Nourishing Herbal Infusions

I crave my daily herbal infusion. I know my husband does, too. Considering they are vitamin, mineral, and protein powerhouses it’s no wonder! The Mister loves his daily infusions as does our youngest daughter. She’s been drinking them for many years, too. They’re not just for women. They’re for babies, toddler, youths, adults. In other words, EVERYONE. They are food. This is not tea.

What is an infusion? How is it different from a cup of tea?

An infusion is a very strong liquid, tea-like, made with one ounce of herb and allowed to sit in hot water for 4 hours or more. A tea is made from a small amount of herbs or tea leaves, typically 1-3 teaspoons, and steeped in hot water for up to 10 minutes. A tea does not impart the amount of health-giving properties of an infusion, although a cuppa tea can be very enjoyable. I drink a few cups of strong Irish tea every day!

These are the 5 main herbs I make infusions from: organic Red Clover blossoms, organic Nettle, organic Oatstraw, organic Linden, and organic Comfrey leaf. Behind the front row is Hawthorn leaf and flower, Holy Basil, Raspberry Leaf, Uva Ursi, and Yarrow.

Red clover is hands down my absolute favorite infusion. I’m 52 and haven’t experienced one hot flash, I have strong bones, a flexible spine, and supple skin. Yes, you read that right. Not one hot flash. I thought I was having one a couple weeks ago but my husband reminded me I had a been out in the sun all day and it was 90 degrees out. So no hot flash! Red clover helps our bodies balance out hormones (for men, too) and provides minerals, vitamins, and protective phytosterols.

We all want good health. We all want to age gracefully. I know I want to ease into my second half of life with as much of health and vitality as I can build. I credit my easy transition to crone status with nourishing herbal infusions, eating a varied diet that includes local, pasture raised meats, lots of natural fats (butter, lard, olive oil) and full fat organic dairy foods.

If you only do one thing for yourself this month, this year, or today, add nourishing herbal infusions to your diet. Why drink plain water when you can replace it with a nourishing herbal infusion? Plain water offers you nothing nutritionally and flushes minerals and vitamins from your body if you drink too much. Hydrate and add those proteins, minerals, and vitamins back with a nourishing herbal infusion.

Where do I get my herbs for infusions?

Frontier and Mountain Rose Herbs sells organic herbs by the pound as well as most small health food stores. If you become a member of United Plant Savers you will receive a membership perk of a 20% discount to Mountain Rose Herbs! I am also a wholesale member of Frontier. If you’re interested in a wholesale account, click here.

All you need are giant Mason jars (I use half gallon sizes) to store the herbs in your cabinets, an inexpensive food scale, a quart jar with tight-fitting lid, and 5 minutes of time to boil water and weigh out the herb. I make infusions for us in the evening, let them sit overnight, strain them in the morning, and then we drink them during the day.

We rotate through 5-7 different herbs over the course of the week, drinking one infusion a day. We do not mix them together. Our favorites are Nettle, Oatstraw, Comfrey, Red Clover, Linden, and sometimes Hawthorn and Raspberry leaf infusions. When our Lab had a uti I made her rotating infusions of Uva Ursi and Yarrow to help her fight it off. Nettle isn’t my favorite infusion but I know it’s incredibly nutritious so instead of leaving it out of the rotation I’ll add a pinch of Holy Basil to change the taste to my liking. Also, I noticed that if my infusions are very cold they taste so much better.

Take care of your body now. It’s never too late to build health. Infusions are easy to make. Below are pics of my 5 minute routine. I prefer to make them at night so they can steep and be ready to strain and refrigerate in the morning. Infusions only need 4 hours to steep so if it’s easier for you to do it in the morning, go for it! Note: This is NOT a tea.

How do I make a nourishing herbal infusion?

Step 1. Put kettle on the fire.
Step 2. Gather your herb, scale, jar, and funnel. Always use a scale. One ounce of nettle looks very different than one ounce of comfrey!
Step 3. Tare the scale to 0.00 oz. and weigh out one ounce of herb.
Step 4. Fill jar to the near top with boiling water and using a wooden spoon stir the herb and water. Wait a few seconds to let the herb absorb some water then top it off. Screw the lid on (don’t do it too tight) and let it sit for 4 hours or overnight.
Step 5. Strain and compost the plant material if you can. At this point you can refrigerate or drink directly. I prefer them COLD.
Enjoy!

