Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Breakfast Muffins

For the last couple of years my sister and I have been attempting to stay ahead of age, and though I've still got quite a few pounds I'd love to leave behind, we walk most days and compared to when we started out, we have made giant strides.  When we visit our kids around the country we don't embarrass ourselves, at least.  Well.. much.
One of the things we've found is that having meals on hand so that thought (or work) isn't required helps a lot.  We each have recipes for a breakfast muffin, and make a batch, freeze them, and they're ready to go each morning. 
Here's the recipe that I've gradually come to after lots of additions and trials.  For instance, I used to add dried sour cherries and dried blueberries, but realized I didn't like it too much and swapped in other fruit.  Also trail mix of assorted nuts, seeds, and raisins is great.  Anyhow...

Dry ingredients:
1 cup wheat flour
1 cup wheat bran
1 cup oat bran
1 cup rolled oats
1 T baking powder
2 t baking soda
1 t cinnamon
1 t cardamom
1 t nutmeg (or spices of your choice)

Wet ingredients:
2 over ripe bananas
1 cup applesauce (or persimmon pulp if I have it)
1 individual cup of vanilla yogurt (I really like Oikos Vanilla and toasted Coconut)
2 eggs
1 - 6 oz can crushed pineapple

The good stuff *these things area all interchangeable or can be replaced with other stuff*:
1 cup granola
1 cup coconut (unsweetened if I'm behaving)
1 cup (or more) broken walnuts or pecans
1/2 cup chopped dates
1/8 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 T dark unsweetened cocoa
 NOTE:  you need to add at least 3 cups of additives.
Set oven to 400 degrees
Line muffin tins

I usually make up several batches of the dry and "good stuff" all mixed up and in the freezer. 
Mix up all the wet ingredients and blend.  An immersion blender is perfect.
Add dry ingredients and mix well. 
Makes 24 muffins
Bake for 16 minutes
I place a piece of cardboard on the bottom of a gallon sized zip-lock.  These can be used at least 10 times.  The cardboard allows them to be stacked neatly in the freezer.  Keep a couple of them out and refrigerate so you can just heat one up in the morning for about 30 seconds.  I use the cupcake liner cups to hold the muffins in the fridge - perfect.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

The Conundrum of Being a Small Business

When I was a child in the 60's, my mother was a renegade.  She started a small business to support us.  I learned many rules at her knee:
1) Always say "we" and appear successful.
2) Never talk about a downturn.  See #1.
3) Smile and apologize, no matter whose fault it is - and perhaps you can imagine how much more difficult that was for a woman at that time in history.

*Being* a small business is the only way you can describe it because the business is our reputation, our identity, and one of the kids.  One does not "own" a small business.  It owns us.

So while we may be very small cottage industries, it behooves us to present our businesses as spiffy, shiny, and big.  Sometimes people treat us big businesses.  This is the problem.

What am I getting at?
This morning I awoke to a charge back for a fraudulent sale - the second in 20 years.  In the rush of the Christmas Eve mailing, I somehow missed sending out an order for a single magazine. 
It was me.  I know that because it's always me.  I'm the shipping department, the purchasing department, accounts payable, accounts receivable, editor, schmoozer in chief, social media dept., and everything in between.

So yes.  It happened. (update - no, they got the order)
An order for $7.50 is charged back with an additional $15 fee.

NOTE: This has been resolved to everyone's satisfaction.

Granted, it isn't the customer's job to check up on an order that doesn't arrive, but if you're reading this and you ever deal with ANY online business, please give them a chance to correct the situation before hitting the fraud alarm.  A simple email, maybe?

Had this customer contacted me, she would have gotten immediate service and most certainly there would have been a gift of some sort.  Almost every boxed order that leaves here has a little something special tucked into it, so we (see? can't help it) would have bent over backwards to make things right.

It's not a huge deal in the big scheme of things, I suppose.  The other charge back was 2 years ago.  Someone had purchased a PDF and forgot, didn't recognize the charge.  So even though my website could prove that they sent the file to the provided email address immediately, for some reason she got back her $5, and I got to pay the extra $15 fee.

Please give businesses a chance to explain.  Wouldn't you want that?  Wouldn't you do that if we were a brick and mortar shop?  Don't be quick to assume the worst of people.

UPDATE:  This was reported in error.  It won't matter.  So was the last one.  The credit card company never reverses their judgment.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

New Winter ebook!


Much like our magazine, the e-book is simply overflowing with all sorts of great articles and information to help slide through to spring.  Maryanne really enjoyed the freedom of unlimited space and not having to worry about resolution for printing.  It is beautiful.
Tea and syrup recipes, how to make salves and lots of other concoctions, breads, fairies, crafts, soups, soap, and a bunch of herbal monographs.  40 full-sized pages that contain an incredible amount of information.
Cover by Debra Sturdevant
Don't miss out on this deal - or stop by next month for the book.

