Blessing, desserts, Foraging, Health, Plants, Spirituality, Uncategorized, winter

Pies and Tea

If you scour the interwebs for recipes like I do, you may have come across recipes based on books, fancipes, if you will. I’m on a roll with Hobbit riffs at the moment. This is my take on Mince Pies; gluten free. The mince is green Walnut Chutney, which was made from the green Walnuts I gathered with friends on a sunny late summer day; chopped and soaked with spices in brandy to make Nocino. After the nuts were strained, the chutney was made for the occasion of our Solstice party with dear friends.It made a…lot…of… chutney. So, I’ve been looking for ways to use it up, and this is my favorite.

There is a beauty and satisfaction to eating something you have invested so much time and effort into. Months to get to these hand pies.Very earthy and in keeping with the feeling of Hobbits.

The tea is English Breakfast sweetened with Doug Fir syrup. I think I have become instantly addicted to the syrup. Yum!

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The book is John O’Donohue’s “To Bless the Space Between Us”. As you can see, I’ve bookmarked my favorites for future reference. Here is a passage I found intriguing:

“There is an implicit wholeness in the human heart; it is a huge treasure house that we draw on every day. Ultimately it is what anchors and guides us. A simple metaphor for this is a physical wound. When you have a wound in your hand, it always heals from the edges; the center is the last place to heal. Clearly it is not the wound that has finally relented and decided to heal itself. Rather it is the surrounding health and wholesomeness of your body that invades the stricken place with healing. The mind of blessing is wise , and it knows hat whatever torments or diminishes a person cannot be healed simply from within that diminishment; consequently it addresses the wholeness and draws that light and healing into the diminished area. When someone blesses you, the fruits of healing may surprise you and seem to come from afar. In fact, they are your own natural serenity and sureness awakening and arriving around you.

In my family, our parents always insisted before and after meals, at the rosary, and at the Angelus time that we bless ourselves and say the appropriate prayers. Lately that simple ritual has come back to me with new echoes: Bless yourself. If each of us has the ability to shape and form our lives through our thinking, do we not also have a huge ability to bless our lives

I would say that making food for ourselves and our loved ones that is drenched in our love and labors is a blessing indeed.

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classes, Imbolc, Teaching lectures, Uncategorized

Classes for January and February

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Finally, I’m posting classes with some lead time, so people can plan. Here are the upcoming classes for January and February: note* I’ve changed the start date for the Herbalism 101 classes.

Jan. 1 – Community class – join me in creating a vision board or photo collage. Free hang out day.

Jan. 12 – Formulating Healing Teas – Victrola Cafe 6:30 – 8:30, $35 includes all materials. A foundation in theory for formulating  herbal teas will be provided along with several combination choices, caffeinated and not; you’ll take home a canister of your own mix. ( and if you feel really inspired, the Rainbow Remedies is next door as well as a tea store down a block)

Jan. 15 – Winter Field Trip! Outside, rain or shine, get to know Nature and our outdoors in all the seasons. We can find  herbs in winter; pine and fir needles and resins, and roots.$20. Magnussen Park. 11-2

Jan. 18 – Salves and Lotions – Learn to make your own salves and lotions. Hands on class; you’ll take home a tin of each. $35 includes all materials. We’ll make a poplar bud salve, great for pain and healing. Victrola Cafe 6:30-8:30.

Jan. 26 – Making Jewelry from Nature -Get creative with jewelry made from bits of Nature! Each participant will receive a pair of silver stirling earring hooks and clasp for a necklace, there will also be wire to try out wire wrapping. The materials costs of this class are higher, so this class is $50 and must be reserved in advance. Victrola Cafe 6:30 – 8:30

Feb. 2 – Imbolc / Candlemas – the Magic of Herbal Candles. Candle making adding Nature, celebrating the quickening of Spring and the return of the light with herbs and crystals. Location tba, 6:30-8:30.

