Kitchen Apothecary Feed

Tinctures ,Tonics & Teas~ A tea to keep all of your joints juicy!

 

 

Tinctures ,Tonics & Teas~ A tea to keep your joints juicy!

I love this time of year because Every morning I make fresh herb teas using the bounty of my yard and garden! There's plenty of time for tea bags in the dead of winter but now's the time to put a pot of spring water on the stove, set it to boil and then take a long walk in your yard with your harvesting scissors. Fresh herb teas simmered slowly are my favorites and I love drink them all summer long hot and iced.

This mornings tea is filled with plenty of herbal allies that will help to keep all of your muscles and joints juicy and pain free!

Here's what's in the saucepan;
Comfrey leaves~ a known arthritis reliever (use comfrey leaves for no more than two weeks at a time and then give your body a two week break)
Spearmint~a calming digestif with anti- oxidant and anti-inflammatory qualities
Stevia leaves ~ a natural sweetener
Black Raspberry leaves~ I find them to be an exceptional tonic  for drawing toxins out through the bowels, cleansing for the liver and kidneys.
Anise Hyssop~ a delightfully licorice flavored herb, a very relaxing nervine
Stinging Nettles ~ one of my favorite " all heal" plants, among all of its other virtues it's a fabulous spring tonic and a gift to those with poor circulation !

This is so simple to do and I hope that you'll feel inspired to create your own blends. Just take a handful of these fresh herbs and put them in a pan of spring water . Turn on low and let simmer for at least 20 minutes. Strain and flavor with stevia or honey and jump into the nearest hammock or cuddly chair....Delicious!




Kitchen Apothecary: Master Cleansers and Anti-inflammatoryTeas!

Tinctures, Tonics and Teas: MasterCleansers

Tinctures, Tonics and Teas: MasterCleansers

Oh Dear...There are those in living in my house who have not been eating as well as they should be and one in particular who finally confessed to me after I commented on his pasty countenance that he had been sneaking too many protein bars and Acai Energizer Smoothies as well as the more than occasional Starbucks.  

It doesn't surprise me...Jim is always on the go and does more things in a day than an energizer bunny. But, it's finally caught up with him. I keep teasing him that he's past 50 now and that he should just do everything that I say,  but you know that dog won't hunt! Joint pains, back pains , too many meals eaten out and too much fatigue have finally driven him straight back to my kitchen. He's on a quest to rebuild his energy and his adrenal glands naturally and the first place to start is with a good Master Cleanser and a recommitment to a great vegetarian diet!  

I've used the Master Cleanser for years whenever I've needed to give my body a jump start. It was intially given to me by my teacher LaWanna, but I've seen many variations of this over the years. Right now we're working on cleansing my husbands overall body but especially his liver which is sluggish and fairly angry at him. Too much sugar and meat will do that and this is the best way that I know to bring about the needed balance quickly! 

The Master Cleanser is a combination of spring water, maple syrup, cayenne Pepper and either lemon juice or raw apple cider vinegar. I know that it sounds horrid, but it's actually delicious, a bit like a spicy lemonade. I add very fine olive oil to mine. I've known people to fast on simply this drink for several weeks at a time although I don't encourage it because I think that it's too hard on the tooth enamel.Several days at a time won't hurt though and what I will say, is that after only two days of drinking the Master Cleanser (jars shown above) as well as  my Anti-inflammatory tea ( in the red pot) made fresh from Comfrey, Stinging Nettles, Spearmint,Turmeric, Stevia and Raspberry leaves he's already begun to feel an increase in his energy and better circulation throughtout his body.

Cayenne is a fabulous  gift to the  cardiovascular systems and is also a wonderfully warming spice  for anyone suffering from arthritis, bursitis or any other joint problems. Apple cider vinegar helps to move the body towards a better acid/ alkaline  balance  and  is truly beneficial for anyone whose general nature is too bitter or acidic. Those who are agressive by nature tend to produce more acid in their systems and those who eat meat and sugar on a regular basis are especially prone to these inbalances. Maple sugar is a wonderful blood sugar regulator and a wonderful source of natural energy and I include the olive oil  because it has such antioxidant qualities and the ability to help control high blood pressure and cholesterol. 

In about a week he'll move on to fresh juices , plenty of salads and steamed vegetables with fresh goat cheese , lots of yummy grains and a teaspoon or two of French Green clay and more raw vinegar in those juices to help detoxify the colon. 

 If you'd like to try the master cleanser it's extremely easy to make! Just take two tablespoons of maple syrup, the juice of one lemon or 2 tablespoons of raw apple cider vinegar, two teaspoons of good olive oil , as much cayenne pepper as you can tolerate and mix it into a glass of spring water. It should be room temperature. You can drink this several times a day in place of your normal caffeinated drink and I think that you'll be surprised by how much natural energy you'll have. This is a good recipe to keep around for cold and flu season too. It's one of my my go-to remedies at first sign of a cold because it works so well and truth be told when shaken with some ice and a jigger of vodka or sake does make one of the most delightful martinis ever! (Sans the olive oil of course!)