Subscribe today and get your own copy!

Thursday, December 26, 2019

REVIEW Opening Our Wild Hearts to the Healing Herbs (Part 2)

Opening Our Wild Hearts to the Healing Herbs (Part 2)
A Florilegia for the Wild Heart Tribe
Gail Faith Edwards

This is the Materia Medica section of Gail Faith Edward's long awaited revised edition of her brilliant and ground-breaking 1995 book, Opening Our Wild Hearts to the Healing Herbs which is now out of print.

First though, Gail shares valuable information about how we need to approach and respect our plant allies.  The beginning of the book is filled with an incredible amount of information that can only come from a woman who has seen the world as an adventurous maiden, a nurturing mother, and finally a wise and generous crone.
She explains the way of the wild heart, discusses the Wheel of the Year, and shares thoughts on cultural appropriation and caring for the vulnerable allies that we are threatening with our carelessness.
She talks about several systems and approaches to herbalism.  There is seriously an entire education before we even get to the herbs.

But then we DO get to the healing herbs.  Gail's writing has the tone of a story-teller, so that each herb is a different tale.  She shares history, lore, personal experiences, facts, and so much more.  Agrimony, Cannabis, Devil's Club, Kava Kava, Schisandra. Tobacco, Uva Ursi AND the "regulars" like Burdock, Chickweed, Dandelion, Garlic, etc., are covered, as well as there being a section on medicinal mushrooms.

If you haven't yet become familiar with Gail's writings, do yourself a favor and get to know her.
Pre-order the new book!
The first volume is equally brilliant.

Order Volume 1

I'm so glad to see her work back available to aspiring herbalists!

Sunday, December 22, 2019

REVIEW: Herbalism at Home

I was very lucky to receive an advance copy of Kristine Brown's new book, Herbalism at Home. Kristine's writing style has always been so enchanting that I was curious how that would come through in a book with a zillion bits of information confined in a specific number of pages.  The answer:  spectacularly!
To begin with, the book is beautifully designed.  A lot of people don't know this, but writers don't get a lot of input into things like the title, layout style, fonts, or even the illustrations.  Being a great illustrator for her own zine, it might have been difficult to let that control go, but they managed to capture Kristine's style. 

So what will you find on the 235 pages?  LOTS.  She starts out by explaining what herbal medicine is about and its benefits.  She proceeds to help the reader plan an herbal pantry and choose the tools and accoutrements required to make the preparations that will follow.
THEN come the herbs.  This is one of the most glorious and unique selections of herbs in any book of this sort that I've seen.

This is one of the beautiful "blank" pages.
Kristine chose herbs that many people who are just starting out might currently consider weeds.  She helps the reader realize that medicine is all around them if they just look around.  This has been one of my dearest goals for years, and it has been hers as well. 
I was thrilled to see black haw, black walnut, catnip, goldenrod, mugwort, prunella, wild lettuce, cleavers, poke, and yellow dock - all weeds full of good medicine.
125 remedies and recipes follow, for everything from allergies to warts - the kind of things we use herbs for at home.  Things we can made a difference with at home, like self-limiting illnesses, or even chronic illnesses that can benefit from herbal support.  It's truly a splendid volume full of recipes and herbal information that I know will come into use here even though I've been working with herbs for decades.  For the beginner, this is a gold mine.

The reader will feel like they know Kristine when they read this book, and isn't that how the best books are? 
HERBALISM at home, 125 Recipes for everyday health
Kristine Brown, RH(AHG)
ISBN: 978-1-64611-156-5  $19.95 US, $26.99 CAN
Release 1/7/2020. 
Pre-order HERE (Amazon)

Monday, December 16, 2019

January February 2020 Essential Herbal

The latest issue is in the mail!
Lots of articles full of dreaming, learning, trying new things, and recipes and remedies. 
Perfect for curling up with by the fire while enjoying a warm beverage.

Table of Contents:

