Herbal Tea
    •  1/2 c. raspberries, fresh or frozen 

    •  1 c. fresh lemon balm

    •  1/2 c. fresh mint (any type) 

    •  2 Tbsp. honey

    Directions: Place all ingredients into a quart size mason jar. Fill with fresh water and sit out in the sun for 5 to 6 hours. Or, fill with boiling water and let steep for an hour. Strain plant and fruit material and discard (compost if you can). Pour over ice and enjoy!
    - Jody
    Michaline Schrade
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    This salad was made on a whim while working on a couple of flowery projects, and we loved it so much we thought you might enjoy. It's a very simple recipe, but I wanted to talk a little about bitters and weeds first.
    Wild Salad with Tonic Dressing
    While working this morning, we seized the moment, and ran out front to pick some dandelions and whatever else we could find. Jody was making a salad and we were focused on eating something healthy but nothing overly complicated. We foraged dandelions, but chickweed, sorrel, bittercress, henbit, dead nettles and red clover would have been other nourishing weeds to add. This is so perfect for our chilled, stagnant early-spring bodies. The bitter flavors of arugula, dandelions, lime zest and Spring Tonic were crisp and enlivening. The side of fruit was spectacular and complimented the bitter greens perfectly. The fruit pictured on our plate is mango, papaya, strawberries and avocado. I chose to eat my bitter salad first and then indulge in the fruits after. I, personally, enjoy bitters and have come to appreciate them way more, since learning about health and herbs. I think everyone's liver needs help these days. We are exposed to so many toxins in the air, on our skin, in our foods, and we eat such starchy, heavy foods, that giving our liver some support is a huge way to thank our bodies.
    So how are bitters and the liver connected? Bitter flavors on the tongue are reactive. The body just can't ignore it. They cause an immediate response in the body to stimulate saliva, then bile juices in the gall bladder secrete which then helps the liver do it's job optimally. This reaction is a catalyst essentially for the gall bladder and liver to start their jobs - in a natural way. This causes a cascade of reactions continuing through the entire digestive tract. The only catch is, you must experience that bitter taste. It's the taste that sends the signal. Interestingly enough, we have lost the old ways of embracing bitter foods with our meals. Chances are, your great-great-grandparents ate bitters more than you. Current foods are much more expansive with what we can select and most people choose starchy or salty over bitter. It's not really a taste most people prefer. There are so many benefits of taking bitters from curving sugar cravings to maintaining healthy skin to calming upset stomachs. The list is so long that eating bitters (or taking bitters) is the single most important thing you could do to provide your body with healthy support, in my humble opinion. One thing I remember from grade school is that we can not live without our liver, so that statement really stuck with me. There are many ways you could detox in late winter/ early spring which can help your liver. Adding some bitter greens is a really easy way to gently help.
    The weeds I mentioned above are generally weeds that we find popping up first thing in the Spring - the ones that many people try to get rid of. These plants, in particular, fall under the alterative category, meaning they gently help eliminate the metabolic waste through several eliminatory organs (liver being one of them). There is a reason they pop up during Spring. Nature has a way of providing exactly what we need when we need it. Some alteratives can be gentle and others can be more aggressive. Dandelion and red clover are two gentle alteratives, and they are most familiar. Once you feel comfortable identifying weeds, start adding them to your food. Food is medicine. There is a wealth of information available today. Start learning. Slowly. Always forage with respect. Keep in mind that pollinators need some, and you want to be sure the plants come back up next year.
    Jody made this salad and it tasted like spring on a plate.
    Enjoy alone or with your favorite side of fruit.
    • about 5 ounces of arugula
    • one bunch of dandelion greens, a couple of flowers
    • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
    • 1/2 tsp. salt
    • 2 finely chopped cloves of garlic
    • 1 Tbsp. Mystical Blossoms Spring Tonic
    • 1 Tbsp. honey
    • one lime zest, plus the juice of 1/2 lime
    • 1/2 orange zest, plus it's juice (we used blood orange)
    Wash your greens and place dandelion flowers aside.
