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

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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

Kelp, the new salt.

Sooo… kelp? Huh?  I get that a lot.

Kelp is a vegetable of the sea (aka a seaweed) that grows in the oceans living off sunlight and absorbing many of the minerals and nutrients that exist in the water around it.  Due to this natural process of absorption, these essential minerals and nutrients are easily assimilated into the body in this natural form (no scientists needed).

There are many reasons to include kelp in your regular eating cycles, but one of the most important reasons is because of its high levels of iodine.  Iodine is an essential mineral and is necessary for proper thyroid function, however most salts are stripped of this natural mineral in the manufacturing process or contain synthetic versions of it, leaving many of us at risk of deficiency.

The thyroid is responsible for many functions in the body, 2 of which are regulating our metabolism and keeping our body temperature in check.  Using kelp in your food is a great way to ensure that you are getting a healthy dose of iodine (as well as calcium, iron, potassium, and some B vitamins) and reducing the risk of improper thyroid function and iodine deficiency. kelp

Luckily, you don’t really have to learn how to incorporate seaweed into your favorite pasta dishes and veggies (although I do encourage it).  Kelp is available in a granulated form and can be sprinkled on top of food just as you would with salt.  Because it is from the sea, it shares a similar seasoning flavor to salt, and you can use kelp flakes instead of salt or right along with it.

So easy, right?  I had a feeling you were gonna like this post…

Find these easy to use kelp granules in a shaker at your local health food store or online.

 

with love and seaweed,

Amanda

The Power of Accountability

The morning is such a beautiful time; we open our eyes to a new day, show gratitude for all that surrounds us, and move forward with love and good intentions (I mean, that’s the ideal plan, right?).  We all know that life can sometimes get in the way of our well being, so it is extremely important to make time for the things that deeply nourish you, making all of the other “stuff” (stress, work, bills, time) more manageable.

For me, I knew that I needed a better spiritual practice in the morning.  I have had the hot lemon water and green smoothie thing down for well over a year, but there was something missing.  I wanted (needed) to take some time in the morning to do things that made me feel fulfilled, happy.

I am a firm believer in “how you live your mornings is how you live your day”, so for the past 7 weeks, I have developed and practiced a morning routine.  I gave myself some options, and I made a promise that I would do my best to practice at least 2 of these things at the start of every day.

You may remember the post I shared when I was just starting this adventure… So here is how my calendar looks now:

calendar completed

I have to say, I am really proud of myself.

Yes, there are a few blank days, and yes, some mornings I only did one of the practices, but why focus on that?  That is why it’s called a practice, right?  Because we are practicing it, working on integrating it into our life.  It’s not always going to look perfect, and it definitely isn’t always going to feel perfect, but we make the time anyway because we know that it is benefitting us on a deeper level.

Over these past 47 days, I have again learned the power of accountability.  Some mornings, it was a real struggle for me to sit and meditate for 10 minutes when all I wanted to do was get on the computer, turn on some music and check my email… But then I would think of today, the day that I would be sharing a picture of my calendar with you, and that was my motivation.  And of course after my 10 minutes of meditation (or whichever practice I decided on that morning) I felt wonderful, and was so grateful that I took the time for myself.

So thank you for keeping me accountable.

Accountability is one of the strongest ingredients in successful health coaching, and I share it with you because I want to motivate you to commit to something you have been thinking about, something that makes your insides sparkle.  Hang a homemade calendar on your wall to keep track of your progress, find a friend that has something he/she wants to commit to as well and do it together, write about it on your blog, share it with someone you love and ask them to check in with you every day about it… Find something that works for you and do it!  And don’t be scared of error, embrace it, learn from it.IMG_4008

Moving forward, I am feeling more confident and stable in my morning routine.  I now know that in order to feel grounded and balanced in my day, I need to take some time in the morning to journal, practice yoga, meditate, read, stretch, or post a inspirational quote.  I may even make another calendar to help.

I would love to hear the ways you have, or are planning to, keep yourself accountable, and what it is that you want to add more of to your life.

with love and gratitude,

Amanda

Spiced Scrambled Tofu

I’ve had scrambled tofu before but never tried to make it myself. After coming home from work the other night, I wanted to throw something together quickly, so decided to experiment with a little scrambled tofu. I was inspired by the chili seasoning that Amanda incorporated into her simple black beans recipe the other day, and had picked some up at the store so I had it on hand. Although scrambled tofu is mostly served for breakfast in place of eggs, I though it’d be nice to spice it up a bit to make it a little more savory and appealing for dinner.

