoes and 6 cups of good chicken broth and let the whole thing simmer for about 20 minutes. Then add about a tablespoon of fresh thyme,  2 and a half cups of crumbled blue cheese, for this I used a combination of the smoked blue and some stilton. Stir that in (it melts easily) and add a pint of heavy cream. (I said this was delicious but I didn't say it was low cal!) Let the whole thing just simmer nicely for about 10 minutes and then add about 2 shot glasses of port and give it one or two turns with an immersion blender ! This last step isn't necessary, but I like my soup a bit creamier! Last but not least,  I  added some chopped green onion and grated fresh apple for a pretty garnish. A twist of a pepper grinder makes it piquant, but you probably won't need any salt!
2005_1226Soup0010


I served this last night as a main course with a simple salad of fresh pear and red onion dressed with a French apple cider vinegar and a bit of garlic oil and of course, lots of crusty good bread!  A glass of "Angry Orchard" or any other  hard cider is the perfect compliment for this soup, or a white wine that's a tad sweeter, perhaps a viognier ?  There is some of it leftover so tonight I will probably serve it as a first course with a pear and pecan puree  and a tiny bit of shredded organic ham for the garnish alongside the chicken that I'll set to roasting in the oven very soon!

So tell me. What are your favorite soups  to keep you warm on a cold winters day?
To stay in touch with me please feel free to go to http://www.facebook.com/bethschreibmangehringholistichealthcoach where you will recieve regular updates featuring recipes and information about my Natural Chef and Holistic Health consulting programs. My official website is www.bethschreibmangehring.com
This was first published on my favorite perfume blog Perfume Smellin Things in my "Foodie Sunday" column.


Food for Thought : Why Herbal Medicine?

 

                 

This is a wonderful video by a fabulous little company called Urban Moonshine. They make the best bitters that I've ever tasted. Truthfully, most bitters are tinctures (I say most because there are many on the maket that aren't naturally flavored) of herbs, plants and spices in a base of alcohol that are deliciously pungent and exceptionally good for the digestion. They also make Immune tonics , Energy tonics and Joy tonics that I know from first hand experience are really effective in promoting good health and extraordinary well being. If you'd like to try to make some yourself it's really not that difficult and it's alot of fun. Theres a brand new book out called  "Bitters- A spirited history of a classic cure-all with cocktails, recipes and formulas" by a gentleman named Brad A. Parsons. It's really interesting, full of history and verve and the recipes are terrific. You can get it on your Ipad or Kindle as well. I've really been enjoying it and you will too!

 bitters

This is the art of Herbalism the way that I've always practiced it.  Of course I use many of the supplements available and I'm grateful that I live in a country where they ARE available, but when I can get my hands on them I'll always take my whole herbs over anything that I can buy.

I believe first and foremost that Herbalism is the peoples medicine and that this education should be made available to everyone, much like over a century ago every home had a stillroom, where the lady of the house crafted her homebrews and medicinal teas from recipes passed down to her by her mother and grandmother in a  living notebook  that continued to grow and be passed down through the generations.  

Blackberries

I was taught the art of Herbalism by a very wise woman named LaWanna Rine whom I've worked with for decades. Her teaching was a vibrant blend of storytelling and science and she spent her days crafting  effective simple remedies. I'd walk into her kitchen to find glass pots of herbs simmering on her stoves and jewel-toned jars sitting on her sunny windowsill. I'd get there and she'd have baskets in her arms for us and we'd go run around her property collecting comfrey , poke and elderberry and then we'd turn it into tinctures. She and our mutual friend Haas taught me to make (read grow!) Kombucha tea over 24 years ago because she was a firm believer in the importance of eating fermented foods. She grew almost everything herself and she would feed me salads of just picked vegetables with herbal dressings that she'd make with homemade herbal vinegars and infused oils. It all had a purpose....She's 85 years old, really heathy and still practicing!

 This was "medicine" that I understood, because it was food and my body intuitively knew what it was. It was slow and gentle...not the one-two punch of a compounded pharmaceutical or an herbal supplement that is 6 degrees removed from it's original form. Her teas were effective because they were blended, balanced and alive..literally they'd been off of the stem no more than two hours by the time that you got to sit in the kitchen and enjoy them! 

If you'd like to know more about LaWanna Rine, the articles on this site entitled "Love letters from Lotus Lodge" were written by her...