    Dry greens well.
    Put greens in a large bowl and toss with remaining ingredients.
    Add dandelion flowers on top.
    Michaline Schrade
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    Michaline squeezing the almond milk out of a mesh bag
    *The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. This is an honest account of my personal experience and advice that I personally received from my doctor. Please research for yourself, use your intuition as your guide, and seek out the best doctor for you.
    So many people have dairy allergies or intolerances that it's not uncommon to see more varieties of non-dairy milks filling the shelves than the varieties of dairy milk that used to be standard ten years ago. I, myself, started drinking almond milk about nine years ago because I liked it better. I didn't have an intolerance. It was my preference. However, people are scrambling for substitutes because they have to. As I started becoming more aware of what is in products (reading labels!), I started questioning how the coconut and almond milks were so damn thick and tasty. I used to see "gum" but didn't want to admit is was probably something that wasn't good for me. Sometimes, you're just spent and you decide it's better than "something else" and you move on feeling okay about your choice.
    As time went on, I began trying different varieties of coconut with almond, just almond, just coconut, rice, then the different brands of every variety, then whatever was on sale. In my mind, it was better than milk from a cow. I don't know why, but at some point I felt grossed out by cow's milk. I recently learned, however, that milk is extremely nutritious from Dr. Teitelbaum and she explains why. The main issue is people's digestion. If that's not up to par, then milk can be hard to digest. If you are also combining it with other improper foods in the stomach, that could be another factor. The biggest take-away, however, is that the milk in the store is processed. It's pasteurized and homogenized so it's appealing, bacteria is killed and the cream doesn't rise, and this alters it's integrity. The better types can truly do the body good.
    Dr. Teitelbaum is an Ayurvedic doctor in Cinnaminson, New Jersey and utilizes the techniques of kinesiology which employs muscle testing to find imbalances in the patient's physiology. I've been taking my son, David, to her for a month and I'm amazed at how well he is responding to the natural healing. It was almost instantaneous. David can't have the cow's milk yet, so I'm making the homemade almond milk that she suggested. Until his digestion comes back to balance, I'm making this and loving it. But first, I do want to include the exact information she gave us on cow's milk, because I feel that many people have been shunning something that is really beneficial to their bodies. If your digestion is optimal and you like milk, you may want to consider these sources and be sure to boil it before using, as stated below.
    According to Dr. Teitelbaum, these are the three best types of milk to favor:
    1. First best is A2 raw milk - available from Miller's Organic Farm (717-556-0672), Radiance Dairy in Fairfield, Iowa, and a few other locations around the country. This is the type of milk found in ancient times when the cow breeds were only A2. Nowadays, they are mainly of the A1 genetic type, which contains a protein that is difficult for many people to digest. Don't buy the A2 milk from Whole Foods, as it is processed, which ruins its good qualities.
    Another source of raw milk is:
    Gita Nagari Eco Farm Sanctuary | 534 Gita Nagari Road | Port Royal, PA 170825
    e: | contact: Parijata 516-946-9780 | Kesi 702-575-7067
    2. Second best milk is raw milk, which means it wasn't homogenized or pasteurized (available in our area from Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia and other Amish food stands in PA). Raw milk is illegal in New Jersey, but you may have better access where you are from.
    3. Third best is unhomogenized milk (still has the layer of cream on the top) available at Whole Foods Market in the glass bottle with the white lid from Trickling Springs Dairy.
    Do not drink it cold, but always boil it right before using it. Boiling it kills any infection in the milk and breaks down the fat globules in the milk which aids in its assimilation into the cells.
    Another note from Dr. Teitelbaum:
    We always want the full fat milk because the fat in the milk delivers the calcium in the bones. Low fat and skim milk can cause osteopenia and osteoporosis as the calcium comes in one end of the digestive tract and out the other. If you feel the full fat milk is too heavy for you, boil half milk, half water - this way the prana (life force energy) is still intact in the milk.
