Monday, April 25, 2011

Update: Spring is Raining Deadlines and Tornados

"...the sky is a poisonous garden tonight..."
-Concrete Blonde

Thanks to everyone who signed up for the Culinary Herbalism course! I've only begun the first lesson but I know I'm going to love working through it.
Right now I am swamped in deadlines: Herbal Roots zine issues, an article for Rhythm of the Home, a handout for a presentation on Wednesday about Herbs for Children, trying to get soap made for the upcoming market season (starts in less than 2 weeks!!!) and so on. Then there's everyday stuff such as dishes, laundry (which is hard to do while dodging thunderstorms and tornados), cleaning house, milking the goats, tethering the goats (again when weather is cooperative), schooling the kids....deep breath!
So, unfortunately, something has to slide and right now it is the Herbal Ally year. I promise to add another challenge as soon as I can, I am not abandoning it, nor have I forgotten about it! If I can get through this next week or two, I will hopefully reach a plateau and can breathe a bit....hopefully.

The garden that has been planted so far is doing well. Onions are sprouting, garlic is filling in, strawberries are blooming (it is SO hard to pinch those blooms off but I'm determined to do it right), and lettuce is growing like crazy. Unfortunately, so are the weeds. And with the rain, I haven't been able to get out there regularly to weed.
We've had lots of crazy weather lately. A tornado ripped through the St. Louis airport Friday night and did lots of damage. There were also several communities damaged, we lucked out and it went south of us. There's more of that predicted for tonight.
This spring has been cold and wet and gloomy. Unusual and that's the description I'm seeing all around the country from others who pay attention to that sort of stuff. I have a feeling that this is going to be the new norm unfortunately.
I have a ton of planting to do: 10 flowering trees (2 each: crabapple, dogwood, redbud, hawthorne, goldenraintree), 3 each: hawthorn, witch hazel and crampbark plus 8 cranberry bushes. The cranberries will be the most intensive since I have to amend a bed for them with peat moss, sand and other additives. I'm looking forward to having fresh cranberries though!

Herbal Ally Challenge #11 Completed

Love letter to my ally, Nettles:

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Final Day for Sign Up!

Today's the final day to sign up for K.P. Kalsa's Culinary Herbalism course on Learning Herbs. If you are wanting to sign up for the course but can't afford to pay all at once, they are now offering a payment plan. The details are at the bottom of the page.
I've had a chance to check out the first lesson and I am loving this course! I know I'm going to learn a lot about using my food as medicine and I'm excited for this because sometimes my family is not always on board with taking the weird concoctions I offer up to them when they are feeling a bit under the weather. Any chance I can get to play a bit of kitchen witchery and create a meal that not only tastes spectacular but is healing is well, well, I'm all over that!
If you've taken any of the past courses John has put together at Learning Herbs then you KNOW this course is going to be amazing. K.P. himself will be on the website for the first week of the course but it will remain open to all of those who signed up indefinitely so if you're like me and finding time to do something can be difficult and weather based, you can tuck it away for a rainy day.
The sign ups close around midnight tonight unless it fills to capacity before then. There was a glitch in the system a few days ago which wouldn't allow anyone to sign up so it has not filled as quickly as it should have so there's still lots of openings left!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Winner of Crone's Gazette

Congratulations to Karisma! Her comment was selected via the generator to win a year's subscription to the Crone's Gazette!

Karisma, I'll be in touch shortly to get your information for the subscription.

Thanks to everyone who signed up!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Culinary Herbalism Enrollment Now Open!

I'm excited to announce that K.P. Kalsa's course Culinary Herbalism through is now open! Enrollment will only be open through Saturday, April 23 so if you're interested in taking this course, sign up now! For the first 6 weeks of availability, K.P. Kalsa will personally be on the website answering any questions you may have. After that, access to the course will still be open but K.P. will no longer be personally available.

I am completely excited about taking this course and have already been enjoying the recipes offered from the first two videos. The great thing about this course is there is no time limit on how long it takes you to go through the course so you can work at your own pace while learning to create meals for yourself and your family that are not only healthful but healing as well.

Here is a list of the 10 lessons. Each lesson has a video, mp3 (of the video), transcript and homework page (in the form of recipes! sounds like excellent homework to me!):

1.  Herbs as Food    
Let your food be your medicine and your medicine be your food. Natural healing systems from around the world use food as a way to keep healthy and use taking herbal medicine as a way to concoct tasty, healing meals. 

