Flor-Essence or Essiac medicinal tea: instructions for making

By Cat, May 25, 2017

Another name for this tea is Essiac; it is also available commercially, but I buy a similar herb mix at Swan Valley Herbs in Bigfork, and make my own tea at home. The method is a bit tedious. Like most herbal medicine, the use of this tea is controversial, but I have found it is very good for detoxing and boosting my immune system.

The ingredients in the commercially-made version are (3):

A proprietary blend from aqueous extracts of
certified organic burdock root, certified organic sheep sorrel herb, slippery elm bark, watercress herb, certified organic Turkish rhubarb (Rheum officinale) root, certified organic blessed thistle herb, certified organic red clover blossom

See also: 1. Healing Herbs, Oils and Remedies Menu Continue reading

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Chinese Herbal Teas: Instructions for making

By Cat, May 25, 2017

These instructions are from the Aurora Benevolent Healing Center, Bernie Bayard, ND., L. Ac. in Portland OR. I have not been to that office since 2008, so not sure it is still in business; the last address I had was 1238 NW Glisan St, C, Portland, OR.

Now I live in Montana,  so likely will not get another Chinese herbal tea from Dr. Bayard; however, the method is the same no matter where you get the tea. The dosage may be different, so follow what your practitioner recommends.

See also: 1. Healing Herbs, Oils and Remedies Menu

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Mugwort Tea from Swan Valley Herbs

Fennel seed

by Cat, May 25, 2017 (Image, right, from Wikimedia Commons)

Swan Valley Herbs is an old-fashioned apothecary shop specializing in dried herbs, tinctures and salves, owned by Tom Tracey in Bigfork MT (1). I’ve been using this herbal mix – one of their biggest sellers – for about 10 years, to keep my candida overgrowth under control. Its flavor is a bit off-putting until you get used to it, and now I actually like it. The ingredients include the following dried herbs:

  • Mugwort,
  • Pau D’Arco,
  • Slippery elm, and
  • Fennel seeds.

It’s the latter’s licorice flavor that overrides the off-putting flavors of the others, as you get used to it. I include the instructions to brew the tea (about 5 cups worth), below.

See also: 1. Healing Herbs, Oils and Remedies Menu Continue reading

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Picking wild berries

Huckleberries in the Wild

By Cat, May 9, 2017 (Photo, right, by D. Morgan, used with permission)

This post was originally written for our local sustainability group’s website: The EssentiaList, of which I am the chief writer and editor. I’m made a few changes for this blog.

Hey, all you Montana huckleberry pickers out there – or those who pick other native berries such as serviceberries (also called June berries or Saskatoons), choke cherries, etc. – this is for you. Of course, all those who have picked for their own use for years probably already know this, but to those who pick for profit or are new to our area:

Don’t be greedy! Leave some berries on the bush for the bears and birds, so they can spread the seeds throughout the area to ensure the berries are there for future generations. You might think everyone knows this, but think again.

See also: 1. Foods (About) Menu

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Health benefits of cheese

Stilton Cheese

By Cat, May 8, 2016 (Photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)

When I was a kid, I didn’t like cheese, probably because what they served in the 1950s grade-school lunchroom was Velveta. But as an adult, I’ve learned to love cheeses of all stripes and flavors. My favorites are gorgonzola and brie, though Stilton (pictured, right) and gruyere are also high on the list.

Dairy has gotten a bad rap in the last 30 years, primarily because so many people have allergy or food sensitivity reactions to ultra-pasteurized milk. People don’t realize that raw and/or cultured milk does not produce the same reactions (see my posts: Why Pasteurize Milk? and Raw Milk: A Real, Natural & Perfect Food for more).

  • Raw milk’s proteins are whole and natural – not denatured as they are after pasteurization.
  • Culturing milk – as for yogurt, kefir or cheese – partially breaks down the proteins to a natural (non-denatured) condition; plus it increases the levels of vitamin K2, especially in cheeses like Gouda, Brie and Edam.

See also: 1. Foods (About) Menu, under Dairy; 2. Milk & Culturing of Milk (About)

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Potatoes (About)

Russet Potatoes

By Cat, May 3, 2017 (Photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)

True potatoes (as opposed to sweet potatoes or yams, are members of the nightshade (Solanaceae) family, and come in many colors of peel, and some, like the purple potato may also have colored meat (giving them greater antioxidant content, due to anthocyanins that produce the purple pigment). They are delicious cooked in many different ways, of which Baked, Boiled, or Mashed instructions are included here.

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How to store potatoes, sweet potatoes/yams, and true yams

Red Potatoes

By Catherine Haug, April 20, 2017 (Photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons). This article was originally published in The EssentiaList, of which I am the editor.

Most grocers keep true potatoes in the refrigerated produce section, and sweet potatoes at room temperature, both under bright lights. But this doesn’t mean that’s where you should store them at home.

When stored improperly, “they might look OK; but when  cooked, they may emit harmful properties that they wouldn’t have, otherwise. They can become not just slightly shrunken and wrinkly, but potentially toxic.” Why?

How should they be stored?

See also: 1. Potatoes (About): Baked, Boiled/Steamed, or Mashed

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Baked Cod or Salmon With Capers and Olives

Jar of Capers

By Cat, April 27, 2017 (Photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)

I love using capers and olives for flavor and texture, and fish is my favorite meat, and this recipe includes all of these!

The original recipe includes a long list of the types of fish can be used in this recipe; I selected the ones least contaminated with toxic heavy metals: cod,  and salmon. The others, that are more likely to be high in toxic heavy metals are: halibut, swordfish, sea bass, haddock, snapper, grouper fillets. See Sustainable and Healthful Seafood (originally posted  on The EssentiaList for : Dietary fish & seafood: Which are/are not healthful – and why (2)) more information.

See also: 1. Mediterranean Menu; 2. Fish and Seafood Menu; 3. Sustainable and Healthful Seafood Continue reading

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Andalucian Asparagus

Green Asparagus at Market

By Cat, April 27, 2017 (Photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)

Andalusia is the most southern part of Spain, notable for tapas – a broad selection of appetizers or ‘small plates’ – and fish/seafood. This dish is an example of a tapas treat; I first tried out a tapas bar at a small gourmet restaurant in my old NW Portland neighborhood.

This dish is a combination of asparagus spears baked with crumbs made from browned bread, garlic and almonds, and flavored with a sherry vinaigrette.

See also: 1. Mediterranean Menu; 2. Appetizer Menu; 3. Sides & Condiments Menu Continue reading

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Date Wraps, with Prosciutto


By Cat, April 27, 2017 (Photo, right, from St.Louis Dispatch article (1))

Dates are just about my favorite treat, but I don’t get to eat them often because they are so sweet. This recipes helps with that because the dates are wrapped in protein and fat in the form of Prosciutto ( thinly sliced Italian dry-cured ham). See Wikipedia (3a) for more about Prosciutto.

My favorite variety of dates is Medjool, which are sweet, soft, and large, making them easier to wrap with the prosciutto. See Berkeley Wellness (2) or Wikipedia (3b) for more about dates

See also: 1. Mediterranean Menu; 2. Appetizer Menu;

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