 

 


Kitchen Apothecary ~ Lilac Sugar

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. 

Kitchen Apothecary~ Lilac Sugar

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. 

Kitchen Apothecary~ Lilac 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. 


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 [email protected] and lets find out!

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

 


Food Alchemy~ Quinoa Dark Chocolate Cake

Food Alchemy~ Quinoa Dark Chocolate Cake

Food Alchemy~ Quinoa Dark Chocolate Cake

To me, Food Alchemy is what happens when you take an ingredient that's usually meant to be used one way and then turn it into something that is by turns utterly extraordinary and totally unexpected. Such was the case with this chocolate cake. The recipe above came from last months Organic Spa magazine and the lovely young woman in the picture above is my sons girlfriend Angie. About three nights ago she asked me if we could try this recipe and I was completely intrigued. Quinoa in a cake... How bad could it be? If it worked I thought, there's one more gluten free cake recipe to add to the arsenal and I'm happy to say that it was absolutely delicious. 

We had a wonderful time making it and really the hardest part was cooling the quinoa down fast enough to make the batter. If you make it beforehand and cool it you won't have that problem! Indulge yourself if you have a copper bowl and whip the cream with a handwhisk. I added some rose extract, a bit of vanilla extract and date sugar to the whipping cream. It turned into a luscious, dense custard, just lightly flavored and perfect with the chocolate!

We sat in front of the oven for the 50 minute baking time just laughing, watching and smelling the luxurious chocolate aromatherapy that was taking over the kitchen. When the baking time was over we dusted the cake with cinnamon and ate it warm with the whipped cream. It was amazingly rich, dense and chocolate~ty. It was surprisingly not chewy and when you look at the list of ingredients, actually quite healthy! Have fun with this one. I'm going to make it again for  my next Herb Society meeting, but I'm going to slice it in half, fill it with bittersweet ganache that I've flavored with raspberry jam and then I'm going to cover it with clouds of whipped cream pineapple basil, candied violets and fruit. Let me know what you invent and my thanks to you Angie for all of the fun and inspiration! I probably would never have tried it if not for you!


Bubbling in the Cauldron: Three Cheese and Caramelized Onion Grilled Cheese

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I found out today that Friday April 12th  is National Grilled Cheese Day. For someone like me, that's perfect. Cheese is actually my favorite food. I am told that it's an addiction, but I really don't care. Grilled cheese is one of my all time favorite comfort foods and there are so many different varieties. Generally I don't think that there's anything better than a plain old fashioned grilled cheese with   American cheese and tomato soup. I know, I know....

That being said  my favorite restaurant in NYC Artisanal is having a contest to come up with a fabulous new grilled cheese sandwich to put on their menu and I decided to try to come up with a submission in hopes of winning a fabulous dinner in their private cave.

I took my inspiration from my favorite appetizer in the world, the simple yet sublime Gougere. A Gougere is a simple puff pastry with with flavorings added and baked into warm little balls of cheesy deliciousness. They're cheese puffs, but  to call them that is actually an insult.A perfect Gougere is a sublime little puff of Pate a choux (think cream puffs!) filled with spices and cheese. I make mine with gruyere, jarlsburg and cumin and I love them.

 This grilled cheese began with me caramelizing the onions and ended with sandwiches of fresh pumpernickel bread and three different cheeses; Gruyere, Jarlsburg and to add the cumin flavor , a delicious Leyden which is a medium hard nutty cheese reminiscent of a Gouda  and is studded with cumin. I added apples and mustard seed to the onions because I wanted the touch of sweetness. I have to admit that it was very very good!

 

You will need for each sandwich:

 2 tablespoons of Caramelized onions.  I caramelized my onions with a few apples, a touch of honey, balsamic vinegar and mustard seed, but plain lightly salted caramelized onions would be just as delicious!

Two slices of a fresh Pumpernickel Boule about 1/2 an inch thick. (I got mine at Whole Foods)

2 or 3 hand sliced thin pieces EACH of Leyden, Jarlsburg and Gruyere.

1 or 2 slices of organic Black Forest ham  ( I didn't use it as we are not eating meat right now but I thought that it could be a great smoky addition)

1 tablespoon of Pasture raised organic butter 

 

The preparation is simple!

Lay the cheese in alternating layers on the pumpernickel bread and top with the onions. Close the sandwiches and  melt the butter in a  cast iron pan. Lay the sandwiches in the pan and begin to grill them. Take a manual panini press or if not a cast iron pan lid and press the sandwiches. They are done when the cheese is melted and the bread is delightfully buttery and crisp. 