Read more about Nourishing Herbal Infusions from Susun Weed here.

Coconut Rum Banana Bread

I’m not a fan of ripe bananas. If it a banana has even a HINT of a brown spot it’s inedible to me. Dead to me. I won’t eat it. I know, I know. It’s a quirk, but hey, I’m OK with it. The bananas I use for a quick bread are ripe but don’t have lots of spots. I prefer the less sweet taste and firmer texture of a yellow banana. If you like brown bananas go for it! It will be sweeter and probably taste more familiar. Not many people use yellow bananas for banana bread. That’s my special banana weirdness.

I recommend only lightly mashing the bananas. You will get some more tasty chunks of banana in the bread. If you prefer brown bananas you may end up with more of a liquid after mashing. It will still come out great, it’s more a matter of texture and what you prefer.

Note: With quick breads the standard is creaming butter and sugar, adding eggs one at a time and then alternating the dry and liquid ingredients, being mindful of not over-mixing. This recipe follows the same pattern. Measure out all ingredients before starting. I learned this lesson many years ago: mise en place, everything in its place. Read the recipe first, collect and measure ingredients, and THEN start your process.

Coconut Rum Banana Bread

Makes 1 large loaf or 3 mini loaves

Ingredients:

  • 2C pastry flour
  • 1C sugar
  • 1 1/2C gently mashed bananas, about 3 medium-sized
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2C shredded, sweetened coconut + 2T for topping
  • 1/4C unsalted butter, room temp (4T)
  • 1/4C plain full-fat yogurt
  • 3T spiced rum
  • 3/4t baking soda
  • 1/2t salt
  • 1t vanilla extract

Optional Glaze Ingredients:

  • 1/2C confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 1/2T freshly squeezed lime juice

Directions:

If you are making one 9 x 5″ loaf, preheat oven to 350°.

If you are making the smaller loaves, preheat to 325°.

Prepare your loaf pans with Baker’s Joy spray or butter and flour them. Set aside.

In a medium sized mixing bowl, add the flour, 1/2C coconut, baking soda, and salt. Give a quick stir to combine.

In a small bowl, combine bananas, yogurt, rum, and vanilla. Stir to combine.

In the large bowl of a mixer (or deep bowl good for hand mixer) cream the butter and sugar until light and airy. Use a rubber scraper to scrape down the sides if the sides are not mixing well. Add the eggs one at a time and continue creaming them together until combined and light in texture.

Alternate adding the dry and liquid ingredients to the creamed butter, sugar, and egg mixture. Do not over beat.

Spoon the batter into your loaf pan or mini loaf pans (filling 3/4 full). Sprinkle the top with the 2T of shredded coconut that was set aside earlier.

Bake one large loaf for 60 minutes or until golden and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Bake the mini loaves for 30 minutes or until golden and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Let sit in the loaf pan for 5-10 minutes until inverting onto a cooling rack. Once completely cool, make a glaze with the sugar and lime juice and drizzle over the bread.

 

 

 

 

 

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Indigo Bunting Sighting

Teachers have favorites. I hate to break it to you, but we do. For me, it’s usually the nature-loving, part wild child, book-loving child that finds a space in my heart. Sophie was that child for me eleven years ago. She arrived on the first day of Kindergarten with a whole lot of spirit and spunk. I loved her right away. As I soon found out, Sophie had many passions. Her mother told me that at 4 years old that she announced that she would be a vegetarian. No one else in her family was a vegetarian so there were lots of changes in the household, as you can imagine. But the parents honored her decision and from then on she was a vegetarian.

Children this age often choose to be vegetarians because when they learn where they food comes from (a long lashed soft-eyed cow, a clever chicken that can outfox a fox, a cute pink pig like Wilbur or Babe) they become very upset and decide right then and there they will be stewards of animals. We often chatted about Sophie’s vegetarianism at morning circle because some of the other children in my class didn’t understand what being a vegetarian meant. Sophie was kind and patient when she explained that she didn’t want to eat animals because she loved them. There was no judgement, just a simple and clear explanation. My heart swelled. I found a few picture books on being a vegetarian – I have no control when it comes to an opportunity to acquire more books – and this one was our class favorite.