• Herbs are foods
• Include healing herbs in your foods
• Healthy individualized eating
• Food and herb potency spectrum
• Food as medicine dining
• Culinary herbalism recommended books
2.    Preparations    
Many delicious foods are also healing. Therapeutic herbs can be cooked into tasty soups, breads and beverages. It takes creativity and a little know-how to decide how to best prepare each culinary herb.    
Kitcharee, the famous healing food from Ayurveda

• Healing bean dishes from around the world
• Herbal soups and broths
• Congee, the culinary herbalism superstar from Asia
• Herbs in bread
• Herbs as juice
• Healing herbal yogurt drinks from India
3. Basic Recipes    
Onion, garlic and ginger form the “trinity roots” healing trio from Ayurveda. Healing herbs taste great in puréed green vegetables. Healing herbs make great pesto.    

• The healing properties of onion, garlic and ginger
• Prepare puréed green vegetables blended with healing herbs
• Healing, delicious herbal appetizers and party snacks
4. Skin
Herbal medicine is a treasure trove of healing for the skin. Tasty culinary herbalism recipes make medicine delicious. 

• Vegetables for skin inflammation
• Culinary herbs as skin healers
• Root vegetables for liver and skin health
5. Digestion    
Fragrant culinary spices are big medicine in Asian herbalism. Use appetizing herbs to treat gas, indigestion, heartburn, ulcer, nausea and constipation. Enjoy your food while you heal your digestion. 

• Tasty aromatic spices for gas
• Teas and soups for digestive disorders
• Spices warm up slow digestion
• Soothing herbal food recipes heal a hot tummy
• Heal even tough digestive issues with culinary herbalism remedies
6.  Immune system    
Culinary herbalism heals the flu. Use yummy herbal teas for fever. Berries and medicinal mushrooms create a strong immune system.    

• Chilies for cold and flu
• Culinary herbalism for children’s immune systems
• Chinese herbs for flu and fever
7. Respiratory system    
Culinary herbalism can support long term respiratory health, and effectively treat respiratory disorders. Use a potent Chinese herb for postnasal drip and an Ayurvedic herb to release sinus congestion. Clear your breathing with herbal soups.  

• Treat sinus infections with culinary herbs
• Herbs for asthma and sore throat
• Food and herbs for runny nose
8.  Tonics    
In every herbal system, tonic herbs are the secret to staying healthy for life, and many are also tasty culinary herbs. Learn about health building foods and how to incorporate tonic herbs into your cooking.    
• Food and herb recipes for hormone balance
• Ginseng soup for stamina
• Herbal tonic soups
• Culinary herbalism sleep remedies
• Culinary herbalism for diabetes
• Chinese curative dessert soups
9. Musculoskeletal 
and Cardiovascular
Food and culinary herbs can keep your skeleton strong and your joints moving. Tasty recipes balance your blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol. You will want to eat them every day.

• Fruit soup for healthy joints
• Common kitchen spices for a healthy nervous system
• Herbal soups for a healthy heart
10.    Detoxification    
It’s the basis of every natural healing system. Culinary herbalism can make detoxification tasty and enjoyable. Use selected root vegetable foods to heal your liver. Prepare soups and curries to support your kidneys. 

• Asian culinary herbal vegetables for blood sugar & cellular  

• Common kitchen spices for cleansing
• Culinary herb teas and soups for the kidneys
• Selected grains for weight loss and kidney health

Hurry because they can only accept a limited number of enrollments and if enough people sign up before Saturday, enrollment will close early. It will be a long time if ever this course is offered again so sign up while you can!

For more information and to enroll, go here. And remember, if you do sign up, you'll also be helping to support my baby, Herbal Roots zine as I receive a commission for each sale which I am putting back into making my zine even better through better technology.

Thank you and I hope to see you there!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Announcing the Crone's Gazette and a Giveaway!

A good friend of mine, Kathie from Two Frog Home has been working hard for the past few months to put together a new online quarterly publication titled the Crone's Gazette. In her words:

"The Crones Gazette will be a quarterly magazine focused on sharing seasonal wisdom for folks who want to do-it-themselves.  We’ll be focusing on things like self-sufficiency, building community, crafts, gardening, raising livestock, cooking, making herbal medicine and much more.  The magazine will be available for subscription via e-mail (pdf download) or through a print publication based on subscriber choice. 

We look forward to putting together this magazine and working with all the wonderful writers, resources, and readers that will bless this magazine."
I am one of several writers in this publication, writing a column titled The Foraging Crone and this issue's article is all about harvesting the herbs of spring.

To kick off this great new little publication, Kathie has generously offered to give away a year's subscription to the Crone's Gazette. The first issue is 48 pages long and features all sorts of great articles including recipes, how-to's, stories and more.