Tofu is a great source of protein and iron. What I love about it is that due to it’s neutral flavor it’s very versatile and can be seasoned in so many different ways.scrambledtofu Since it’s so easy and fast  to cook up it’s a great staple to have in your fridge.

Serves 2

Ingredients:

7-8oz of extra firm organic tofu, crumbled*
1/2 yellow onion (or 1 small), chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon of olive oil
2 cups chopped kale
1 1/2 tablespoons of vegetarian chili spice mix
1/4 cup chopped parsley
sea salt, to taste

To crumble the tofu, first drain it and then use a couple of paper towels to squeeze out any excess liquid. Then crumble the tofu into bit sized pieces. Set aside.

Heat olive oil on medium heat in a skillet. Add in onions and garlic and saute for a few minutes until the onions soften and become translucent. Add in chili mix and stir into the onions and garlic. Add the crumbled tofu and stir. Cover for about 4 to 5 minutes until it’s heated throughout. Add in the kale and salt and stir for about a minute until the kale starts to wilt. Taste it, if you feel you’d like some more flavor add in a bit more seasoning and a bit of salt, continue to do this until the flavor has popped to your liking!

I had this with some arugula salad and a delicious piece of spelt bread. As I mentioned, tofu really takes on the flavor of whatever you mix it with so feel free to experiment with flavors (seasoning, herbs, sauces, etc)  you like!

with love and tofu,

jackie

*It’s important that you make sure to buy organic tofu, this ensures that your tofu will not be made from genetically modified soybeans.

Parsnip Carrot Coconut Soup

I had some parsnips in the fridge that I purchased at the farmers market a couple of weeks back and knew I had to use them soon before they went bad …. since it’s about 20 degrees in New York, I figured what better way to use them then to make soup?! I decided to do a little experiment and combine some other ingredients I had on hand to make a tasty little pureed soup. Root vegetables are in season this time of year; parsnips, carrots, turnips, beets, etc…. they are all super healthy and great for roasting and soup making.

Serves 2parsnipsouping
Ingredients:
2 parsnips, peeled and sliced
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 teaspoon of coconut oil
3/4 cup of vegetable broth
1 can of light coconut milk (regular coconut milk is great too)
sea salt and white pepper to taste

In a soup pot, melt the coconut oil over medium-high heat and then add in the chopped onions. Add a bit of salt and pepper and stir.  Saute the onions for a few minutes, stirring frequently until they begin to soften and become translucent. Then add the carrots and parsnips, stir thoroughly so that they are coated with coconut oil. Stir frequently until the parsnips and carrots start to soften a bit,  about 10 to 15 minutes. Add the vegetable broth and coconut broth and bring to a boil. Add in a bit more salt and pepper. Then cover and simmer on low for about 35 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are very soft. Transfer to a blender and blend until pureed.
I garnished it with a bit of parsley, because I had it and it looked pretty 🙂 … chives or spring onions would be great too.

This soup is definitely of the sweeter variety, so if you love soups like butternut squash I think you’ll love this!
ParsnipSoup

with love and soup making,

jackie

Simple Black Beans

Ok, so I love this recipe… Its simple, tasty, and you can put these beans over pretty much anything.

You will need:

black beans over taco salad

1 can black beans, including liquid

1 clove garlic, minced

½ sweet onion, diced

¼ red pepper, diced

1 teaspoon turmeric

1-2 tablespoons veggie taco seasoning (for extra flavor)

Olive oil

Place the garlic and olive oil in a pan over low heat until garlic begins to brown.  Add the diced pepper, followed by the diced onion a few minutes after (pepper takes a little longer to cook through).

After a few minutes, when everything is really aromatic and soft, add the can of beans along with ½ cup water, and seasoning.

Continue to cook this over a low heat until most of the liquid is evaporated and has a thicker consistency, usually about 20-30 minutes.

You can enjoy these beans over some brown rice, incorporate them into a taco salad (pictured above), or eat them alone.  They will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days, allowing you to enjoy them a few different ways at a few different meals.

eden organic black beansBeans are packed with fiber, soluble and insoluble, and are also a complete protein.  They will keep you full for an extended period of time, provide you with extended energy, and all of their fiber will keep your digestive tract running smooth.  When purchasing canned beans, my favorite brand is Eden’s Organic.  They use organic beans, don’t add any salt, and are packaged with kombu seaweed, which is used to ease and prevent any digestive issues that can sometimes arise when eating beans.

with love and bean eatin’,

Amanda

Learning to Read Ingredient Labels

Shopping at the grocery store can sometimes be a stressful event.  When you are changing around your diet and learning to choose different, healthier, foods, it can get confusing as to which product to choose.  A tip that I looove, suggested by Michael Pollan, is to stay on the perimeter of the grocery store.  This is where you will find most of your whole foods, leaving the overly processed stuff towards the center of the store.