To stay in touch with me please feel free to go to http://www.facebook.com/bethschreibmangehringholistichealthcoach where you will receive regular updates featuring recipes and information about my Natural Chef and Holistic Health consulting programs. My official website is www.bethschreibmangehring.com


Bubbling in the Cauldron: Truffled Roast Chicken with Fine Herbes

Chicken

To me, roast chicken is one of the simplest and most elegant dishes I make. I know that in this day an age of ever ready rotisserie chickens (which are delicious and perfectly acceptable if you don't have time!) that perhaps its not necessary to do it yourself, but I promise you that once you try you'll be hooked on the flavor, to say nothing of the aroma. This is one of those "put it in the oven and sit down with a cup of tea and a good book on a Sunday afternoon" kind of meals and I promise you that it is easier to make than you think! A perfectly roasted chicken is simply of combination of patience, slow cooking and frequent basting. It's a bit of kitchen meditation that I love because it touches on all senses! 

 The delightful free range bird that I roasted last Sunday ended up in sandwiches on Monday, stir fry with snow peas and shitake mushrooms on Tuesday and as a delightful pot of stock on Wednesday! I will only use free range organic birds and this is because I abhor factory farming.

Warning- this is where I get a bit preachy! I love animals and I can't support that system.  I am also really  sensitive to hormones and antibiotics, and I don't get the same physical reaction from the organic birds as I do the others. Factory farmed chickens have  been tortured by the time they get to your table...they've been fed poorly and over- supplemented and debeaked, a practice that really should have to be experienced by those  who continue to perpetuate it.  

So instead, why not give yourself the pleasure of  going to the local farmers market if you have one near, choosing your own chicken and talking to the farmers that raised it. It's really not that much more expensive and it's really a great experience in getting to know all about  your food and where it's coming from. Lot's of local farmers have started raising the beautiful heirloom varieties of chickens and they really do taste better and you have the pleasure of knowing that your food is coming from a sustainable system.  For me, that always enhances the pleasure and the farmers who raise the birds ALWAYS have great recipes that they're just dying to give to you!

 

So here's the caveat!  This is not a low calorie, low cholesterol recipe! However I deem most delicious things fine in moderation!  

To start , I rinse the bird inside and out, neck, gizzards and all. To be truthful, I roast the "nasty bits" (as Anthony Bourdain calls them!) but never eat them , choosing instead to share them with the dog!  They do  lend a wonderful rich flavor to the drippings as they are roasting so don't  throw them out if you can help it! After the bird is rinsed, I take my cast iron roasting pan and lay a mirepoix of fresh vegetables on the bottom.

A mirepoix is a combination of diced carrots, onions, golden beets and celery, and is an excellent moistening base for many different types of roasts.Then season the vegetables with a teaspoon of fresh sage and a bit of salt and pepper and drizzle them with a bit of good ollive oil.

 Next I soften a stick of salted butter and add to that about a tablespoon of white truffle oil (a little goes a long way!), and some dried herb's de provence. You can also use a mixture of Boursin cheese (the garlic and herb type) mixed with the butter...Yummm! With both hands gently start from the opened cavity and loosen the skin from the bird without removing it. Really what you are trying to do is just get room between the skin and the meat so that you can season it. Then take small handfuls of the butter mixture and rub it underneath of the skin onto the breast meat. Take whatever butter is left and rub it onto the the skin. Sometimes I take several slices of really good bacon (I told you that this was a dietary nightmare:) and lay them on top of the chicken as well, the bacon really flavors the pan drippings.

Then, take one large yellow onion and quarter it, one meyer lemon (cut in half) and several good sized sprigs of fresh rosemary and stuff it into the cavity of the bird and finally add a cup of water. You will probably need to add a bit more water along the way, but you never want it to be  to juicy! Place the chicken breast side up onto the vegetables and put the whole thing into a 375 degree oven. I like to roast my chicken slowly, basting frequently. After about 50 minutes, I turn the chicken upside down so that the juices from the dark meat flow into the breast, keeping the whole bird moist. I roast the chicken like that for another 1/2 hour and then turn it right side up. At this point it will definitely be browning but not yet crackly and golden. Turn the heat up a   bit and watch carefully. Keep basting the chicken with the drippings for about another 15 minutes and you'll be rewarded  with a golden skin and very moist flavorful meat.

