Golden Milk

“Herbs and spices promote well-being in your entire body, not just in one particular area.” – Dr. Mercola While in Sagaponeck, NY last weekend celebrating Grandma’s 85th birthday, my cousins and I stumbled upon a hidden gem down a small … Continue reading

Garlic Miso Dressing

I am a big fan of homemade salad dressings… They are usually super easy to make, taste delicious, and are free of harsh, unwanted ingredients that most store-bought dressings contain (you know, artificial sweeteners, preservatives, unhealthy oils, and other ingredients that are hard to pronounce).

I use my zesty dressing almost always, but last week decided to make something a little different.IMG_5317

You will need:

1/2 cup olive oil

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons white miso paste

1 large clove garlic (or 2 small)

1 tablespoon raw honey

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

This is the perfect dressing for almost any salad.  It has a light, sweet flavor with a little bit of bite, making it a real crowd pleaser.

Let me know what you think!

 

with love and well-dressed greens,

Amanda

Dry Brushing Your Way to Healthy Skin

When we think of caring for our body, we want to support and nurture it as best we can, both inside and out.  Last week I spoke of some ways to cleanse and support the body with foods this time of year, so this week I wanted to mention a wonderful way to love and care for your body from the outside.

Skin is our largest organ.  It helps to regulate our body temperature, prevents the entry of bacteria, plays a huge part in our sensory functions, and also is responsible for eliminating toxins in the body.  It is estimated that the skin secretes about 1 pound of toxins everyday!! Gross!  But also awesome… (Thank you skin!)  With all that it is responsible for and the fact that it covers our entire body, I think it is safe to assume that keeping our skin healthy should be a top priority.

There was a time in my life where CVS was one of my favorite places to shop, but as I have become more conscious of what I put IN my body, I have also learned the importance of what I put ON my body.  Consider that we are feeding ourselves through our skin.  Products are absorbed and ingested into the body just as if we were to sit down and enjoy a big bowl of them.  Realizing this has created shifts in my life, such as moving away from products found on most store shelves and onto techniques like dry brushing.dry brush

Dry brushing is a great way to support the health of your skin, ensuring that it is properly excreting waste and toxins through the pores while also keeping it smooth, bright and healthy.  Why purchase all those chemical laden exfoliators, lotions and oils when you can dry brush?  This technique also supports the lymphatic system, the immune system and the urinary system, and increases circulation, which in turn supports detoxification and drainage throughout the body.

So, how do you dry brush?  First you want to purchase a body brush online or in your local health food store.  Then, spend 5 minutes each morning before your shower or workout to brush your entire body.  The goal is to exfoliate the top layer of your skin, and this is done by GENTLY stroking each part of your body about 5 times.  Start at your feet and work up towards your heart with straight or circular strokes.  Then, start at your hands and work in towards your heart.  Use straight strokes over your arms, legs, back, etc… and circular strokes over your joints.  Brushes with long handles make it easier to brush your back.  And don’t forget those butt cheeks!

This is a gentle process and in no way should you be in pain.  While you brush your body, think loving thoughts, reflect on what is to come in your day, and simply love yourself.  This can be a beautiful time to treat your body and your mind to some real nourishment.

It is recommended to clean your brush once a week by soaking it in warm water with a splash of white vinegar for about 30 minutes.  Then, let it dry.  Dry brushing is always to be done with a dry brush on dry skin.

Over time, you may not need all those fancy lotions and oils anymore.  Dry brushing causes the skin to release natural oils, keeping it extra soft and not clogging up the pores the way most products do.  Remember, we want our pores to be able to breathe so they can properly detox bodily waste throughout the day.

To continue the release of toxins, alternate between warm and cold water in the shower.  This stimulates our blood circulation and  invigorates the skin, further encouraging the body’s natural elimination process.  You can also support the health of your skin by exercising and sweating regularly, staying properly hydrated, and eating the right foods (think healthy oils and fats).

