Tuber Tonic

Farmers Market Blend Beginnings January 23 2015

I began making Farmers Market Blend tea many years ago when I actually went to the local Farmers Market to sell my tea. The rules there were that vendors could only sell those things that they grew. So I made a blend out of herbs and flowers that grew in my yard.

I have a great profusion of Lemon Balm and many kinds of mint growing in my yard, and I love roses, especially the fragrant ones, so that became the base of my homegrown tea. I bought a dehydrator, and dried the flowers and herbs as I picked them.

The tea was a combination of Lemon Balm, Mint, Raspberry Leaves, Blackberry Leaves, Nettle Leaves, Pineapple Sage and Stevia Leaf. I would pick those herbs that grew best according to the time of year, and dehydrated them. Then I mixed the herbs together and added whatever flowers I had.

There are lots of colorful, edible flowers beside roses that grow in profusion at different times of year. We have Roses, Calendula, Viola, Pansies, Fuchsias, Nasturtiums, Lavender and Honeysuckle to name a few.

The Herbal Infusion was always different, always delicious and always beautiful. It became quite popular. Then I realized that I was having trouble keeping up with demand, and there seemed to be no way I could make enough tea to keep for winter and early spring. So I made a blend that included not only those herbs and flowers that I could grow, but a number of ingredients that I could buy organically and knew to be especially healthy. That blend, and the healthy aspect of those ingredients will be the subject of another blog.

It's fun to think about how some of the Mendocino Tea Company's blends came into being.

Homemade Winter Herbal Infusions January 03 2015

We live in the Pacific Northwest, so these ideas for homegrown infusions will mostly work for our area, but they can give you ideas about what you can grow, or gather, wherever you are for the future. The best way to have delicious infusion materials available is to gather herbs and flowers that appeal to you all year long and dehydrate them, pack them in jars and store them in a dark, cool, dry place or you can reuse the black bags that our tea comes in, and just store them in a cool place.

Since it is winter now, I will concentrate on things that can be gathered and used today. Try:
Fir Needles
Lemon Balm
Blackberry Leaves
Strawberry Leaves
Candy Cap Mushrooms
Calendula Flowers
Mint or Sage

I even found some Roses, but I know it's something special and unusual this time of year. Rose Petals are always wonderful in herbal infusions, they add color and flavor.

Once you gather these things, you can make your infusions with the fresh herbs, or dehydrate them and keep them for later. If you can, I recommend that you use a dehydrator, but if not, you can try putting in the oven at the lowest setting for a short period of time spread out on a cookie sheet.

Happy Blending!

Don't Diet, Start Anew December 30 2014

Yes, I put some weight on over the holidays, too, but I want you to consider that it is a First World problem, and one that we can work with without compromising our health. Dieting can often cause you to gain more weight in the long run, because your body will become convinced that it is starving, and will hang onto each calorie in a most efficient way, which will mean that when you go back to regular eating, you will put the weight that you lost back on, plus some.

Try cutting back on desserts first, just a little each day, and be mindful of every bite, so that you can really enjoy it. If you are paying attention to the fact that you are eating, you will automatically eat less. Use tea (Wuyi Oolong is good) to help boost your energy and curb your appetite. Have tea and just a nibble of something great for your break instead of a whole piece of a baked goodie. Find someone who might want to share your goodie with you. As we move toward spring, the desire for baked good and sweets will automatically fall away if you are paying attention.

Think of yourself in a loving way, and remember that you put that extra weight on to help stave off the winter cold, not because you are a bad person. Starting a New Year out by beating yourself up is probably a bad idea, so listen to your body, and whenever it wants vegetables, go for it. Buy yourself a new juicer for the New Year and juice up green vegetables and fresh fruit once a day. Be sure and use organic fruits and vegetables. Drinking a big glass of juice with chia seeds added is a great way to start your day, and will automatically curb your appetite for the rest of the day.

I have just gotten a new slow cooker, and am making soups in the morning to enjoy for dinner. It's easier to prepare healthy food in the morning and soup feels like just the right thing on a cold evening. If you have that juicer, you can add some vegetable juice to that soup to boost your vitamin content. Keep thinking about boosting your body's health by putting as many vitamins and minerals in it as you can, and you can't go wrong.

Instead of dessert, have a cup of herbal tea, with a big spoon of honey. You will satisfy your sweet tooth, and you will have put some nutrients and healthy herbs and spices in your body. You will also sleep better having had a cup of herbal tea than you will having had a rich dessert.
I write a lot of these things so I will remember them, too. Healthy feels better than anything and looks better too!