Feb 25 – Field Trip – Sea weed – learn about the benefits and types of seaweed out at the beach. Instructional only (you need a license to collect seaweed) $20 Golden Gardens Park

 

 

 

 

 

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Uncategorized

Classes for December and a Community Offering

Dec. 13 – 11am -1pm  Jewelry from nature. Come and make jewelry for the holidays, for gifts or yourself! Each participant will get 1 set of sterling silver earring hooks and 1 necklace clasp. Findings such as pine cone chips, branch and root beads, seeds, wire for wrapping etc. will be provided. Cost is $50, $25 of which is for materials. Tools are provided. Bring any found objects, seeds, stones, roots, etc. you’d like to turn into jewelry. On Capitol Hill at Victrola Coffee. email dianalaw@hotmail.com to register.

Dec. 15 – 6-8 pm  Bitters and vinegars. Come learn to make your own herb flavored bitters and vinegars and take home a small jar of each for the holidays and beyond. Cost is $35 which includes $15 for materials. (jar, bottle, vinegar, and alcohol) This class will be on the south end in Des Moines. email dianalaw@hotmail.com to register

Jan. 1 – join me for a vision board / collage making pot luck in the afternoon. We’ll put on some music and set goals or just play with visuals for fun. Email dianalaw@hotmail.com for a list of supplies to bring. In Des Moines.img_20160912_171522

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classes, Elixirs, Uncategorized, winter

Upcoming Class, DIY Bitters and Elixirs for the Holidays

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In this class, you’ll learn to make two highly nuanced and delicious herbal concoctions: digestive bitters, and herbal elixirs. This is a special, collaborative workshop between two local herbalists bringing their experience to the table.

First, Natalie will walk you through making herbal digestive bitters, usable as a cocktail ingredient or as a digestive aid. She’ll talk about the basics on how to make a tincture, and about the medicinal benefits of bitters. Think Gentian, orange peel, cardamom and grapefruit. She’ll have a DIY bitters bar available where you can make your very own concoction to bring home.

Diana will show you how to make an elixir, and will bring a dazzling array of her elixirs to sample. Learn about the benefits of using alcohol and honey to create tasty and medicinal preparations youll love. They make great gifts for herbalists, foodies and cocktails lovers alike. Youll be able to take home a bottle of an elixir for yourself!

The class fee includes a $15.00 materials fee, which includes a 4 oz jar of your own blend of bitters, and a 1 oz bottle of herbal elixir. Tickets available at: 

http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2696401

Please be aware that we will be handling alcohol in this class, and all preparations we will be making contain alcohol.

This workshop is being put on by the Adiantum School of Plant Medicine and the Dianaverse School. For info on the Adiantum school and more classes, visit: www.adiantumschool.com

WHEN AND WHERE:

Monday, November 28 6:00-8:00pm

Victrola Cafe
Capitol Hill
411 15th Ave E
Seattle, WA 98112

 

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classes, Teaching lectures, Uncategorized

An Evening with Matthew Wood

I’m excited to be collaborating with Natalie Hammerquist of Adiantum School of Plant Medicine and our friend Kate Sinon to bring Seattle an evening lecture with master herbalist Matthew Wood. The lecture is going to take place on the east side in south Bellevue, but it’s an easy commute to the Eastgate park and ride and we’ll be shuttling people from there to the house and back again.

The event will take place Monday, November 14 at 6:30 PM – 9 PM

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Tickets are $35 at: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2698609

Matthew will talk about the plants in his book “7 Herbs, Plants as Teachers” as well discussing the Doctrine of Signatures. He’s one of the premier herbalists of our day and has written several well known books, such as the “Earthwise Herbal”,Old World and New World versions; the foundational books of herbalism for many an herbalist. He has also developed much of the Western humoural herbal theory into it’s modern form.

Matthew Wood isn’t often in the Seattle area lecturing, so this is a must attend event if you’re hoping to learn from him in person!

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Foraging, Hawthorne, Health, Plants, Uncategorized

The May Queen in October

The Hawthorne tree is associated with the May Queen¹, the branches loaded with blossoms in the Spring. It’s also associated with the fairies and it was considered bad luck to cut one down. Now in October we see what blossomed in the Spring has come to fruit in the Fall.