Is dry brushing right for you?  The only way you’re going to know is if you try it out.  Happy dry brushing!

 

with love and radiant skin,

Amanda

Simple Sautéed Broccoli

I am a big fan of this veggie… Maybe because it brings back memories from my childhood, pretending to be a giant and eating trees. Maybe because I know how beneficial it is, full of vitamins, antioxidants and fiber. Probably because it is priced reasonably and super easy to cook. Definitely because it can be thrown on top of, mixed in with, or served as a side dish with SO MANY different meals.

Although I include broccoli into many different dishes, this way is one of my favorites. I always get complimented on this dish, and it is so easy… really.

Start with a head (or 2) of broccoli, depending how many people (or pets) you are making it for. Using a sharp knife, chop off the very bottom part of the stem because it is usually very tough and fibrous. If you want, you can save this for juicing.

Using a smaller knife or a veggie peeler, begin to cut away the tough, outer layer of the “trunk” along with any of the small branches until you see the lighter green, tender interior.
peeling stemSeparate the crown of the broccoli from the stem.

Slicing the stem in half, and then lengthwise a few times, usually leaves you with the perfect size pieces. A lot of people discard the stem, not aware that it is just as tender and tasty as the florets.

Cut into the crown lengthwise, using the small stems as guidelines. Personally, I like to leave it in bigger pieces, but feel free to chop it as small as you like.florets

Put all of your pieces into a pan with just enough water to cover the bottom of the pan. Cover, and turn the heat on high. Once the water begins to boil, let the broccoli cook for just a few minutes. You want it to be cooked through, but still bright green and crispy. Strain the water and top with a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper. That’s it!

Steaming the broccoli in water reduces the amount of oil used in the usual sautéing process, which cuts down on fat and calories.  Cooking the broccoli for just a few minutes still leaves it alive and tender, not mushy and puke green (like we all have witnessed once or twice in our lives).

This cooking method keeps  the broccoli great in the fridge for a few days, so feel free to cook up some extra.  Chop it up and throw it into a soup, mix it in with your omelet, or simply re-heat it over the stove.

Like always, there are optional toppings. I have used spirulina, hemp seeds, garlic salt, sesame seeds, nutritional yeast, fresh grated garlic, turmeric, red pepper flake, melted parmesan… you get the idea. But even without these extras, this freshly cooked broccoli is delicious!

If you prefer eating your broccoli raw, try out this raw broccoli dish that was featured on kriscarr.com.

As always, thanks for checking in… and keep eating those veggies!

with love and edible trees,

Amanda

Honey, Onion and Garlic Syrup… The Perfect Remedy.

This past weekend, I celebrated my 30th bday… I was so very fortunate to have 2 of my longest, dearest friends come to FL to spend it with me.  We camped, we cooked, we drank some wine, and we didn’t get much sleep.  It was a blast, but left me feeling a little worn down once the weekend was over.

For me, when my immune system is low, I feel it first in my throat.  Slightly swollen glands and a sore throat are the first signs that I need to give some serious care and love to my body.  So that is what I did.

honey onion syrup

I learned about this medicinal honey syrup through Rosemary Gladstar, whom you may of heard me mention before.  She is a goddess in the herbal community, and has done so much to keep the practice of herbalism alive and well.

She refers to this as her “honey onion syrup”.  It is a great remedy for colds, flus, sore throats and coughs and is extremely easy to make.  I had my first experience with this syrup over these past few days, and I loved it so much that I needed to share it with you.

I added garlic cloves to my batch because I wanted the extra immune support, but feel free to leave it out if you don’t have it around or aren’t crazy about the flavor.

You will need:

½ an onion, sliced into half moons

4-5 cloves garlic, smashed

Raw, unfiltered honey (enough to cover the onions and garlic)

In a pot, place your onions and smashed garlic cloves.honey onion syrup in pot

Pour in the honey until the onions and garlic are covered.  They do not need to be submerged, but you want enough honey so that the onions can cook down a bit.

