Tuesday, April 26, 2016

TUMERIC + GINGER LATTE with cardamom, vanilla, and reishi

This is a variation of the cardamom latte I've been really loving these days, this time using fresh ginger and turmeric as the base.

A little time-saving tip: 

Purchase a good amount of ginger and turmeric. If you buy organic you can simply rinse without removing peels. Cut into 1-inch pieces and mince, either by hand or using a food processor or Vitamix, according to manufacturer's instructions. Place a heaping tablespoon of either the minced turmeric and ginger combined or separate, into an ice cube tray or silicone mold and freeze until solid. Remove from mold and store in a glass Ball jar or other storage item of choice. I use these cubes for stir-fry, dahl, soups, tea, etc. It's really convenient to have at the ready!

Serves 3

1 T. ginger, minced
1 T. turmeric, minced
OR 2 cubes worth of ginger + turmeric combined and prepared as recommened above as "tip"
1 heaping tablespoon whole cardamom pods
1 piece of sliced, dried reishi mushroom
1 whole vanilla bean, cut in half
3 cups milk of choice [I love homemade tigernut milk, scroll down after clicking link for recipe]
1 - 3 T. honey, to taste

Combine ginger, turmeric, cardamom, reishi, and half of a vanilla bean in medium size saucepan. Add 6 cups of water. Bring water to boil. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer.

Simmer for 45 minutes or until liquid is reduced to half of its original quantity leaving approximately three cups.

Strain liquid, reserving pulp for another batch. Pour tea back into pot. Add milk and honey and slowly warm over low heat to just hot but not boiling. Serve immediately.

Sunday, April 10, 2016


I love to play around with different beauty recipes and rarely purchase many in the store. I've found making my own lotion, lip balm, sugar scrub, masks, salves, boo-boo drops, and bath salts to be unbelievably easy, many completed in thirty minutes or less, some taking only minutes to create. It's a fun activity for my kids to join in on, getting to immediately experience the sweetness of their labors.

The Environmental Working Group [EWG] has put together a fantastic database of cosmetics and other beauty and body products. It's worth searching the items you use most frequently - the safety implications of many can be shocking [even some of the "natural" ones]. If nothing else, it provides us the opportunity to be educated consumers. Check out EWG's Skin Deep Cosmetics Database.

Purchasing the ingredients for this recipe is a small investment at first but will make many batches. The ingredients found here are repeated in many lotion and salve recipes as well. Store oils in a cool place to extend life and maintain quality. Below I have linked each ingredient to its description at Mountain Rose Herbs. You can purchase high quality ingredients there or find them on Vitacost and Thrive Market. Check out Return to the Garden's library under "Dive Deep / Herbal Medicine" for more resources on making your own beauty products.

This is the lip balm recipe I've landed on. Thick but light. Smooth. Rich. Velvet.

Makes approximately 11 tubes of chapstick

11 - 12 empty plastic lip balm tubes [you can purchase or reuse]
1/2 oz. beeswax, pastilles or chopped
1/2 oz. shea butter
1/2 oz. jojoba oil [appx. 2 tsp]
1/2 oz. coconut oil
1/4 oz. castor oil
1 tsp. vegetable glycerin
1/4 tsp. vitamin E oil
10 drops peppermint essential oil or essential oil of choice

Set up double boiler or create your own by filling a small pot one third of the way with water. Place a heat proof bowl on top.

Combine all ingredients, except peppermint essential oil, in bowl and bring water to boil over medium heat. Stir frequently.

Once completely melted, remove from heat and add essential oil stirring until completely integrated.

Use a spoon to carefully pour oil mixture into lip balm tubes or container of choice, filling to the top. Cool completely. Cap and wipe any excess lip balm off tube.

Store at room temperature for up to six months. Use as needed.