The first issue is being sold for $4.50 and after that, single issues will be $7.00. Annual subscriptions are $25.00. For more information, to subscribe or if you are interested in submitting an article for an upcoming issue, go to:

To sign up for a chance to win a free subscription, leave a comment on this post. For more chances, leave A SEPARATE comment each time you do one of the following:

-facebook/myspace/tweet about this giveaway and the premiere issue
-blog about this giveaway and the premiere issue
-become a fan on facebook and tell them tansy sent you

Sign up by Friday, April 22 at 5pm cst. I'll announce the winner that will be randomly drawn using's calculator shortly after that. Thanks and good luck!

Friday, April 15, 2011

New Morning Tea

John has posted another quicky video over at Culinary Herbalism, this time on making yogi tea, a recipe given to K.P. Kalsa by his mentor. 

I used to make a similar tea but it had more ingredients than the ones listed and I never got around to mixing it because of the length of the ingredient list. I just brewed up this tea this am and it is very similar in taste (delicious!) but with fewer ingredients is much easier to make. I like mine sweet so I add honey. 

Check out the video and try it for yourself. There's even a downloadable file with the recipe on it so you can print and hang it on your fridge or where ever you can conveniently store it for using. And if you missed the first video that includes 2 yummy recipes for a completely nourishing and healing meal, you can click on the tab at the upper left side of the page to get back to that video.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Curious About Making Your Food Your Medicine?

One of the best things about herbs is their ability to heal, even when used as food. This is a subject that is near and dear to my heart and one I have recently begun embracing wholeheartedly, so much so that when I heard my good friend John over at had created a Culinary Herbalism Course with natural healing specialist K. P. Kalsa, I got very excited.

See, although I fully believe in using my herbs in cooking, I never know if I'm "doing it right" or if I'm using enough herbs or the right herbs. And then, along comes this course! If you are interested in learning more about healing your family and loved ones through food, this is definitely the course for you!

I for one will be there, learning all I can to incorporate herbs in my food. This course is pre-launching this week and there will be lots of videos and recipes shared over the next week for you to decide if you'd like to take the actual course or not. The previews are no obligation so head over and check out the first video to see what it's all about!

This course takes herbalism to a whole new level. I know you won't be disappointed in what you see with the first video, I myself learned something new while watching it. I am thrilled and am going to be trying out my own versions of the recipes later this week.

What are you waiting for? Head on over to the Culinary Herbalism website right now and check it out!

P.S. I'm an affiliate of Culinary Herbalism and will receive a commission if you sign up through me but even if I wasn't, I'd still be recommending this course because I have seen the amazing courses John offers and I know this course is going to be just as amazing, if not more so, just from previewing the first video. My commissions I earn through this course go to a good cause...improving Herbal Roots zine through better technology and tools. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Catching My Breath

March? Where did it go?! I cannot believe it is April already. I apologize for the lagging on the Herbal Ally posts, even with cutting back to every 2 weeks I find myself not able to keep up with my own assignments or postings. And now here we are in April and I have a list of deadlines for articles and such out the door, all standing in line along with the bag of potatoes and onions that need to be planted, the seeds that need to be tended, the children than need to be schooled and mothered and a whole list of other to do's.


Mother's mood swings have got me in a tizzy. Commit to warmer weather already, please!!! I realize spring is about going between warm and cold but really, I need warmth. Not to whine or anything.

I posted up the next ally post, yay me! Now to get caught up in my own challenges and report them on here. I'll work hard on that in the next 2 weeks. How is everyone else doing with their challenges? I promise to come around to everyone's blogs and get caught up reading about your own personal experiences, i truly enjoy reading about them! I have some new folks to add to the mix as well, welcome aboard to those who have joined in the last month.

All of our goats have kidded, we have 5 beautiful healthy kids, 2 doelings and 3 bucklings (why do we always get more bucks than does?!). I plan on keeping the girls for future milkers but hope to sell the boys. They are all handsome little devils and I think will throw good kids of their own someday. I'm also starting to look for a new buck as I cannot breed him to these sweet girls in a year. I've been milking one of the mamas daily and will start with the second doe next week. The 3rd doe, my first to kid this year has not been milked yet even though her kids will be 2 months old and ready to wean in 2 weeks as she has been ill. I was worried I was going to lose her for awhile but she seems to be slowly bouncing back. I hope so because she is my favorite doe and I've grown quite attached to her. I've treated her for just about every little thing I can think of and others suggested with no idea what was wrong. Humans are so much easier to treat than animals, at least they can tell you where it hurts.

We have wwoofers coming in the beginning of May this year, our earliest arrivals yet but I'm glad because May is typically busy with weeding so it will be wonderful to have help with that. I just may stay on top of the garden this year (fingers crossed).

