Joy Livery

Miso Hungry Soup

picstitchI don’t know if it is my undying admiration for martial arts (check <— that out!) and those that practice them or my deep curiosity of Japanese culture and their food, but I love miso soup.  I’m also willing to throw in some less desirable accountability and admit that part of its attraction is its ease.  Boil some water and you are practically half way there.  But there are more respectable ways to dress this bowl of steaming umami, and many, many days I do indulge myself in trying them out.  This one here has come to be one of my favorites because I feel like it includes all of the necessary flavors and it packs a nutritional punch.  


A pile of aromatic white rice sits in a rich miso broth that slowly infuses with the more forward flavors of ginger, garlic and lemon.  Why the lemon, you ask?  Mostly I add it because this happens to also be my soup of choice when I’m sick, as it adds a kick of Vitamin C.  It also reminds me of my favorite go-to when feeling under the weather, Garlic-Ginger-Cayenne Lemonade.  Not a terribly romantic name, but certainly straightforward.  That being said, I will add that the soup doesn’t come off as super lemony, so don’t be deterred if the thought of lemon soup sounds awful to you.  It just adds a nice brightness to the broth.  

As you mince your garlic, ginger, and scallions, don’t worry if you are not super handy with a knife.  While it is definitely more apropos to have more finely chopped aromatics, I wouldn’t call it a deal breaker by any means if you are more of a lazy chopper.  The last addition I made was a couple leaves of basil, another aromatic.  With all of those aromatics, congestion doesn’t have a chance!  


A note about the seaweed- make sure to source your seaweed from a reputable provider somewhere on an Atlantic Coast.  I’m sure that all of our oceans have their imperfections and pollutants, but I don’t like the idea of eating radioactive seaweed.  Just a thought. : )  



2 T plus chickpea miso paste (feel free to experiment with the different flavors that the different aged misos offer.  i also like to go for the chickpea miso and just skip the concern about soy altogether.)

2 stalks of scallion

1 knuckle of ginger, minced

1-2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 cup of rice, cooked

a few basil leaves

1 ounce of firm tofu (or silken if you prefer), cut into cubes 

dulse, cut into strips




Begin by starting your rice on the stovetop.  Then more to your cutting board and mince the garlic and the ginger, and chop your scallions.  Once those are all chopped and sitting pretty on the board, check your rice.  Once your rice has completely cooked, heat a cup of water in the kettle.  While it heats, cube your tofu and cut your dulse into strips.  As the kettle whistles, take it off the heat and plop (what a terrible word to describe food… sorry) your miso paste into the bottom of a bowl.  After giving the water a minute to come off boiling temperature (but not too long!), pour just a bit of water in and mix it into the paste.  If you skip this step, your broth will be lumpy, so be sure to not miss it!  Once this is done, pour the rest of the water into the bowl and continue to stir.  Now you can construct the rest of your bowl.  Add the rest of the ingredients carefully and make a masterpiece, or to hell with it, and just dump it all in there and be done with it.  Whichever you choose, certainly enjoy!






Curried Pumpkin Soup


I’m sheepishly sharing this a tad early.  Technically summer does not leave until September is ending, and in Florida it can last into October.  This soup came together nonetheless.  : )  It had been a great Saturday- taught Led Primary Series at Ananda Kula in the morning and then headed over to the Cummer Museum and spent some time goofing off with friends and my our kids.  And I must say, it was incredibly hot today (another strange non-reason to make an autumnal soup).  Coming home, I soon realized I didn’t have much in the kitchen for dinner, so I went poking around in the pantry and came across a can of pumpkin.  Besides a mean tofu pumpkin pie, I honestly can’t think of anything else to make with a can of pumpkin other than soup.  So while it isn’t pumpkin, spice and everything nice season, this recipe really hit the spot.  The curry just sings in your mouth and was such a joy to eat!

