Joy Livery

Month: January, 2014

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.

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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?

Ingredients:

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

Procedure: 

     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?

injoy,

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.

injoy,

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 101cookbooks.com.    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.

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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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   Ingredients: 

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

   Procedure:

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!

injoy,

xo, libby

Colds, Flus and You! Workshop

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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 

Mesquite Cacao-Butter Cookies

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I’m just so pleased with the way these turned out.  These are as beautiful as they sound!  The mesquite powder has a sweet, chocolatey caramel flavor to it and the cacao butter adds that characteristic richness.  Nothing but excessive niceness; you might think about having a light lunch.

I say if you are going to indulge, a no-stops, homemade confection is the way to go.  You just cannot control the ingredients or intentions of those that make store bought items.  Even seemingly healthful things, like almond milks, are no more than processed foods.  Forgo them for the real thing.  For some, that might mean soaking almonds and blending them into a delicious almond milk, and for others, it might mean finding a local dairy that sells their raw milk “for pet consumption only” (this is the only lawful way of selling raw milk to consumers in the state of Florida…. which is complete balderdash… but that is another post entirely).

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I love the robin’s blue shells~ pure novelty!

In addition to raw milk, I also used some eggs from Navera Farms.  They are unpasteurized and as true to pasture raised as I will get here in Jacksonville short of getting a few from a friend.  The deep, rich yellow of the yolk usually will give away clues as to what the chickens’ diet was and their stress levels, but these days even factory farmers have suspect ways of adding things to their feed to keep their yolk a satisfying gold.  I can only hope that these yolks came by their impressive color naturally.  picstitchLook at those beauties!

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Happy girl!

My niece, Carys, was lots of help in the kitchen, keeping good spirits and adding to the baking cheer.  SHe had started off in the Maya wrap, but before I could even melt the butters, she had had enough.  I propped her up in her little seat so she could watch.  picstitch copy 5

Ingredients:

1 cup of Einkhorn flour (this particular strain of wheat has never been hybridized or modified)

1 cup oat flour

1 cup mesquite powder/flour

1 teas baking soda

1 teas baking powder

2 cups sugar (I prefer the Repunzel brand as it is unrefined and unbleached)

1/2 stick of butter, melted

4 oz cacao butter, melted 

1/2 c raw cacao

2 capfuls of vanilla, approximation is fine

3 farm fresh eggs

1/4 cup of milk

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Here you can see the three flours side by side in a little color wheel.  picstitch

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picstitch copy 9Procedure:

     Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 

     Begin by mixing the dry ingredients together in a bowl.  That includes all three flours, the baking soda and powder, and the salt.  Mixing well with a whisk to ensure they are evenly combined.  Set aside.  Next, crack the three eggs into a large mixing bowl.   Add the melted butters, the vanilla, and the sugar and stir with a spoon.  Once well mixed, add the cacao.  Incorporate the dry ingredients a cup or so at a time.  No need to be totally accurate with your measurements.   Lastly, if the dough is still dry, as mine was, add the milk a tablespoon at a time until it is wet and comes together.  

     Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.  Spoon the dough onto the parchment in about two to two and a half tablespoon amounts.  Bake for 9 minutes, no more!  They will come out looking puffy and wet looking.  You will think you’ve failed and they’ve come out wrong.  But you haven’t!  Let them cool on the parchment for at least 30 minutes before trying your first bite.  They will begin to fall and only get better as they cool.  The results have a slight tooth to them on the outside, but are rich and chewy on the inside.

By the end of it all, Carys and I shared milk and cookies… well, she had her mommy’s milk, and I had a cookie.  It sent her into a milk-coma and she fell fast asleep.  I washed up, and she dreamt on.

injoy,

xo,

libby