The dreads are over 5 months old now and starting to shrink up a bit. This picture was actually taken at the 4 month mark, I need to get a 5 month picture taken. My dad asked me if I was going to brush my hair and if I COULD brush my hair if I wanted to, hahaha. He asked me 'what do you call that?' about my hair. He had no idea what dreadlocks are. I mentioned to him that Samson had locks. I don't think he appreciated my biblical reference. I like not having to use a comb or brush anymore. I like just wrapping them in a scarf or a bandana and not worrying about them. At times I'm wistful for my long curly hair, but then I remember how much it tangled and how it was breaking off from trying to keep the dreads out of it. Then I don't miss it anymore.

A good friend was visiting last week and we started talking about mixing herbs into our meals, intentionally placing nourishment in our foods, secretly, so the picky eaters would not notice but so we could still get the nourishment into their bodies. We talked of how this kitchen witchery herbalism crept into our lives without us noticing and how it felt good to naturally incorporate herbs into our foods as medicine without even thinking about it. For me, the challenge is to get kelp, mushrooms and other important herbs into our bodies right now in light of the tragedies that have struck Japan which is indirectly affecting us. At the same time, my family has been raving about how wonderful the meals taste. What is it exactly that I'm putting in to them that they are noticing? Is it the herbs? The intention? The love? All of the above I hope.

Today is supposed to be back up to 60 which still seems cold after the beautiful 80's weather we had Sunday but definitely better than the 48 degrees weather we had yesterday. Hopefully some onions will get planted, some time will be spent with nettles (or at least more regular time, I've visited the patch several times this past week and harvested some already too), and I'll be able to cross off one more deadline I have listed on my writing to do list.

How is your spring treating you?

Monday, April 4, 2011

Herbal Ally Challenge #9 Completed

I've been going through my Ally journal to review for my self and for writing next month's Herbal Roots zine issue which is on Nettles. It has been great refreshing my memory on everything I've read and learned about and discovered in the past 3 months with Nettles.

My seedlings sadly aren't doing too well. There may be 1-2 seedlings that have actually sprouted. I'm not giving up on them yet though. I continue to water them and hope they will sprout. Time will tell.

I use the vinegar when I can to incorporate it into meals. I tried doing the spoonful in water but it was harsh. It made my stomach turn so I stopped because I truly do not want to turn myself off to the powers of vinegar. Instead, I turned to salad dressing making.

I used a basic method of simply splashing olive oil and nettle vinegar directly on a salad to eat. It was alright but nothing spectacular.

This weekend, I made some delicious spring salads that the family raved over. I took to the yard and harvested burdock, violet and lamb's quarters sprouts which I thoroughly rinsed and added to a spring salad mix. I chopped up strawberries and orange slices (leftover from a kid who didn't finish them off) and tossed them in the salad along with almonds and gorgonzola cheese. Then I mixed together some homemade apricot jam and nettles vinegar for a dressing.

Oh My Yum, was it good!

I'll continue adding nettles vinegar to dishes to try whenever possible. I've just started harvesting nettles so I'll be adding the vinegar to steamed nettles soon.

Herbal Ally Challenge #11: Write A Story

For the next two weeks, we are going to imagine what it’s like to be our ally and write a story about our ally. Susun Weed suggests:
Write a story from the point of view of your green ally. If you’re having trouble getting started, write a warm up page praising your green ally and telling him how much you like him and why.
Assignment 1:
To get started, write a love letter to your ally. Tell him or her how you first met, when you first fell in love with him and what it was about your ally that made you feel this way. List any details about how or when you first realized you were smitten and what you did to get closer to your ally. Write about how he makes your feel when you are around him or under his influence.
Assignment 2:
Make a list of everything you like about your ally: his personality, his strong points, how he works, what makes him tick. 
Assignment 3:
If you are still at a loss of what to write, look to Susun Weed’s book Healing Wise for inspiration. Read a few or all of the beginning entries titled “_________ Speaks” in each section to get a feel for how you would write from your ally’s point of view. Write what you think your ally would like to tell you if he or she could speak and what he would want to tell you or anyone else interested in him. 
Share one or more of your writings on your blog if you feel comfortable doing so. 
Assignment 4:
Continue meditating with your plant and journal your experiences. Note any changes to your plant in size, color, bloom cycle, etc. Pay attention to your ally’s journey of life.
Assignment 5:
Continue with your infusions, using your oils and vinegars and journaling about your experiences. 
(herbal faeries are made by my good friend rebekah of mulberry mudd. i think she captures their essence perfectly!)
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