Serve with a side of mushroom soup or an arugula and walnut salad! To drink I'd choose a delightfully refreshing hard apple cider or apple lambic!

 

 

 

 


Kitchen Apothecary: Maple Syrup and White Cheddar Poutine'

 

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For over 20 years I lived in Burton Ohio, a sleepy little Northeast Ohio town that's known for apple fritters , maple syrup and Sunday Pancake breakfast's all during the month of March. I used to love to wake up every morning and look out over the hill from my front yard to watch the smoke from the little log sugaring cabin on the square rise up through the sky. They went to work early during those midwinter months, and often times I'd stop at the square before taking Alex to school  and we'd  eat breakfast and watch the diversity of the farmers driving in with buckets and vats of sap....a wonderful collective undertaking that makes Burton's Maple Syrup such an amazing and delicious labor of love. I still go back whenever I can. There's a  always been a debate among my circle of friends and family between Canada,, New Hampshire,  Vermont and Burton, Ohio, but when it comes to Maple Syrup I still think that my old town hands down makes the very best....Last year even one of my neighbors got into the act, tapping the trees on our city block and boiling the sap that he got down on his stove. We all got a little bottle of syrup. It was quite extraordinary to walk out my door and see taps on the trees. 

 

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A couple of the sugar maples tapped on my city block!

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My neighbor Phil, boiling the sap!

 

Maple syrup is one of those superfoods that's just so delicious that you can hardly believe that it's good for you. It's very high in calories, but supposedly chock full of antioxidants and anti inflammatories. It's even  been reputed to be safe  to a certain extent for diabetics. I love it because it's one of the original slow foods.. the only alchemy that is needed to turn the sap from the sugar maple into such a luscious product are the magic of heat and time. Maple syrup is one of the 4 ingredients of the traditional Master Cleanse that I and so many others use every spring. Just take a quart of spring water, the juice of one large lemon, several tablespoons of fresh maple syrup, 1 teaspoon of olive oil (I like to use a rosemary or blood orange infused oil) and about 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper. Put it all into a large container, chill and shake, then sip all day long while eating regular light meals. I know many people who fast on this beverage alone for up to a week, but I've never done it. Those who do report a real boost in their energy but my particular constitution needs some food and I get very energized doing this. Be careful not to drink it for to long a period though as the lemon isn't good long term for the enamel of your teeth. 

Maple syrup is also one of the loveliest  flavorings that I know. Because it's so sweet it's fairly easy to overdue it, although there are those (My husband!) who would disagree with me. It's wonderful in a marinade for fish or chicken and I love to create salad dressings with maple syrup, walnut oil, a bit of onion and balsamic vinegar. It mixes beautifully with Jim Beams Red Stag Bourbon and barbecue sauce to make a wonderful grill sauce and for someone like me who grew up with a mother who would take every fresh snowfall as an opportunity to make "Sugar on Snow", it's simply the best of childhood memories.I've attached a page from one of Geauga's best Maple Cookbooks that has all four of the time honored childhood syrup recipes. I hope that they bring you as much joy as they did me when I saw them again!

 

Fast forward to yesterday when I was in the car with Angie, my sons adorable girlfriend. We were talking about food...actually we talk alot food becauses she's a masterful cook. She was describing a wonderful version of Poutine' that she'd had in Montreal last summer and my mouth started to water. For those of you unfamiliar with Poutine' ..it's a classic street food from Quebec that consists of fried potatoes, brown gravy and white cheddar cheese curds all hot and glopped into an oozy, melty mess. It's delicious and I hadn't had it for years. What she described to me wasn't traditionally Poutine' but it sounded wonderful. Potatoes and white cheddar curds covered with a maple syrup and a sort of veloute type gravy. Enough said. I took it one step further and added some chicken sausage, cinnamon, Fines herbes',  tons of caramelized onion, fresh parsley and made the gravy from buttermilk, at least 3/4s of a cup of maple syrup and a bit of cornstarch. the whole thing was a mess of white cheddar, potatoes and sausage gravy. It was delicious and needless to say , the men in my life are happy. 

 

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In a cast iron pan caramelize the onions in butter and add the chicken sausage and a bit of water. Add the herbes' of your choice. Let simmer until melting and cooked through.

 
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Add buttermilk and cornstarch to thicken. Always mix the cornstarch in cold water then add it so you don't get lumps!

 

 

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Add parsley and cook until thickened.

 
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Place piping hot potatoes (I used baked waffle fries) into a bowl and top with white cheddar cheese and then with the hot sausage gravy.Stir and let the whole thing melt together...Eat and Enjoy!