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1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon coriander

1 teaspoon turmeric

1/2 teaspoon black pepper 

1 teaspoon curry powder 

3 tablespoons ghee

1 can of pumpkin puree

1 cube of vegetable bouillon (Repunzel brand is a favorite)

Salt to taste (keep in mind that your bouillon cube with have salt in it)

1 – 1 1/2 cups pure water 

4 small stalks of celery

1 yellow summer squash

1/2 of small onion 

3 leaves of chard 

3 cloves of garlic 

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     First thing to do is heat the ghee in your pot.  Add the spices to the ghee to heat.  When the mustard seeds are popping, add your chopped onion.  Wait until the onions have softened to add the garlic.  Once the garlic has become aromatic, add in your celery and squash.  Place the lid on the pot and allow to steam.  If needed, add a tablespoon of water to the pot to help this process along.  Sometimes there seems to be enough moisture from the vegetables as they cook, but you don’t want the pot to scorch.  Check after a minute how the steaming is coming along.  Give the vegetables a stir.  Add in your bouillon cube with a little bit of water (maybe a quarter cup) to begin to dissolve the cube and let it coat the vegetables.  Next add in your pumpkin puree and a cup of water.  If the consistency seems a little too thick, add in more water.  It is certainly more of a preference issue as to how thick or thin your soup should be.  Mine was somewhere in the middle.  The last thing to do is add in the chard.  When chopping chard a handy tip is to roll the leaves up together like a cigar and then chop it.  I chose to chop mine more fine for this batch of soup and it turned out well.  Allow it all to cook for a little bit longer, allowing the flavors to meld.







Red Clover Oatmeal Cookies

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These little gems are a spin off of the Herb Fairy Cookbook’s Dandelion Cookies that popped into my inbox this afternoon.  John Gallagher over at and his family, have put together sweet little videos along with their free cookbook (you can download it here).  The Herb Fairy book series’ and cookbook’s intent is to get our children outside and involved in the world of plants!  Well worth a visit!  Please, check it out!

After watching today’s video, I knew I wanted to make these with Bodhi, but our lawn, despite not being sprayed, has NO dandelions.  Yes, you heard correct.  We have plantain, faux hawks beard, dollarweed, betony, chickweed and others; but, alas, no dandelion.  Actually no, I take that back.  We have a single dandelion in our front lawn.  I’m hoping that it will multiply times a thousand and that before summer’s end we will have many dandelions to harvest.  For now, we are lacking.

But no fear!  I just received a massive bulk bag of red clover in the mail!  I thought that with their sweet smelling blossoms they would be perfect for these cookies.  I was right!  They have just enough sweet, floral, herbal taste to please any herbalist, but subtle enough for anyone to enjoy!   Mmm!

Now I did change around the ingredients a bit, so do check out both recipes if you have the time and inclination. : )  I used what I had on hand.


Here’s how to get started!


1/2 cup maple syrup

1/2 coconut oil (you could substitute butter)

1 cup dried pineapple (or other fruit… or an additional egg)

1 egg

1 teas vanilla extract 

1/2 teas sea salt

1 cup oatmeal (thick-rolled… not instant)

1 cup Einkorn whole wheat flour (you may substitute any type of wheat flour you have on hand if needed)

 1/2 – 1 cup of loosely packed red clover flowers (and of course!, you could use freshly picked dandelions)



The first thing you’ll need to do is get out your blender.  Pour the maple syrup, the pineapple, vanilla, coconut oil, and sea salt into the blender and puree until smooth.  Pour this wet mixture into a medium to large bowl and crack in your egg.  Beat it into the wet mixture thoroughly.  Next pour in the cup of oats, cup of flour, and the red clover blossoms.  If you are letting little hands help with all of this, it is nice to let them hold the measuring cup over the bowl, while you pour the liquids into the cup.  Then let them delight in the dumping of the ingredient into the big bowl.  When it come time to measure the oats and the flour, find a small cup rather than a big spoon, to help their little hands to better scoop.  We have a little stainless steel cup that measures 1/4 cup that worked perfectly for this.  Of course, flour goes everywhere, but that’s what is so fun!



Once the ingredients are well folded, spoon two to three spoonfuls of batter for each cookie onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  Bake them at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until fragrant from the oven and golden brown.  These will need to cool before you can handle them, as they will tend to fall apart when hot.  Slide the parchment (with the cookie still on it) right off of the cookie sheet and onto the counter to let them cool.  


with love, xo,



Sweet Rose Elixir

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Last summer (was it really that long ago?) I put together this little gem- a rose petal infused  glycerin with a touch of brandy to keep things preserved  a little longer.  It’s been sitting in the herb pantry for later straining, and that day finally came yesterday.  So of what use is a rose glycerite?  I particularly love Deb Soule’s description on her company Avena Botanicals website.  She says, “Roses are praised by people worldwide for their affinity with the heart. Traditionally, roses are used to calm the nerves, relieve insomnia and mild depression, dispel mental and physical fatigue, and soothe irritability associated with PMS, post-partum stress and menopause.”