Take the chicken out of the pan and place it on a wooden carving board so that it can rest for a few minutes because as it cool the juices will settle back into the bird. If you carve it when it is hot, the meat will be very dry. Take the roasting pan and place it on the top burners of your stove and turn the burners onto medium. Reduce the pan mixture by about a third (whisking consistently...you want to get the good browned bits up!) and then add 1 cup of white wine or sherry that you have enhanced with a tablespoon of  organic chicken stock base , 1 scant tablespoon of saucing flour and a pressed clove of garlic. Whisk the wine mixture into the sauce and let it cook for a few minutes and then add a good knob of butter  and a tablespoon or two of heavy cream, both of which will give the sauce a lovely sheen.

I have added sliced mushrooms to the sauce as well with delicious results. Remove the vegetables from inside the bird and discard. Slice the chicken and serve each portion with a few tablespoons of the sauce. I love to serve a side of  steamed asparagus with this and some lightly buttered egg noodles or gnocchi.  A simple green salad with walnuts,  a bit of fresh pear and blue cheese is also a perfect compliment.

A glass of white wine, hard cider or champagne will complete this feast and some really good bread to enjoy with the gravy.  

Please visit me at http://www.facebook.com/bethschreibmangehringholistichealthcoach

 

 The gorgeous photogrpah came from http://communitychickens.blogspot.com/2012/10/got-pumpkins-make-chicken.html#.UO7Fr4njl9k


Be~Witching: One Size Does Not Fit All!

 

 Tara Lynn

 Having been a fairly voluptuous woman for my entire adult life and having fought against my own body for decades, when this picture originally appeared in V Magazine it was incredibly validating for me.

I was blown away when my husband pointed it out to me in an article that he'd been shown at work. It seems that V Magazine put out a "Size" issue awhile back to show that plus size women are utterly gorgeous and to address the problems of the horrible eating disorders that are affecting so many of us today,  both young and old.
Marilyn 
You'll immediately notice that she's completely naked and totally gorgeous and when my husband showed her to me I was astonished. Here's a very fulled figured woman with all of her voluptuous curves on display for the world to see. His response to her beauty told me more about how he'd seem me in all of our years of marriage then words ever could. I'd always been ashamed of my very curvy body and here was the guy that I loved telling me that he found it really sensual and beautiful and that he wanted me to feel as confident as she did.
It's started me on a quest that I will be sharing with all of you here. I'm usually a very confident woman, but until recently I've spent my life worrying about every bite that I've taken and the constant stress of trying to diet and not diet definitely hampers this particular foodie.
Now I spend my time enjoying my food in a way that I haven't ever before. I'm giving myself permission to eat as if I were starving, because  though I'm not even remotely thin, emotionally the effect has been the same on me as if I've been denying myself forever.  I already eat very well but I'm no longer going worry about every squeezing this size 14 body into a 10. The extraordinary by-product of that freedom is that I'm not always hungry. 
I''ve been letting my body decide once and for all what it wants to look like and I'm giving it the gift of full exposure. No more hiding my arms, no more looking for clothes to disguise my fuller curves. Cleavage exposed!  I'm aware that my struggle with body acceptance is not unique at all which is why I'm going to bring it here into the forefront.  I'm enjoying sharing my appetites and I'm warning you now, like my curvy body they are huge! I'm betting that yours probably are too!
Whether you're large or small, thin or voluptuous, we all deserve a chance to create the voice that is as expressive, big and bold as we are. This is my no holds barred attempt to create a place for us all to enjoy ourselves and get better acquainted with ourselves! If my candor provokes you- good...if it inspires you even better. We are all hungry for authenticity and what better place to start than with our bodies. Passion doesn't have a size and neither does beauty. You'll definitely see delicious recipes and you may even see a vibrator or two. What you'll probably see from time to time are articles about the safest, natural cosmetics to use and probably because I'm  pretty passionate about animal rights and sustainable foods  an article or two about our relationship to animal testing, factory farming  and the makeup products that we use.  There's room for us all in this conversation and that's the way that I like it and I hope that you'll enjoy this amazing video of Kate Dillon talking about her struggles and ultimate successes as a plus-size model. She's really inspiring! 
 
The picture of Tara Lynn was originally in V Magazine. The quote by Marilyn Monroe is of course vintage Marilyn Monroe!

