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."
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!
"Glamoury is an ability Witches have to transform themselves into something else. This is where our word “glamour” originated. Glamoury is more than beauty though—it is the projection of allure and charisma. Glamoury demands attention, reverence, and awe."
'The Three Witches from Shakespeares Macbeth'
by Daniel Gardner, 1775
"Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire and Elizabeth Lamb,
Viscountess Melbourne – the most famous political
hostesses and society beauties of their day – are shown
gathered around the witches’ cauldron alongside their
friend, the sculptor Anne Seymour Damer"
It was Coco Chanel who once said “Nature gives you the face you have at twenty; it is up to you to merit the face you have at fifty.” I’m very sure that she was right.
I was recently looking at some old pictures of myself and was truly amazed. It was a composite of images of myself at 17, 25, 32, 45 and one taken just recently at the age of 53. I looked in the mirror and realized that I quite enjoy what the passage of time has done to my face. I now have plenty of wrinkles and I don’t go out anymore without a bit of lipstick, perfume , styled and beautifully colored hair. I also refuse to lie about my age which gives me an extraordinary amount of pleasure. Besides, painting my lips every morning at my dressing table gives me a chuckle as I remember my mother and how she was never without her lipstick. She knew what she was doing. She had a twinkle in her eyes that came from having lived life well. She never stopped learning and she never stopped leading the way. She was an example for me early on that you could be your self and look pretty fabulous at any age. Up until the day she died my father was absolutely bewitched by her. More importantly she had all kinds of fun continually becoming that woman!
I consider myself very fortunate to still be surrounded by some pretty fabulous older women; all of them still physically beautiful , dynamic and brilliant. One will be turning 82 next month and one has just turned 87. Neither of them look a day over 70. They possess the adventurous spirits of the 30 something’s without all of the drama. They love high fashion and glorious cosmetics, thankfully using them without trying to hang on to any sort of dewy youthful glow. When I‘m hanging out with them I’m aware of a constant flood of images and stories that come only from having lived an exciting life and I’m acutely aware that only with new experiences do we continue to live that fully. One is writing a book and the other has a calendar of volunteer work that would exhaust most of us. I’ve only mentioned a couple of them but I am lucky to know many more. I am grateful for these friends as they give me a way to escape the constant flurry of advertising that tells all of us over 40’s that it’s time to roll over and die. These women don’t play dress-up; they are (as my niece says) “ All That!” I want to be all of them when I grow up. In the absence of my own mother they are teaching me to step up confidently and lead the way.
I don’t know about you but I’m fairly stubborn and I don’t intend to age gracefully. I intend to age fiercely and fearlessly, sliding into my grave feet first and with a smile on my face born with the joy of having been alive! When I think about all of the older women who have inspired me, I realize that they all have this trait in common. They crave new experiences. They are not afraid to have reinvented themselves, some of them many times in their life. They are not afraid to speak their minds and they have never stopped learning. They have ceased to worry about being beautiful because they know exactly what they look like and love to make the most of it. They know how to love and allow themselves to be loved, even when it hurts. Their elegant faces are lined with their smiles, tears and gorgeous shades of Chanel lipstick. They practice yoga, go for long walks with their dogs, go to college and spend their free time painting or in meditation. They entertain with ease. They hang out with lovely men , not because they have to but because they want to. Most importantly they have stopped wasting their time being afraid to die.
I think that this one aspect is the reason that my friends always seem lit from within every time I’m with them. Having faced the fear of old age from a very early age, they stopped worrying about what the future would bring and concentrated on creating a completely vital and totally interesting present while laying the groundwork for a fabulous future. They are all wise enough to have learned that physical beauty is just one small part of the package and that who they are inside is what shows up on their faces. If you’re going to get wrinkles anyhow, it pays to let them be created from living, not resisting the long path towards the inevitable. To be sure, living can be challenging at times, but would you really want it any other way? I’m of the opinion that we should absolutely demand of our lives what we really hunger for and then ruthlessly chase it down. As one of my dear friends says, “ I love growing older because I’m finally learning how I really like to live!” proving to me once again that youth and sex are indeed totally wasted on the young! So seize the day, your favorite lipstick and dance into your 50's like you've never danced before. Stop worrying about what has been. Live and love well and never leave home without planning for a bit of mischief to brighten your day. My mother liked to say "Always remember to stay interesting dear because if YOU bore yourself to tears can you imagine how anyone around you will feel?" Brava Bellissima!
Glamoury Quote courtesy of Llewellyn Press
So I've been asked to be the guest chef and speaker at Vegan First Thursdays at the Whole Foods on Chagrin Blvd on Thursday , June the 6th and I couldn't be more thrilled!
I can't wait to talk about vegan grilling and teaching you to throw a fabulous summer soiree that is so delicious that any meat eaters in your crowd will be blown away and begging for more! I hope that you'll join me as we start the summers feasting! Space is limited so please call and make your reservation today!
What a lovely morning at The North Union Farmers Market at Shaker Square! Jim and I enjoyed breakfast burritos from Spice Kitchen, iced tea from Dewey's and left with blueberry bushes and lavender cookies... All and all just a perfect morning!
I'm a Midwestern witch through and through and there is nothing that captures those memories of an Ohio spring like the extraordinary scent of a French lilac and alas, it's one of the hardest of scents to capture. Unless you are working with a natural perfumer, most of the lilac perfume that you will encounter is synthetic. I've discovered though that one of the best carriers for this elusive scent is good old fashioned sugar, so when the lilacs are blooming I beg , borrow and steal enough of the fragrant blooms from all of my friends and neighbors to create a sweetly perfumed lilac treat. The end result is a beautifully tinted and infused lilac sugar that I can use to make jellies, syrups, love spells and tea sugars.
The process is simple. Take as many lilacs as you can find and take the blossoms off of the stems. Put them into a bowl and add a couple of pounds of white sugar. Toss and cover and allow the blooms to infuse the sugar. The next morning take the cover off of the bowl . The sugar will smell amazing, but it will be damp. Place all of the sugar and lilacs on dehydrator trays and allow it to dry for about a half an hour and then put it back into a covered bowl. Pick another good bunch of lilac blossoms and put them into the dehydrator for about a half an hour (no sugar this time). When they have begun to dry but not yet lost their scent, take them out and stir them into the already infused sugar.
Let it dry for about 6 more hours and put it up into an air tight cannister. The scent is astonishing. I use this sugar to make several bottles of a gorgeous love philtre every year. I only make three bottles and they go very quickly as it is quite an effective heart opener & aphrodisiac when used correctly. Please email me at [email protected] if you are interested in purchasing one of them.