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Healing Maiden Soup

Healing Maiden Soup

Healing Maiden Soup

OK, ladies.

It’s that time of the month and you’re feeling crampy, bloated, and maybe also dehydrated all at once. Maybe you get headaches and are a little weepy, too.
I’ve found that sometimes, the right food can really help. Hence, my Healing Maiden Soup.

This soup is nourishing, has lots of vitamins and minerals, and is comforting and re-hydrating.  I may be called a blasphemer for this, but… once in a while, there are just some things that chocolate can’t fix. For those times, there’s soup.

Our first ingredient is Stinging Nettle. Nettle is a treasure trove of  nutrients! The dried leaf of nettle contains 40% protein, and also vitamins A, C (perhaps fresh only), D, E, F, K, P, b-complexes, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B-6, high content of the metals selenium, zinc, iron, and magnesium, and also boron, sodium, iodine, chromium, copper,  sulfur and sixteen free amino acids.
Source: http://www.herballegacy.com/Vance_Chemical.html

During this particular phase of a woman’s moon cycle, she needs all the extra nutrients and metals that she can get, particularly iron and selenium. This is what makes nettle such a great ingredient.

But there’s more…

Reishi mushrooms have been known to boost the immune system (which can take a hit when your body is using most of its energy on your moon cycle),  fight viral infections,  help with fatigue and stress, and a whole host of other things. Reishi is also known for emotional and spiritual healing, and can be useful during a time when we are more susceptible to the emotional tides of our moon cycles.

Shiitake mushrooms are good for the kidneys and liver, which helps with the overall load of stress your body is delegating to those organs.  I would theorize that it may also aid the nearby adrenals, which sit atop the kidneys and are considered part of them, in Chinese medicine. Overworked adrenals make handling stress a nightmare, and who needs that?

Sidenote: All mushrooms produce vitamin D2 upon exposure to the UVB rays of sunlight or broadband UVB fluorescent tubes. You can literally take mushrooms you just bought or grew, throw them in a window gills-up (try not to heat them up) for a day or two, and get a higher Vitamin D content from them. This is a great trick in the winter, when sun exposure is lower.  You also always want to heat mushrooms in order to receive their nutritional value. Uncooked mushrooms are essentially just fiber, as the nutrients are not available to our bodies without being heated in some way.  High heat and alcohol also kill those nutrients, so a simmering tea or soup is best, rather than frying or tincturing.

Next, we have some roots. Ginger and turmeric add flavor, but are also great anti-inflammatories, which can help with feelings of being bloated, and also with cramping.

Escarole, the featured green in this soup,  is a member of the chicory lettuce family, and its nearly 50 micrograms of vitamin K per serving supplies between 60 and 74 percent of an adult’s daily vitamin K requirement. Vitamin K is essential in proper blood clotting, which is important for menstruating women.  It also contains approximately 1.9 milligrams of vitamin C and 64 micrograms of folate, as well as 16 milligrams of calcium — 1.6 percent of the RDA of calcium for all adults — and 0.46 milligrams of iron. This amount of iron only fulfills 2.5 percent of the RDA of a woman’s RDA of iron, but having a high iron content is not always good, so in conjunction with nettle, we have multiple sources available, without risk of too much.  Escarole is also high in calcium and potassium, two essential nutrients that we are often lacking sufficient amounts of.
Source: http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/benefits-escarole-lettuce-2188.html

Leeks contain 52.2%  RDA of vitamin K, and together with the 60-70% found in escarole, make sure that our blood remains healthy. They also contain important amounts of the flavonoid kaempferol, which has repeatedly been shown to help protect our blood vessel linings from damage, including damage by overly reactive oxygen molecules. They are also high in folates and manganese, contain Vitamins A, C, and B6,  calcium,  potassium and iron.

As you can see, this soup is a powerhouse of nutrients, so without further adieu, here is the recipe.

Healing Maiden Soup

Ingredients:

Water
Reishi mushrooms – dried
Shiitake mushrooms – fresh
Dried Nettles (can also use fresh, instead of Escarole)
Fresh Escarole
Rice noodles
Leeks
Fresh ginger root – 1/2 inch (do NOT use ginger powder, as it is too strong. If no fresh ginger is available, skip it.)
Sunflower, sesame or other oil – 1 TBSP
Turmeric
Applewood Smoked Sea Salt (Yakima), or other flavorful sea salt – 1 Tbsp or less, if desired
Tamari soy sauce (gluten-free version is available)

  1. Fill a small-medium sized saucepan with water and heat on medium-high setting until water begins to boil slightly.
  2. In the meantime, cut fresh mushrooms, ginger and leeks. Slice escarole into ribbons and then chop in half, so they’re not too long to eat.
  3. Crumble the dried reishi mushrooms or pull into pieces and set aside.
  4. Once the water is boiling, turn it down to a simmer.
  5. Add all mushrooms, leeks, ginger and escarole, and simmer on low-medium heat for about 10 minutes.
  6. Add the dried nettles, rice noodles, oil, turmeric, and sea salt and simmer until rice noodles are done.
  7. Add Tamari to taste, and serve.