Choosing foods without labels is ideal because they are usually the foods that have been picked out of the ground and placed on the shelves.  But we all know that sometimes there isn’t time for preparation of those bright leafy greens and gorgeous avocados when we are on the go.  Below are 10 tips that have helped me navigate the world of misleading labels and harmful ingredients, and are a good starting place for shopping in your local grocery store.

ingredients

(Avoid products with a list similar to this)

1. How long is the ingredient list?  Longer ingredient lists are usually a quick way to identify a more processed food, and they usually contain items that you are unable to pronounce and have never heard of before.  Stick with a shorter list of ingredients with items that you recognize.

2. What are the first 3 ingredients?  The first 3 ingredients listed make up the majority of the product, and therefore are what you are primarily eating.  For example, if you are purchasing strawberry jelly, you would want the first ingredient to be strawberries, not sugar.

3. Is sugar on that list?  There are many ways that producers like to hide artificial sweeteners in your foods, and there are many names for sugar. Learn what they are so you are able to identify them. They include sucrose, fructose, glucose solids, barley malt, corn syrup solids, dehydrated cane juice, cane juice, refiner’s syrup, maltodextrin, caramel, fruit juice, dextrose, and many others. Also, check if there is more than one source of sweetener. Many producers use more than one to avoid listing a sweetener in their top 3 ingredients. 4-5 grams of sugar is equivalent to a level teaspoon.

4. Look for the word “whole”.  This word should appear in the first or second ingredient, whether it is whole wheat, rye, oats, or another grain. This ensures that you are getting the grain in whole form rather than over-processed and stripped of all its nutritional value. Whole grains should provide at least 3g of fiber per serving, possibly more.

5. High fructose corn syrup.  Whether this ingredient is as harmful as everyone says it is (there have been studies to support both sides), it’s presence is still a great indicator of a highly processed food, one that you probably want to stay away from.

(a safe ingredient list... Food Is Life ezekiel bread)

(a safe ingredient list… Food Is Life ezekiel bread)

6. Healthier sweeteners.  Honey, maple syrup, stevia, blackstrap molasses, unrefined coconut palm sugar, and date sugar are among some of the healthier options for household and product sweeteners.

7. Avoid artificial colors and flavors.  These are chemicals and are linked to a slew of behavior and health problems.  It may also be listed as  “(color) dye # (number).”

8. Watch out for trans fats.  No amounts of trans fats are considered safe. This processed ingredient is associated with raising LDL (bad) cholesterol and increased risk of heart disease and diabetes. Foods can call themselves “trans-fat free” even if they contain up to half a gram of trans fats per serving. Look on the ingredients list. If a food contains hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils, it contains trans fats.

9. Can you pronounce all of the ingredients?  If great grandmother didn’t have these ingredients in her kitchen to bake/cook with, why should they be in your food?

10. Most importantly, know that everyday can’t be perfect.  This is a guide to help you navigate the crazy world of packaged foods.  Trying your best is a step in the right direction. When you use these guidelines most of the time, you will be doing wonderful things for you and your loved ones, and you will be teaching your body to enjoy healthier foods.

 

I hope that some of these tips can help you in your shopping experience.  If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask!

 

with love and healthy choices,

Amanda

Hemp Dijon Salad Dressing

hempdressingingredientsThe salad dressing aisle at supermarkets is a crazy place , there are an insane amount of options and truth be told none of them are as good a choice as making your own at home. Many of them use cheap, unhealthy ingredients (such as cheap oils) and add unnecessary sugars and sweeteners. Making your own can be really simple and take your salad to a whole new level of health (who doesn’t want that?!). I chose to use hemp oil as my base here because of its many benefits (plus it’s a pretty cool green color 🙂 ). You can certainly switch it out with quality olive oil if that’s what’s available to you.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup of hemp oil
1/4 cup of raw apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, minced

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until thoroughly mixed. Use over salads or mix some in with cooked grains such as quinoa for added flavor.

hempsaladdressing

with love and healthy salad dressing,

Jackie