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Bees, flies and other pollinators love the pretty pink and white flowers, possibly because they smell a bit like fish or meat. I love watching the buzz and hum of them in and around the trees. A tea of the Spring flowers and leaves is a healthy drink, but don’t smell it too closely.

Crataegus monogyna is the Hawthorne we commonly see planted in the Northwest with it’s red berries; it was used widely in fields to soak up excess water. There is a native Hawthorne, Crataegus Douglassii, which is not as commonly found that has black berries. They, along with many other species of Hawthorne are in the Rosaceae family of plants; a family with many, many useful edible and medicinal plants.

Hawthorn grows in acidic, alkaline, loamy, moist, sandy, well-drained, wet and clay soils. It is drought-tolerant. In other words, it’s an easy tree to grow. It does like full sun, at least 6 hours per day. They have a rounded shape and grow from 15-25 feet tall. They respond well to pruning and will become bushier with more flowers and fruit!

In keeping with the connection of Hawthorne with the emotional heart in the Spring at Beltane; in western medicine, Hawthorne is used to restore physical heart health.² Hawthorn can help improve the amount of blood pumped out of the heart during contractions, widen the blood vessels, and increase the transmission of nerve signals.

Hawthorn also seems to have blood pressure-lowering activity, according to early research. It seems to cause relaxing of the blood vessels farther from the heart. It seems that this effect is due to a component in hawthorn called proanthocyanidin.

Research suggests that hawthorn can lower cholesterol, low density lipoprotein (LDL, or “bad cholesterol”), and triglycerides (fats in the blood). It seems to lower accumulation of fats in the liver and the aorta (the largest artery in the body, located near the heart). Hawthorn fruit extract may lower cholesterol by increasing the excretion of bile, reducing the formation of cholesterol, and enhancing the receptors for LDLs. It also seems to have antioxidant activity.

In Chinese medicine, Hawthorne has historically been used for improving digestion. It’s reputed to relieve food stagnation, especially with meats and oily foods and relieve blood stagnation, although it’s not recommended for long term use by the Chinese as it can injure the flow of Qi in the Spleen over time if there is deficiency.³

Most commonly it’s used in decoction for medicinal uses, although I love to use it in elixirs and honey.

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As a food, the berries are traditionally made into tasty chutneys and ketchup in the UK. The trees are commonly planted in hedgerows, so the berries are plentifully available. Here in the Pacific NW, the trees are found in parks and fields, although sadly many of the parks are removing them as they are not a native species.

Every Spring I look forward to harvesting new leaves and flowers and every fall I look forward to harvesting the berries.

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Me enjoying the Hawthorne berries and trees

Part of the lore of Hawthorne is its’ protective quality, because of the thorns it has. (The size of these vary from species to species, and some have none) I have a pendant made from a Hawthorne thorn and berry, wire wrapped with silver that I like to wear when I feel I need a little protective energy to go out into the world with me.

¹http://www.whitedragon.org.uk/articles/hawthorn.htm

²http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-527-hawthorn.aspx?activeingredientid=527

³https://www.sacredlotus.com/go/chinese-herbs/substance/shan-zha-hawthorn-fruit

This post is meant to be used for educational purposes only and not to diagnose or treat any condition or illness. Consult your doctor if you have any questions about the information posted here.

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Dandelions, Foraging, Health, Plants, recipe, Uncategorized

Dandelions; the Sun and the Moon… and Jupiter

One of my favorite plants is Dandelion. If I could have only one plant in my garden, Dandelion would be the one. As I continue to study plants (a lifelong endeavor depending how far down the rabbit hole one wants to go……), I’m intrigued by the correlations earlier herbalists made between the plants and astrology and relating them to a person’s astrological chart as well as thinking about optimal times to use plants or harvest them.

There are herbalists today using astrology in relation to plants, such as Matthew Wood and Sajah Popham, whose course I covet taking some day. In the meantime, he has some interesting videos on You Tube, check them out .

