Winter. The season of rest and contemplation. At time when most plant life naps as the cold air intensifies.
Last winter we had an ice storm. It broke my heart to see what the trees had to endure. I would peek outside and an eery silence would be broken with a crash of a fallen branch that could not endure the weight of the thick ice. However, although we lost some of our berries and nuts on our land because of the ice storm, most of the plants stand strong.
Sometimes our lives are smooth sailing and then something may occur to disrupt that momentum. In the winter, humans typically battle colds, infuenza, respiratory issues as well as sore joints or chronic cold body that cannot seem to stay warm.
Herbal preventatives are often employed during this season by those of us that love the plants. My herbal friends and I will be sharing with you a variety of things we live out in the winter to bring good cheer, warm the body, nourish and feed, or treat winter illness. Please enjoy our December blog party simply called
I will begin with a simple recipe anyone can create especially if you are armed with a food processor. I create in my kitchen and usually do not know parts so please bear with me on some of this. You and your family will enjoy this.
We will call this recipe
Throw in a handful or 2 of pitted dates
A handful of dried berries such as Goji, Bilberry or even Elder berry
A couple of handfuls of organic rolled oats
You are seeking a consistency sticky enough to roll little balls out of the dough without it being too sticky.
These are good just as they are but there are many ways to vary this to create something medicinal
If immune support or strengthening is needed, I may add powdered schizandra, elecampane, rose hips, astragulus, etc...
You can see how variable this recipe can be tempered to what you need in your life at the time.
We often add extra fun things like sesame seeds, coconut, pumpkin seeds or nuts.
Cold Weather Soup
One thing about the way I work in my kitchen is very undocumented.
I am a mother to 7 children and have basically struggled each month to make ends meet my entire adult life.
The blessing in this stressful condition is that our family has learned to use everything we possibly can in order to survive.
One year we lived on raw milk and the products I made from it and eggs. Our family farm friends gave us a month credit, we would pay when my husband got paid. It was tough, but we were healthy.
So, once again, I will share the basics with you of what I do and you have the power to create this soup "your way".
I save our chicken bones, turkey carcass and beef bones. If not using soon I freeze.
When I am ready to use the bones, I bring them to boil in filtered water.
I am told adding vinegar to the pot helps bring out more nutriton from the bones. I have never done this and maybe I should. What I do is cook all day long early on until late.
I like to add garlic and spices toward the end of cooking if I will use the broth immediately. I sometimes add astragulus tongues or echinacea root too.
Strain the bones and fat from the stock and allow to cool if refrigerating or freezing.
If it is cold outside I cover my pan and let nature be my refrigerator until it is time to create the soup.
So once your stock is strained and ready to go, then create a soup with either what you have or what you need.
Typical ideas might be sauteeing onion and garlic and adding them to the pot.
Chopping carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, potato, green beans, collards, mustards or kale, you name it.
Then to add something to really fill your belly, try brown rice, lentils or barley. 1 cup to a large potful is good.
This meal can last several days and fill the family up at the same time. With cheese toast or cornbread on the side it is fabulous. Nutritious. And not very expensive at all.
We like meat in our household so this has it. You can always onit what I suggest if you have a different eating style.
This is just a quicky recipe for busy days. My friend Julie from Louisiana gave me this recipe years ago and I am greatful for it when my family needs a warm chili and I am super busy.
1-2 # ground meat
1 1/2 Tbsp Chili Powder
1 tbsp Cumin Powder
1 large chopped onion
3 cans of tomato soup
2 cans filtered water
3 cans pinto beans
2 dashes of tobasco or so
Fry meat with onion until done with garlic powder to taste (we use a few shakes)
Add Chili Powder and Cumin;Fry for 15 minutes
Add soup and beans and water. Bring to boil, then add jalepeno and tabasco.
Simmer 2-3 hours or until desired thickness is accomplished.
My friend Michelle shares this recipe with me
Cheesy Corn Chowder
Combine and cook til tender
2 cups water
2 cups chopped potatoes
1/2 cup carrots
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup sliced celery
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup unbleached flour and set aside
2 cups milk to flour and butter mixture. Take a bit of the warm soup and add to this mixture and mix. Then add this to the soup pot witht he veggies and water broth.