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You may have thought that some of the other children would’ve decided to become vegetarians, but they didn’t. They simply accepted that Sophie’s lunch was just lunch and they ate up the Herb the Vegetarian book.

Sophie came to kindergarten with another passion: Indigo Buntings. Sophie had seen one in North Carolina and that’s when her passion for the Indigo Bunting began. So yes, at four years old, she had a passion for all things Indigo Bunting.

She drew them.

She talked about them.

She asked me at least once a week, usually on a Monday, if I’d seen one that weekend. Sadly, I always said no.

Sophie wanted (aka slightly demanded) to know more about them. Yay! Me too! I brought in my Audubon bird identification book and provided her with books and many Montessori lessons on birds, and since she learned how to read with me that year she began independently reading about them during D.E.A.R (drop everything and read) time. I presented lessons on the external parts of a bird and then she made her own bird book (she colored her bird blue), lessons on the internal parts of birds (and she made a diagram), lessons on geography (we researched North America and where the Indigo Buntings live), lessons on migration (we researched Central America), lessons on how birds reproduce, what they eat, and what their nests look like. I spent the whole year integrating Indigo Buntings into the curriculum areas for her and on every field trip the whole class was on the lookout for them. Everyone grew to love and appreciate the Indigo Bunting, and Sophie sealed her place in my heart.

I had never seen an Indigo Bunting live and in person

UNTIL

this morning.

Here’s what the Mister and I saw at 6:20 a.m. this morning!

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The blue is like a Lapis Lazuli color! So bright!

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Looking for a mate? If I’m really lucky there will be a nest nearby!

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They prefer insects, live mealworms, small seeds, and thistle.

Here’s a little bit about Indigo Buntings.

  • They have a conical beak that give you an idea of  what they eat: small seeds, berries, and insects. They will come to your thistle feeders and will really like your live mealworm feeder.
  • They are native to North America.
  • They are roughly the size of sparrows; small and stocky birds.
  • They frequent areas where the woods meet the fields.
  • Their nests are made of grasses, sticks, leaves, and wrapped in spider silk.
  • They lay a clutch of 3-4 eggs and can have up to 3 broods a season. Their eggs are white with some brown spots.
  • The nestlings fledge at two weeks old.

 

Thank you, Sophie.

 

 

 

 

I Don’t Have Time For That

“Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michaelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.” ~ H. Jackson Brown Jr.

Recently, I was asked, “How do you have the time? Don’t you sleep?” Easy answer. I make time. Even when I worked outside the home for 40 hrs – plus another 10+ hours of commuting – I had time to do projects, take a class (or teach an additional class), and still shop, cook meals, clean the house, work the gardens, mow the lawn. You get the picture. I’m no superwoman, I certainly don’t have endless energy, and I definitely have my share of aches and pains.

This I know:  We make the time for the things that are important to us.

So when someone say, “Oh, I don’t have time for that,” what he or she really means is, “I don’t think that’s important enough to make time for.” And that’s OK.

Cheers!

Hellooooo

Hello friends,

I can’t believe it’s been two years. A lot has happened in the two-year break from blogging, but hopefully this is my return to writing, sharing my personal recipes, and sharing what I’ve learned in my – ah-hem – nearly 50 years (I turn 50 this July).

My interests have evolved so the blog may have more gardening and decorating posts, but who knows? I’ll try to write more often and hopefully you’ll find it entertaining and useful! I’m still making herbal remedies, but the business name has changed to reflect more of ‘place’. The new name is Farm44Herbals and you can find my single remedy tinctures on Etsy. I’m still involved with Montessori, Stott Pilates, cooking, and being a Mum to two adult daughters,  seven chickens, and one Labrador retriever. Life is good.

But, back to the immediate reality. I’m hoping the weather turns for the better. I have 10 yards of loam to mix with peat moss and and then put into three new garden beds. Those plants aren’t going to plant themselves.

Below is a snippet of what’s going on around the farm.

Thanks for sticking around,

Kim

Continue reading “Hellooooo”