 


Kitchen Apothecary: The Taste of Love in Food

 

 

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Botticellis Birth of Venus

One of the biggest compliments that I ever received was from the leader of a self awareness class that I helped to produce over 15 years ago. I was helping with the logistics of pulling off the course and of course my part was to cook for the leader of the course; not an easy feat as there was no kitchen so I had to produce all of the food down to every minute detail on the pad that he gave me. These course leaders generally worked an average of 14 to 16 hour a day, so they really needed food that was energizing, healing AND delicious. At first glance, I thought that the gentleman in question was a huge pain in the butt, but as I began to shop for him what I noticed was a huge attention to minimalist detail and I was intrigued. So many things that he wouldn’t eat and I was used to being expansive and abundant in my kitchen, producing rich, glorious and not terribly healthy meals. It became a challenge for me and I thought "Ok…he’s going to love the food that I make for him”, even though I wasn’t quite sure how I was going to make dishes with approximately 5 ingredients taste any good!

 

So I took a deep breath and began to cook, a vegetable soup with asparagus with curry and no cream, a simple artichoke steamed with an olive oil aioli and a beautiful piece of sole that was poached in a fragrant base of tomatoes, onions, olives , saffron and fresh herbs.  For dessert there was a red wine poached pear with a drizzle of vanilla infused cream and raspberries.  Needless to say I was pretty proud of the meal but I wasn’t sure what to expect. It was a meal of whole foods and whole herbs and it was clean food so it was lighter than normal. It was pretty and I was happy when I wrapped it up to transport it back to the hotel where the course was being held.

 

I set the table, plated the food and left the room so that he and my husband    could talk. He was a fairly stern sort of man so I wasn’t expecting much. I never saw his face when he took the first bites but an hour later my husband walked out with a grin.  “Wow” he said and proceeded to give me thedetails. I guess that he took the first spoonful of soup and proceeded to tell my husband “I usually don’t expect much and that’s why I keep my requirements so simple. I used to live in a monastery in Colorado and for years I worked in the kitchen where they taught us every day to put love into the food we served. I have not tasted love in my food since I left there so many years ago.”

 

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Image Origins Unknown

From that point on he smiled at me whenever he saw me and didn’t leave a scrap of the food. I was thrilled and I made it a life lesson from that moment on to discover what he meant. I think that love is an essential ingredient in cooking and once we’ve been made aware of it, we can taste when it’s missing. I think that we all know when it’s not present in our food, much in the same way that our bodies know the difference between whole herbals or extracted herbal isolates because there’s definitely an energy missing in the isolates that in my opinion is the healing heart and soul of the plant.  I’ve never been sure how I did it that day, but to truly have him experience the love that I’d put into preparing it for him was my intention and I was thrilled and intrigued by the result.

 

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Courtesy of Haas Health online

 

I believe that the addition of love to our cooking IS the alchemical ingredient that blends the process of cooking with the process of healing . Without the energy of love our food becomes inert, simply something that we’re putting into our mouths to survive and we’re meant to thrive not survive! We can’t live without it so before I cook anything, I always try to create a simple and lovely intention for the meal. I notice that when I don’t  although the food may be good, that there’s just something that’s missing.

 

Sometimes it’s as easy as wanting to provide a nurturing meal for my family or to make a celebratory meal for a dear friend. Sometimes it’s as necessary as preparing something special for someone who’s ailing or grieving.  I try to tune in to what’s needed and cook the appropriate dishes.  I always want my guests to feel loved and special and preparing the meal is where that starts.

 

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Courtesy of BBC Good Food

The foods and herbs that we eat have different energies and really can provoke different emotions  and an entire range of physical feelings. For example combinations of chicken or lamb with chocolate and chiles will always make you feel warm, sociable and happy but if you wanted to simply relax and spend the evening curled up with a good book you’d add lavender or lemon balm, honey and lemon instead.

 

Combinations of beef, pork and fruit laced with cinnamon, nutmeg and 5 spice and served with root vegetables is a meal that you’d eat when you needed to have a seriously focused conversation with a beginning and end. The traditions and soft creamy flavors of comfort foods are obvious to us all but there is a reason that lobsters and oysters are the lighter yet more primally fragrant foods that we serve when we are in the mood for an evening of love.

 

 Texture, aroma, visual and taste are only 4 of the senses that I use to create a balanced meal. There is a fifth emotional sense and I’ve learned that it can be provoked through the use of the energy that is to be found in all of our foods.

 

 Put your hands into your food when you mix it, taste it and enjoy the whole process of preparing it. Listen to some wonderful music while you’re cooking and just enjoy the process of chopping and preparing the ingredients; stir everything with love. Relax. Set the table with your best china even if it's just for you and your husband or if you’re just by yourself ...especially if I you’re by yourself. Sip a glass of wine while you’re cooking or a quiet cup of herbal tea. Slow down, breathe in and out and enjoy the process of preparing a meal filled  that’s filled with the most life enhancing  nutrient of all, the vitamin of love.