The Windesphere Witches Manifesto for 2013

 

Pagan_wheel_of_the_year_by_estruda-d2o95jb

2012 is finally no longer and I must admit that I am thrilled to have turned the pages on the book of a brand new year! 2012 was a year of deeply felt loss and powerful lessons in letting go...of my wolf dog Tekota, my sweet cat Juno, my pony Studley, my corgi Gabriel and my father, who passed away last Memorial Day at the ripe old age of 93. My beloved brother came face to face with a perilous journey of his own, as a horrific bout of pneumonia plunged him into complete renal failure. There was even more than all of this but let it suffice to say that I've been really looking forward to turning towards  the new year!

Having nowhere else to turn, I went inward on a much needed spiritual journey, twisting and spiraling back to the essence of my wild womans soul and I became aware of many needs that I'd left unsatisfied. One of the beauties of menopause is that you finally stop caring about pleasing others and finally begin to take care of yourself in very real ways. I became a woman obsessed and in a very short amount of time I became certified as a Health ,Wellness and Nutrition coach through the Institute of Integrative Nutrition in New York City and added several new forms to my Reiki arsenal.

The severity of my brothers illness had me reconnect with LaWanna Rine, the woman who mentored me for well over a decade and taught me almost everything that I know about healing herbs and flowers, gemstones and energy. In short, after years of wandering through the desert I found the courage to dance my way back home.  

In early December I began to sense that we had turned the corner. We brought home a puppy from the APL and she came with a horrible case of parvo yet she survived! My husband sold his business to a wonderful company who made him a magnificent offer not just for the business but for him and his entire team! I began to work again at a  well known luxury retailer only to discover that I loved to work hard, but that to my surprise I still had the burning energy and desire to create a new business (or two).

The best news for all of us? Yesterday, exactly one year to the day that we discovered that my brother had no renal function , he received a new kidney...a gift from a dear friend who stepped right up and insisted upon donating her kidney to him, never wavering once.

So arrives 2013 and I'm filled with optimism! On New Years eve I spun my pendulum around and around  wondering what this years message would be. You see although I'm a bit of a maverick I'm used to doing what people expect of me and I'm really tired of that. Who knows how much more time we all have on this earth...it could be decades, it could be days. So I kept asking my pendulum, what AM I supposed to do? Open a new store just like my old one? A resounding NO. Be a Public Relations Consultant full time? NO. Then I heard my mothers voice....."Dear" she said, stop worrying about it, do what you love and just have fun!" Coming from my mother, who was the patrician one in the family that was an interesting piece of advice.  So I asked the pendulum...Am I only supposed to do what's fun for me this year? A resounding YES!

So here's a list of the promises that I've made to myself this year, my manifesto if you will. Thank you for letting me share them with you and helping me breath them into life. It's a little bit frightening, this "only do what's fun thing" because it puts the onus on me. We'll see what happens...I'm ready!


The Windesphere Witches Manifesto

I will choose only work that brings me joy.

I will choose only friendships that are fun for us both.

I will not say yes to any philanthropic job unless it is truly something that I  care about.

I will have chickens and a plot in the community garden around the corner.

I will support the farmers market much more than I did last year.

I will allow the Goddess and the Wise Woman Traditions to guide me as I create my practice as a Natural Chef , Holistic Health Consultant, Herbalist and Energy Practitioner. 

I will make perfume, aromatherapy and body products again...something I haven't done for many years. 

I will take care of this 53 year old body, feed it only fabulous food, indulge it with long walks and fresh air,  pamper it, make it up and dress it beautifully. 

Enjoy my husband even more than I do already.

I will write consistently and make my hobby of writing profitable. 

I will begin the process of discovering what kind of entertaining and bridal consulting business I want to open and let go of the ghosts of retail past. 

I will start to design giftware and dinnerware again and maybe even put all of this stuff that I'm going to be making on an Etsy site. 

I will not be quiet about Womens Rights. 

I will go trail riding as much as I can.

I will find a Celtic group to sing with.

I will stop worrying about my son and just enjoy him.(And his adorable girlfriend)

I will stop worrying period. It's a bad habit of mine. 

I will practice more Yoga.

I will give at least one talk a month about one of the many crazy topics that I'm interested in, and even create a webinars, ebooks and maybe a course or two!

I will drink more Champagne and even bathe in it from time to time..

I will remember to always believe in magic and honor the Goddess in everything I do....


Happy New Year Everyone!


 This gorgeous Wheel of the Year picture can be found here!