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Looking at the Dandelion, out growing in the full sun, with it’s sunny yellow flowers, I would first say it’s ruled by the sun, but the other day it was talking to me about its relationship with the moon (white ball of seeds, almost glowing in the dark)…. It’s interesting that the plant embodies these opposite qualities, a reminder to look beyond the most obvious uses of an herb.

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It does have an affinity for the breasts¹…..if I think about its actions on the body, it’s bitter and stimulates the gall bladder and liver, and it’s alterative, more of a Jupiter action, but it also is diuretic and affects the kidneys, which is a Venus type action, and acts on damp, overly relaxed tissues…..however, it acts by stimulation, moving stagnation which is more Jupiterian, expansive….. overall, I’m feeling like it’s a Jupiter plant, which being the largest planet, is big enough to include some of the properties of all the other planets.

In general dandelion leaves are used as a tea for the diuretic action and contain potassium, offsetting the potassium loss that occurs when the body is stimulated to urinate more, the root is used in spring and summer as a nourishing building tonic and in the fall and winter for it’s alterative action. All parts of it contain minerals as it’s tap root pulls minerals up from deep in the ground. ( which is why it’s good to leave some in the garden, the roots pull the minerals up and the decomposing leaves make them available on the surface to other plants) It’s bitter taste stimulates the pathway of the Vagus nerve², stimulating the production of bile in the gall bladder and aiding digestion. I believe many of the food intolerances people have these days are due to poor digestive function because people don’t eat enough bitter and fermented foods, as our ancestors would have, which help to break down our food and make the nutrients bio-available.

It’s also a great culinary plant, whose nutrition hasn’t much been dumbed down by breeding as so many of our vegetables have been these days. The whole plant is edible. The flower buds can be pickled and used like capers. One of my favorites is flower fritters, but almost anything battered and fried is tasty! Oh, and dandelion wine from the flowers!

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Here’s a recipe:

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Dandy Veloute over Polenta

Ingredients:

Carrot Cloud:

6 large carrots, chopped into large bits

                 1 large russet potato, chopped into large bits

                  1 tbs. lemon juice

5 bay leaves

rest of can of coconut milk after dividing, see Dandy Veloute

3 tbsp. coconut oil

salt to taste

Broth:

shells from 1 lb of shrimp

1/2 cup white wine

6-7 cups of water, you want to end up with 6 cups after simmering.

or just use 6 cups of broth of choice

Dandy Veloute:

5 loosely chopped cups of dandelion leaves

1/2 onion, chopped

1/2 cup white wine

1 cup broth

1 1/4 cup coconut milk

2 tbsp. coconut oil or olive oil

Polenta:

2 cups dry polenta

5 cups broth, 1 cup water

salt and pepper to taste

 

For the carrot puree cloud: in steamer pan add water and 5 bay leaves to bottom. Steam carrots and potatoes until tender. Add them and the rest of the cloud ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. Put into a holding container, try not to devour it while making the other parts of the recipe.

For the broth: simmer the shrimp shells white wine and water for about 1/2 hour. Strain out the shells.

For the Veloute: Heat the oil in a large skillet. Sautee the onions until they soften but do not brown. Add the white wine, then 1 cup of the broth and simmer for 10 minutes. Put them in the blender along with the dandelions and coconut milk. Blend until smooth and creamy. Set aside or in a pot on the stove on low until polenta is ready.

For the polenta: Put the dry polenta into a large saucepan. Add the broth and water and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and let simmer until softened and thick. Stir occassionally to prevent burning on the bottom.

I sauteed a thinly sliced tomato and about a 1/4 onion in olive oil as a flavorful garnish to put on top. (optional)

Once all parts of recipe are ready: spoon polenta into a serving bowl; put a tablespoon of butter or butter sub on top. (optional, but yummy) Spoon carrot cloud over polenta. Spoon Dandy Veloute on top. Top with garnish if using.

 

I think Dandelions are my most photographed plants, lol, I love them so…..

dandelion collecting             dandelions 10-14

¹https://www.planetherbs.com/michaels-blog/dandelion-burdock-and-cancer.html

²http://www.md-health.com/Vagus-Nerve.html

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