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From another angle, rose medicine cools and sweetens any excess pitta, or heat.  Shoot, just plain gardening, as long as it isn’t extremely hot outside and irritating you further, can sweeten your mood.  So I suggest getting outside by the plants and taking time to smell the roses.   Linger by the blooms and take a long look inside them.  Look for the bugs that have made it’s home there.  Take a long drawn inhalation and appreciate their sweet, rather complex bouquet.  Ask them permission to take their medicine.  If they say yes, then feel free to harvest their petals.  It is best to do this in the early-ish morning, but I have harvested in the afternoon as well.

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The day I harvested for this batch of rose elixir was particularly fiery.  I needed to cool down, and even with the high afternoon sun, I got the benefits of their medicine.  But on other days when there is no time for stopping (a problem in itself in this modern world), a tincture of this lovely elixir will soften the sharp corners of the day.

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The other issue that rose medicine, and really any aromatic flower, can address very well, is depression.  It can help to sweet life when you perceive no sweetness.  In this same vein, it can also aid with emotional eating (specific to sweet cravings).

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Rose Elixir


rose petals, preferably freshly harvested

enough vegetable glycerin to cover the petals

a touch of brandy, or any other alcohol you like to drink (I’d have used gin if I’d had it)

a glass jar with a well sealing lid

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 Place the freshly harvested rose petals in the jar and pour the glycerin over the petals until it comes to the top of the plant material.  The rose petals will not all sink down underneath the glycerin, but using a chopstick or something of the like will help to get them all covered.  Then add a touch of brandy to it.  All the amounts of ingredients will end up depending on the amount of the rose petals you harvest.  Use your common sense and best judgments.  Leave to steep for at least four weeks.  I like to make a double, or even triple, tincture of the rose elixir.  So after four weeks, strain the petals out of the glycerin-alcohol mixture using a mesh strainer.  Remember to squeeze the petals and get all of the medicine!  Then add more petals to the tincture.  Leave for another four weeks.  Strain again.  Repeat if desired.  On the final strain, put the tincture in a special bottle and/or the bottle you will be dosing from.  For acute situations, take a dropperful every hour (or more often as needed) until the problem subsides.  For chronic imbalances, take four times a day.  




Welcome to the World, Major George Green


Major George Green was born on Wednesday, January 29th, at a perfect 10 lbs 2 oz and 2 feet long!

If there is anything that runs like a strong current through all of the births I attend, it is that our headlights can only illuminate what is directly in front of us, and yet we still make it home.  Namaste, little Major, may you find peace.

Everydays, Herb Power Balls

picstitch copy 6     These go by many names.  Rosemary Gladstar, my mentor’s mentor, coined them Zoom Balls.  Her intention was to provide a group of lagging students with some giddy up while out in the field.  Of course, it included caffeinated herbs, like Guarana and Kola Nut.  I believe the original formula even included Panax Ginseng and Bee Pollen, though she doesn’t include them now mostly because of their status as Endangered and a sensitive product, respectively.  Since the seventies the recipe has taken many forms, shapeshifting to fill the need, as the recipe is incredibly versatile.  It seems every herbalist will have their favorite recipe.


My teacher, Emily Ruff, who I interviewed a bit ago in this post here, calls them by a name I rather like.  Her Ninja balls work under the cover of sweet and nutty goodness to hide the medicine.  She likes to bring in nutritive and adaptogenic herbs to enhance ones vitality in a very long lasting, foundational way.   Mineral rich herbs like nettles, oatstraw and their milky tops, and alfalfa are truly supreme at restoring nutritive gaps, especially for the nervous system, and I highly recommend them to everyone!  Adaptogenic herbs are similarly important for vibrant health, which are generally accepted to be herbs that move the body towards homeostasis, bettering it’s ability to ward off stress and improve it’s resiliency.

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I picked up this little bag of Sunrise Minerals at Milagro in Santa Fe during one of my yearly trips. The herbies working there are always lovely!  Do stop in and say hello if you are ever there.  You can find them on their website, or another great option is Racheal Jean’s Green Drink.  