    I haven't tried any of the real milks yet, but I can't wait until I do. The recipe for almond milk below doesn't yield a lot. I followed it the first time, and have been making bigger batches lately. I add a touch of maple syrup to sweeten, instead of the sugar, and it's delicious.
    Dr. Teitelbaum also mentioned not to leave skin on because the skins contain lectins which are compounds that are bad for your health.
    (courtesy of Dr. Marianne Teitelbaum | Cinnaminson, NJ)
    • 1/2 c. almonds
    • spring water
    • 1/2 tsp. arrowroot powder
    • 1 to 2 Tbsp. organic sugar (evaporated cane juice)
    Soak 1/2 cup almonds (with the skins on) overnight in a bowl of water.
    In the morning peel the almonds and put them into a blender or food processor with spring water to cover, 1/2 teaspoon arrowroot powder (available at Wholefoods Market in the flour section), 1 to 2 tablespoons of organic sugar (evaporated cane juice).
    Blend for two minutes and strain (you can purchase a nut milk bag on amazon) and you have your own almond milk! It's loaded with essential fatty acids, for the brain, and calcium for the bones, and numerous other nutrients.
    - Enjoy
    Michaline Schrade
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    Are you finding time for yourself during the upswing of the holiday season? We hear it repeatedly, but somehow get trapped into the everyday commitments and the to-do-lists that finding time almost feels like a luxury. Self care is truly a priority.
    What is self care? Self care is a deliberate function that is self initiated in order to take care of our mental, emotional and physical health.
    Here are a few tips to create SELF CARE as a priority
    tip #1
    Everyone is different, so what sets your soul afire is going to be different than your best friends. Determine what you need in your life that is going to bring joy and rejuvenation back in. Do you need walks in nature, daily exercise, meditation, more cups of tea in a day, sacred baths at night, less time at your desk? Until you decide what is important to you, you can't make it a priority.
    Talk yourself into what the perfect uplifting ritual looks like to you and picture it.
     Getting outdoors in the Winter can uplift your spirits, even if it's dreary out 
    tip #2
    Now that you've decided what is a priority for you, decide where, when and how you can fit it into your schedule. Leave an all-or-nothing mentality at the door. Start with five minutes of whatever it is you need, if you must, but do it. Even a bath at night can be turned into a simpler foot bath in front of the tv, if you can't miss your favorite show. Start somewhere.
    More time for tea can mean setting periodic alarms on your phone to trigger the realization you have to turn the water on to get the kettle going. Wake up 15 minutes earlier if you need meditation but can't seem to get it in during the day. You may even begin to notice times during the day, where your priority fits in perfectly. When you decide what you want, the opportunities will open.
    tip #3
    Reevaluate what time of day worked for you and how you made it happen. Keep on it.
    Did you stop sacrificing yourself to make your priority happen? Did you simplify some areas of your life that can remain simple indefinitely? Maybe you decided to use technology to your advantage to save time. Whatever you did, you've sent the message to yourself and the universe that YOU are important. Winter is a time to evaluate. That's self care just by doing that!
    Michaline enjoying tea outdoors
    tip #4
    If it worked once, it can work again. If it worked with adjusting one thing, it can work with adding in another. The best part is, the longer you stick with it, it will form into a healthy habit. Chances are, you are eliminating bad habits and replacing them with good. By next Winter, you will reevaluate again and every year you are a new version of yourself.
    The holidays are manageable as long as you determine, schedule, evaluate, and repeat.