Field Notes from the Editor, Tina Sams
What will we be doing in 2020?  Let’s grow like the plants.                           
The Awakening of the Seeds, Jen Frey
How can we relate our lives with the Celtic Goddess Brigid and Imbolc?
Garden Adventures - Garlic, Rebekah Bailey
Garlic turns up in a ditch on the new property.  Lots to learn here!              
Book Excerpt, Opening Our Wild Hearts to the Healing Herbs, Gail Faith Edwards
Gail’s newest book, will be out in early January. The excerpt discusses herbal tastes, and
the properties that go with them.                                                                                                                        
Femininitea, Tina Sams
A tea that goes from puberty to menopause, and beyond.                             
Summer Jellies to Warm Your Winter, Alicia Allen
Learn to make luscious herb jellies that bring summer right into winter.     
Weaving Memories, Mary Peterson
This basket was woven as the writer traveled around Ireland.                      
Gromwell, Sandy Michelsen
Lithospermum, lemonweed, or gromwell, with roots full of purpose.           
Herb Bread, Theresa F. Koch
A nice crusty and flavorful loaf.                                                                          
Lessons from Your Seed Catalogs, Kathy Musser
What information should you look for when shopping for seeds?               
Here’s to Hawthorn, Kristine Brown RH(AHG)
… or why we all need hawthorn trees.                                                              
Beauty of Making Your Own Medicine, Cathy Walker
What we put into our medicine and how much does it mean?                     
Winter Crafts for Families, Marcy Lautanen Raleigh
Some fun things to try including a bird feeder, scented stones, and a snack.        
Lavender & Tea Tree Soap, Marci Tsohonis
How to make this beautiful, fresh, clean bar.                                                   
White Pine Magick and Medicine, Angela Bowman
Mmmm… tea, syrup, massage oil, and salve from this tree that just might be in your living
room right now.    
Amish Chow Chow, Rita Richardson
How to make this pickled Amish delight.                                                           
Hello Herbies, Marci Tsohonis
The long road to gathering some local herb friends.                                       
Dreaming of a New Garden for 2020, Jackie Johnson                                
What sort of theme garden might you like to try this year?
Butterfly Pea Flower Tea, Tina Sams
This beautiful color changing tea has some interesting benefits.                
Meet the Contributors


Friday, November 29, 2019

Looking for something unusual?

Years ago, we were two sisters running an herb shop, and we really enjoyed making or finding things that were different and interesting for our customers.  It came in a close second to talking herbs with all of the people who came through our doors.
The first year or two of the magazine, that was the only thing on the website.  Then we started putting some books together, and there's Maryanne's soap company, and then all the things we love to mess around with...
Gradually, we've gathered some things that we love.  This is just a smattering.  There are tons of incenses, soaps, potions, and more.  We used to post every time we put something new in the shop, but haven't been doing that lately. 
OH!  And until midnight Tuesday (Dec 3, 2019) on the west coast, 3 am Weds on the east coast, there's an automatic 10% discount.  Sorry, we only ship physical goods within the U.S.   
Let me show you around a little!
   We made these as a special request.  After spending an inordinate amount of time running around gathering everything needed for the production, and realizing how cool they were, we decided to put a few up on the website.  They are Gelatinous Cubes with sets of Polyhedron dice inside.  For that D & D player on your list (or you)

We have 8 different sets that contain things like a bar of soap, a spritz, a lotion bar/solid perfume, and they're packaged in these cool jute bags.  On the site, there are pictures of the contents of each set.  There's something for almost everyone, and the price is right.   LINK
Blue Butterfly Pea tea is a very interesting brew.  It tastes a lot like green tea.  It is deep blue, and that color signals anthocyanins and antioxidants.  When lemon or lime is added to the tea, it turns vivid (!!!) purple.  It's beautiful, fun to drink, and just may have some health benefits.     LINK
This tea blend is something I created one day when I was just miserable.  Sad and frustrated, I couldn't get started.  Everything seemed like too much.  The Yerba Mate has a good bit of caffeine, and the other ingredients are thought to help soothe the heart and send anxiety and the black clouds away.             LINK
This process always fascinated me, to be able to use the sun to create negative prints of things like leaves and flowers.  It is just as cool as it seemed it would be.  We have some notecards, and some 8" x 8" pieces of cloth, but the t-shirts are really different.  Be an artist, conspiring with nature!              LINK
We have quite a few varieties of earrings that are made from very lightweight recycled wood.  They are so weightless, it's easy to forget they're even there - if it weren't for everyone commenting on them.            

This gorgeous lama bag is roomy!  It can be an everyday purse, or an overnight/weekend bag. 
We grow white sage in order to distill it here on the farm.  Some of the resulting essential oil was made into these solid anointing balms in beautiful carved soapstone jars.

These two pretty and unusual statement pieces are really interesting.  The lids are hinged, and they open, revealing a place to put some herbs, a secret note, a small picture, or whatever you'd like. 

These three books are sold separately or together (big savings) and they represent 10 years of the magazine.  Those magazines were pulled apart, made into chapters that are more like books themselves, and then carefully indexed. For someone looking for a thousand or so ways to enjoy herbs on the daily, this is the perfect threesome.

Gift Subscriptions are a breeze!  Put your name in the billing section, and the giftee's name and address in the shipping section.  We'll send them a card in the mail - so if you'd like us to include any message, put that in the notes.  They'll get a delicious buffet of herbal articles, crafts, medicine, and recipes every other month.  Heck, get one for yourself!
Hopefully you've gotten an idea of what kinds of things we gather (I think the current word is "curate") for you.  Have a look around!  Happy Holidays!


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