Needless to say, these little balls pack a punch.  They make a great afternoon or after school snack, and I can vary the ingredients slightly based on the fluctuations of our health.  Mostly, I stick to my allies.  These are the herbs I want to take everyday, hence the name I gave them- Everydays- nodding to their residual nature; their effects and benefits unfolding slowly as they build up in our bodies.

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hemp seeds and shiitake mushroom powder

They mirror Emily’s Ninja Balls, just with a different name.  If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right?


1/4 c hemp seeds (nourishing, excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids)

1/4 c shiitake mushroom powder (adaptogenic, immuno-enhancer)

1/4 c ashwagandha powder (adaptogenic)

scant 1/4 c sunrise minerals, or a powdered mixture of your favorite mineral rich herbs (nourishing)

1/4 c raw cacao

3/4 c sunflower seeds butter (or YOUR favorite nut butter)

1/2 c raw, local honey 

buckwheat groats for rolling

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the dough


     Begin by mixing all of your dry herb powders and the cacao together in a bowl very well, to ensure an equal amount of each herb finds its way into each ball.  Then add both your honey and your nut butter.  This part takes a little elbow grease.  Stir and fold the powders into the nut butters and honey.  There really isn’t an easy or pretty way to accomplish this.  It’s a hot mess.  *See bowl above*

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buckwheat groats

Once the dough comes together, you can tear 1/2 tablespoon to tablespoon sized amounts off the big dough ball and roll them into  small one or two bite Everydays.  If your dough doesn’t just come together, as sometimes, depending on the different herbs you choose to use and their different properties, it won’t, then use more of either the wet ingredients or dry ingredients to remedy the batch.  For example, if I make a batch and I’m finding that the dough is just too gooey, I might add some more cacao powder.  In a particularly difficult to remedy batch, I might reach for carob instead, as it tends to absorb very well.  On the other hand, if it isn’t coming together at all and its just too dry, I’ll slowly add more honey and/or nut butter a bit at a time.  You will be surprised how one tablespoon to the next can change its state dramatically.  

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*rolling them in the groats gives them extra nutrition, but also makes them pretty!  try rolling them in chopped nuts, seeds, coconut, or a mixture of these, perhaps with a sprinkle of cacao nibs? *

 Finally, spill some buckwheat groats onto a plate and roll the balls in them until each are covered.  

If balls just aren’t your thing or you just can’t bear the innuendos that inevitably come up as you serve them (even among seasoned herbies) you can always save time and simply press these into a baking pan and cut them into squares.  I might refrigerate them beforehand to make the knife slide better.  Cookie cutters are always fun, too!

Any favorite recipes out there for herb balls?  I always need new inspiration!  What are your everyday herbs?


xo, libby

Thursday Thought, etc.



thursdays are for… a photograph, a quote or poem, a list, a thought… something that has been circulating in my mind or my life throughout the current week.picstitch

Mudita is a teaching of the Buddha, and much like its more well known sister teaching of Metta, or loving kindness,  it is primarily concerned with how we relate to others.

Natasha Jackson wrote a beautiful essay titled, ‘Unselfish Joy: A Neglected Virtue’ where she describes it as its most base understanding, “as sympathy towards mankind,”.  However, she further refines this going so far as to say that Mudita is necessary before one can cultivate Metta, loving kindness towards oneself and others.   Sympathy here, however, has a slight different connotation than, perhaps, we are used to knowing it.  Sympathy is evoked in the concern for the well being of another, and is not tied strictly to situations in which we feel bad, leading to Karuna, or compassion.  The less known side of sympathy is when we experience concern for another and their well being, but it is joyful.  Seeing a friend do well, succeed, have good fortune… whatever the case, we must choose sincere unselfish joy.

As a mother, I reflect on Mudita often.  My son is young, and this teaching comes very hard at his age.  But as he grows, I want not to forget it’s value.  Just as we aim to teach our children and ourselves compassion and loving kindness toward others, we must also remember Mudita, and practice radical unselfish joy for other’s good fortunes that befall them.


xo, libby

Pecorino, Lemon, + Garlic Kale

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There is magic in this recipe.  No, really.  There is!  There is magic in the dressing, as it seems everything it touches turns into something extra special, and there is magic in the kale, because kale is the modern beacon for nutrient dense eating.