    - Jody + Michaline
    *The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
    Michaline Schrade
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    This Winter, surprisingly, hasn't been a tough one for me. It's the first time I've ever not had a full-time corporate job, and I've had the pleasure of being a stay-at-home mom. I find myself in the kitchen from morning until night keeping up with the routine of cooking healthy meals for the family. We have been gluten-free, crap-free for months and it hasn't posed too much of a challenge. The biggest challenge of all has been keeping the kitchen stocked full of fresh fruits and vegetables and the fridge loaded with eggs. That being said, there are times when we have to put aside regimens and strict goals to follow what our instinct is calling for and just give the health hustle a rest. On my shopping trip last week I looked at the bag of rye flour on the shelf, among twenty other types of flours, and nearly salivated. I picked it up and really wanted to make something wholesome and couldn't wait.
    I decided to make the rye cracker recipe listed on the back of the Bob's Red Mill package, but as always, wanted to add herbs and the things that were calling to me at the time. If you decide to bake these, I think you will love them. They hit the spot for all of us! I also added sesame seeds which added more crunch and added a beautiful topping. The real reason for this post is to express how making this recipe with my toddler made it more than just a chore. The process from start-to-finish was pure joy. Typically, I avoid baking with my children because I'm a neat freak and it always ends up way too messy for my liking. What has happened over these past several months of being home is the realization that a clean house is counterintuitive to creative play and it only makes me on edge. My home is a mess most days and accepting that takes off the pressure I used to self impose on myself. Sometimes we get into a cycle of doing what women before us did, and we just have to stop and ask ourselves, "is this making my life easier or more difficult?"
    I decided to clear off the island in my kitchen and let little miss do most of the work. I took out mixing bowls, cookie cutters, sesame seeds, herbs from our garden, lots of spoons and let her play for a bit. It's interesting how children love helping at such young ages.
    She mixed the dry ingredients - whole wheat flour, rye flour, sea salt, sugar, baking powder, caraway seeds, and herbs. She poured in the milk, carefully. I added the melted butter. She did her best to mix the dough with the wooden spoon, then we kneaded it into a dough.
    Rye Cracker Dough
    Pat. Pat. Pat.
    child baking
    She even used the rolling pin.
    child with rolling pin
    It's not work when you're having fun.
    mom and child baking
    I'm certain her favorite part was the sesame seeds. Adding that touch was priceless. Yes, that's her little foot up on the counter. She really got into this.
    sesame seed crackers
    A little distraction from a tv cartoon while the crackers baked, so it didn't feel like an eternity, and voila! Next time I'll roll them out thinner, but they were on point.
    child eating rye cracker
    The best part is, this isn't even an unhealthy snack. We try avoiding a lot of gluten and sugar, so this is a good compromise. I also feel good knowing there's herbs in there to add a little plant magic. I doubled the recipe, which yielded about 40 crackers. I would even make a bigger batch next time. They didn't last a day! Here is the recipe that I made, with a couple of additions, and I doubled the original recipe given on the back of the bag:
    • 1 C. whole wheat flour (recipe called for unbleached white, but I did whole wheat)
    • 1 C. Bob's Red Mill Organic Dark Rye Flour
    • 1 tsp. sea salt
    • 2 Tbsp. sugar (I used raw)
    • 2 Tbsp. dried basil (I used a coffee grinder to finely grind it)
    • 2 Tbsp. dried oregano (I used a coffee grinder to finely grind it)
    • 2 tsp. baking powder
    • 3 Tbsp. sesame seeds
    • 4 tsp. whole caraway seeds
    • 8 Tbsp. butter
    • 6 Tbsp. milk
    Mix together dry ingredients and caraway seeds, reserve sesame seeds for later. Melt butter and add to dry ingredients. Stir in milk. Form into a ball and roll out to 1/8 to 1/16 inches. You can choose to roll the dough between wax paper, but it worked just fine without it. Cut with assorted cookie cutters. Prick with fork, then top with sesame seeds. Transfer to ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 400ºF for 5 to 6 minutes until lightly browned on edges. Cool on rack. Store in airtight container.
    Makes about 40 yummy crackers.
    These make an excellent gift too. Enjoy.
    -Michaline and little Miss
    mom and child eating crackers
    Michaline Schrade
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