Enjoy!

 


Grow your own caffeine!!!!

Grow your own caffeine!

To make this planter, go here: http://lisapace.com/2011/04/coffee-cup-planter/

With SO many folks dependent on caffeine for their morning wake-up call, it’s a little unnerving to think what might happen if coffee and chocolate imports suddenly stopped flowing. Can you imagine morning rush hour? I’m picturing lots of people on the roads half-asleep and really cranky. A scene ripe for some sloppy, half-hearted, road rage with zombie-like motorists. Not pretty.

While I do not personally choose to partake of things that get my heart-rate speeding,  I do appreciate the occasional shot of caffeine for things like migraines and other health-related nuisances.  So, in order to avoid being left out in the cold if there should be a great coffee or cocoa bean famine, I wondered what can be grown here in North America, that can caffeinate folks and keep ‘em easy to get along with in the early hours.

I found the following crops, with links to more info:

Black tea (C. sinensis) - http://www.vegetablegardener.com/item/6466/grow-black-tea-in-your-garden

Yaupon Holly (Ilex vomitoria) is native to the Southeastern states. This holly features short leaves, about ½-inch long, bright-red berries, dark evergreen leaves and grey bark with white patches. The Youpon holly contains caffeine and it was a popular drink among Native Americans in the area. In fact, it is named “Ilex vomitoria” because people would drink it until full and vomit it up – the plant does not actually cause vomiting. Yaupon holly grows best in USDA zones 7 to 9.
More info also found here:  http://people.duke.edu/~cwcook/trees/ilvo.html

Yerba Mate  (Ilex paraguariensis): Another type of holly that can be grown in Zone 10 and higher outdoors, or indoors in a greenhouse environment.
http://www.ehow.com/info_8348882_can-grow-own-yerba-mate.html
http://www.logees.com/Yerba-Mate-Ilex-paraguariensis/productinfo/H8095-2/

A nice table of caffeine-producing plants: http://www.chm.bris.ac.uk/webprojects2001/tilling/sources.htm


Halloween Necromancy!

It’s that time of year again when the moon visits longer, the morning comes slowly, and the wind brings a chill to the earth.
The time when certain folks possessing knowledge of the old ways, gather together the remnants of the dead in order to slowly transform them into new life through ancient alchemical practice.

No, I’m not talking about All Hallow’s Eve or some sinister ritual…  I’m talking about fall composting!

I ran across a great article on eartheasy.com that gives a nice bunch of autumn composting tips and figured I’d share.

For those who don’t have a yard, or access to leaves, fear not!
You can still compost, as long as you have enough heat to keep some tiny helpers happy.  I’m talking worm composting, also known as vermicompost.

What the heck is worm composting? Check out this great link that gives a nice run-down on the “ins and outs” of the whole shebang.

 

For those of you who just aren’t into the idea of sharing your home with some creepy crawlies, there’s also bokashi composting.
Although to be truthful, bokashi is more of a fermentation process than composting.

Bokashi

It’s got a tiny space footprint, which makes it great for apartment dwellers, and has been used extensively in Japan for some time.  Bokashi uses “effective micro-organisms” to break down organic material, including a lot of things you CAN’T put in a worm bin or compost heap.  It’s fast, odorless,  and convenient.

Here’s some more information on bokashi.

Keep in mind that there are a LOT of bokashi products out there, from bins to EMs, but you can make any of them at home yourself.

Here’s a good link on making your own bokashi “EM” powder mix.
And here’s a link to Make Your Own Bokashi Bucket


Resistance is Fertile!


Using "food stamps" to buy seeds and veggie plants – legally!

Did you know that food stamp recipients can buy veggie plants and seeds with food stamps?  http://www.snapgardens.org/

- As of April 2011, 44,647,861 Americans depend on SNAP benefits (Food Stamps) to put food on the table.
A partir de abril de 2011, 44,647,8618 de estadounidenses dependen de los Cupones para Alimentos (SNAP) para comer.

- Households can use SNAP benefits (Food Stamps) to buy seeds and plants which produce food for the household to eat.
http://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/retailers/eligible.htm
Se puede usar los Cupones para Alimentos (SNAP) para comprar plantas o semillas para cultivar comestibles.
http://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/applicant_recipients/sp-facts.htm

- Where to purchase:

Any authorized SNAP retailer can sell seeds and plants, but not all do, and not all retailers that sell seeds and plants are authorized to accept SNAP.

To learn what qualifies a retailer as eligible to accept SNAP, click here.

Many farmers markets now accept SNAP benefits. To find such a market, visit the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farmers Market Search.  (Click “Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program” under “ Forms of Payment Accepted.”)



TEDxAustin Robyn O'Brien 2011

Robyn shares her personal story and how it inspired her current path as a “Real Food” evangelist. Grounded in a successful Wall Street career that was more interested in food as good business than good-for-you, this mother of four was shaken awake by the dangerous allergic reaction of one of her children to a “typical” breakfast. Her mission to unearth the cause revealed more about the food industry than she could stomach, and impelled her to share her findings with others. Informative and inspiring.