And with good reason– kale offers you an abundance of vitamins and minerals (check out the link for a favorite website on the nutrition of different foods, ORAC, and ANDI ratings), and it will offer you its nature, which is sattvic and pure.

What I love about this trend– this love of kale– is that it has encouraged Americans to embrace bitter again.  An oft neglected taste that sends signals to the stomach and liver to churn out bile, bitter is supreme when it comes to more digestive harmony.  You can take advantage of this physiological charm by making sure you are eating well rounded meals that incorporate bitter tastes.  Another great way is by taking digestive bitters.  Angelica, gentian, and artichoke leaf are all classic bitter herbs and can be found in many classic digestive formulas, but there are many different variations and every herbalist has their favorite.  Ultimately it is a personal preference.  But taking a teaspoon or so thirty minutes before a meal can truly help in the digestion (and further assimilation!) of your meal, specifically in breaking down fats and proteins.

I initially got this recipe from Heidi Swanson over at    Not personally, of course, but from her beautiful blog.  I encourage you to stop by and check it out if you haven’t already.  It will not disappoint!  Sophisticated rustic vegetarian inspiration for days!  And for those of you who aren’t vegetarians, do not be deterred.  I have found inspiration on her pages throughout all of my eating trends.  Her message is simply whole food.


The original recipe was plucked from Melissa Clark’s cookbook In A Kitchen With A Good Appetite (Heidi’s write up is here), and is a glorious kale salad.  This is a salad I have made countless times and almost every single person I have made this for asks for the recipe.  It is just that good.  The lemon is rounded out by the salty pecorino and pungent garlic, and good olive oil here really shines.

The lemon macerates the kale, penetrating the cell walls a bit, making it both easier to chew and more easily digested.  (That last link there was for my Aunt Cal, who became rather tickled with my use of this word.)

While I love this salad, heart and soul, I wasn’t looking for cold today.  Albeit the day’s blue sky and window opening opportunity, North Florida has had a string of thunderstorms and cold weather.  A cold salad didn’t feel right.  So I opted to slightly steam the kale– more of a wilt than a steam, really.  I wilted it in a kiss of olive oil and a glug of water, and then dressed it once in my bowl.  Alongside a sweet potato, lunch was served.

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1-2 bunches of dinosaur kale (depending on the size of the leaves)

1 lemon

2 cloves of garlic, lazy minced

1/4- 1/2 c pecorino cheese, sub parmesan if its on hand

2 T cold-pressed olive oil


Begin by ripping the leaves away from their ribs and placing the torn pieces in your sauté pan.  Add a glug of water and a tablespoon of olive oil into the pan.  This will help get the steaming going, and keep the kale from scorching on the bottom of the pan.  

     Before beginning the kale, return to your cutting board to prepare the dressing.  In a bowl, combine the garlic, the pecorino, the juice of the lemon, and the remaining 1 T of olive oil.

     Then on high heat, allow the kale to cook, covered, for about 1 minute.  Turn the heat, then, to medium and allow to cook for another few moments until the kale is just wilted.  Take off heat and leave lid OFF the pan.  Stir the kale to release the steam.  

     Put the now wilted kale on top of the dressing and with two spoons, toss the kale until it is sufficiently combined.    

I imagine this dressing would be equally delicious on other vegetables, as a flavor profile for a brothy soup, or tossed into a chicken (or tuna?) salad.  Sky’s the limit.  Let me know if you end up trying this on something else… successes and failures!  I can always appreciate a warning!


xo, libby

Colds, Flus and You! Workshop


Come and join me for a workshop traversing the range of immune boosting herbs and foods!  We will discuss how the immune system works, herbs and practices to keep it humming, and my favorite remedies for when something sneaks past your defenses!

Bring a pen and paper for notes and a mug for trying the different herbal tisanes, tinctures and remedies!

$40  Sign up and reserve your spot by calling Ananda Kula at 904-630-7344

Saturday, January the 25th

4154 Herschel Street, Jacksonville, Florida 32210

Thursday Thoughts, etc.

thursdays are for… a photograph, a quote or poem, a list, a thought… something that has been circulating in my mind or my life throughout the current week.

picstitchmy carryall