1 cup grated cheese and 16 ish oz can of whole corn and add to soup pot of water and veggies. Heat.
Another family favorite is Greens
We had our eyes opened to all kinds of greens while living in Northern Florida which is really still deep south there. Alot of African Americans still living there and the tradition of food there is astounding.
White people really need to thank the black folks for all they have brought to our people, including music and food. The spirit of this culture is strong regardless of the suffering they have endured. They know good healthy food too, I tell ya.
Greens are made in this area of the country by taking pork or beef bones and making a good strong broth. I like using ham hocks, but some use salt pork and some use beef bones. Cook the bones all day just like the above mentioned soup recipe. You want the nourishment from the bones as well as that flavor that marries the greens just right.
Wash your greens really well. In Arkansas we have little soil left in the greens but in Florida you will have to change your water at least 7 times to get the gritty sand off the leaves. Any grit will take away from the delicious experience, lol, so you will want to be SURE they are free of dirt. Usually filling a clean dish pan with water and washing the leaves with your hands, then draining is pretty good way to accomplish this. Doing it over and over.
Once clean and your broth ready, add your greens to the broth and cook low for a good long time.
We lived on Collards in Florida with HUGE bundles that grew together. Here in Arkansas, Kale, Mustards and Turnips are more popular.
Once your greens are tender, sit down and enjoy.
No kidding, LIFE will be felt down to your bones upon your first spoonful of greens.
A few shakes of peppered vinegar adds great flavor too.
This is contributed by my mama friend Renee
1 TBSP Olive Oil
12 cloves fresh garlic plus another head of garlic
2 large onions
1/4 tsp dried thyme or 1 tsp fresh
2 cups chicken broth
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1 TBSP fresh Basil
Sea salt (or regular salt)
1. Roast a head of garlic.
2. While the garlic is roasting. Peel and thinly slice your onions. Then peel and thinly slice your garlic cloves. Pound the cloves with the side of a large knife to more easily remove the peel.
3. Add garlic and onion to a large saucepan with oil. Cover and saute for about 25 minutes on low, or until they are cooked through and almost translucent.
4. Put the cooked onion and garlic into a blender with 1/2 cup of the chicken broth and the thyme. Puree.
5. Put puree back into saucepan. Add remaining 1 1/2 cups chicken broth. Simmer for 20 minutes.
6. Stir in cayenne, basil and salt to taste. More is better Heat 2 more minutes.
7. Enjoy with crusty bread and maybe top with some cheese or add in some veggies.
I would like to leave you with this herbal tea recipe. We do not get as many fresh vegetables in the cold months and depend on fats, meats, and storage vegetables and tubers for our food more in this season.
Some folksjust might not feel like they are digesting properly eating this way for an extended period of time. Coupled with shorter days and cabin fever, depression might try to creep in.
I have used this safe herbal tea formula to treat these symptoms with great success.
The addition of grated ginger and a small cinnamon stock also adds warmth to the body.
Add filtered water to a quart saucepan. Then add a small handful of milk thistle seeds, small handful of dandelion root and small handful of burdock root. Add cinnamon stock and put a lid on and simmer 20 minutes or so. Add your grated ginger and allow to steep ten minutes or so. Strain and drink.
Once when having some depression related to digestion, I was completely revived of the emotional symptoms after the first cup. Give it a try~
Please enjoy the contributions by these wonderful herbalist friends and study their blogs. These that have contributed are passionate about food, nutrition, and herbal living and I guarantee you will learn a thing or two from each one.
May your winter find you healthy and happy as you explore these wonderful ideas people
Darcey of Gaia's Gift
Hetta of Henriette's Herbal
Rebecca of Crabapple Herbs
Dancing in a Field of Tansy, with Tansy of course:)
Kiva of Medicine Womans Root's
May I also suggest this Butternut Miso soup with Ginger, Broccoli and Tahini on Kiva Rose's blog. I made this a week ago when I was not feeling so well and it really perked me up and gave me strength to get through the day. I was fortunate to have about everything in my pantry.Butternut Miso soup with Ginger, Broccoli and Tahini