Place the pot over a very low heat and cook for 30-60 minutes.  When the onions and garlic soften, and the honey becomes more liquefied, you know that your syrup is ready.

*Note: heating this syrup over a very low heat is important because you want the honey to remain in its raw form.  This provides our body with the natural occurring enzymes that are in raw, preferably local honey.

As the honey heats up, it slowly extracts all of the healing properties from the onion and the garlic, making it super medicinal and healing, the perfect remedy for a sore throat, cough, or a run down immune system.

Enjoy this syrup throughout the day.  Eat it as is or mix it in with some hot water and drink it as a tea.  I was consuming about a tablespoon every few hours, sometimes more and sometimes less.  There is a lot of freedom with this medicine, so enjoy it.  I left the onion and garlic pieces in my syrup, but if you prefer to have just the honey, simply strain the syrup through a fine mesh strainer.  Store it in a jar in your fridge and use it freely.

The best part?  You don’t need to be sick to enjoy this syrup.  The medicinal qualities in garlic and onions can benefit our bodies at any time, and we can’t really have too much of them… so enjoy!

Rosemary also suggests adding some cayenne or fresh grated ginger to change up the flavor or to add different benefits.  Play around… This is a recipe you really can’t mess up.

with love and sweet honey,

Amanda

Creating “Right Relationship”

We are surrounded by relationships.  Our partner, our parents, our friends, our family, even “Paul” who works at the gas station.  All are part of a community web that we create.  We are constantly forming new relationships, managing the ones we have, and sometimes letting go of the ones that are no longer serving us.  Relationships can carry us through many emotions.  Many, many emotions.

So what is the right relationship?IMG_4086

Last Saturday, I attended my first sweat lodge.  Never having experienced one before, I was amazed by each element that created this night.  I followed the movements of others and listened closely as we repeated mantras and prayers that have been passed down over many, many generations.

The sweat lodge was referred to as the womb, a sacred place of magic, spirit and birth.  Envision a dome shaped wood frame covered in heavy blankets; such thick-layered blankets that all of the light from the outside was shut out, and all of the heat was kept in.  And all of us (about twenty) healed and released in this heat.

There were many words spoken that night, words of intention, gratitude, healing, love, spirit, but there were a few words that stuck with me long after I had left that magical place.  “Be in right relationship”.

When I first heard this said that night, I thought of the people who are in my life, the ones who have been in my life for a long time and the ones who I am just getting to know.  I thought about how grateful I am for these relationships and for all that they provide me with.

When I heard “get into right relationship”, I thought about some of the changes that I want to make in my own life, resentments that I want to let go of and judgments that are not serving a positive purpose.

“When you put love into any relationship, there is no room for anything else.  There is no room for hate, for judgements, for war.”

Whoa.  This was the answer to how I would release these judgments and resentments that were only causing harm.  By putting love into any situation, there is no room for anything but love.  Of course, putting this into practice can be extremely challenging at times, but with love, all can be healed.  At times of great frustration or fear, this is the perfect thought to come back to.

“Get into right relationship with yourself”.

After all of this time sitting here and thinking about everyone in my life, I had totally forgotten about myself.  How do I talk to myself each day?  How am I treating myself?  Am I putting love into every encounter with my own existence?  How is my relationship with ME?  How can one have a healthy relationship with someone else while living an un-loving relationship with the self?  This was something that needed to go up on the vision board (and it did).  I need this reminder.  Sometimes we get so caught up in the struggles with others, with events, with daily stressors, that we forget to create and practice love for ourselves; our own body, mind and spirit.

Since last Saturday night, these words have been playing like a record in my head.  “Get in right relationship”

What does this mean for you?  What relationships in your life need tending to?

In my opinion, this work is never complete, but by practicing daily with small steps, you can teach yourself to put love into all aspects of life.  What will you do today?

with extra love,

Amanda