Grandma drank a Hot Toddy

My grandma was pretty much a tee-totaler except when it came to colds and flu, then she was known to fix a hot toddy at night.  I never really knew what she put in them but I know there was a shot of whiskey or sometimes brandy in it.  (My grandpa drank so therefore the alcohol was available.)  I’ve seen a few different recipes for hot toddies since those days – do you have one to share?  It’s been such a horrible flu season this year I thought maybe we should ALL drink a hot toddy as preventative medicine if we weren’t already sick.  🙂

For a single serving, you can either steep an herbal teabag or use hot water.  Fill your cup about 2/3 full, then add a shot of whiskey or brandy (especially if you infused it with slices of fresh ginger and orange peel like I did), a slice of lemon, a stick of cinnamon, and honey to taste.  Super soothing!

On a related note, I’ve been thinking about which herbs I’m going to plant this year and came across the website below.  If you’ve never grown your own herbs, either for culinary purposes or medicinal purposes, here’s a little snippet to get you thinking about growing some herbs this year.

Easy-to-Grow, Dual Use Herbs

If you prefer to buy and plant individual varieties of herbs, there are many that are easy to grow and do double duty as both culinary and healing herbs. You should be able to find the following herb plants or seeds easily at the garden center in the spring.

  • Catnip: Yes, you can dry the leaves and share them with your kitty, but you can also brew a tea from catnip that’s said to help with indigestion. Plant catnip well away from other plants. It can be terribly invasive in the garden.
  • Chamomile: Beautiful, nodding white flowers belie its ability to induce calm and restful sleep.
  • Garlic: The edible bulbs provide antimicrobial action in the body and also may help to reduce cholesterol. Simply use it as a cooking agent to spice and season food.
  • Lemon balm: Lemon balm may be used in cooking to create a simple lemon-flavored syrup. Medicinally, teas made from lemon balm help reduce fevers associated with colds and flu.
  • Parsley: Garnish your plate and use in salads. It acts as a diuretic.

[credit – posted on http://garden.lovetoknow.com/wiki/Medicinal_Herbal_Garden_Seeds]

I think I just Feng Shui’d my living room!

Is that even a word – Shui’d?  I have no idea.  I don’t know much about Feng Shui either, except that it has to do with energy and flow.  I don’t know the rules of it but I spent the last several hours upending my living room-turned-workshop: taking stuff out that didn’t belong there, tossing unnecessary items (yay me!), rearranging my workspace and reorganizing my essential oils, herbal remedy ingredients, containers, candles, incense, lamps, table, diffuser, mailing packaging and supplies, you name it.  Okay so my hallway is a little off for a moment, but the energy in my living room is GREAT!  It feels like there is a flow to my space now, so maybe there is something to this Feng Shui after all.  Why not?

My day started off not so great, not feeling well.  Once my sinus headache cleared, I decided to tackle my work space to make it more me-friendly.  It’s amazing how much your ‘space’ can affect your outlook and how you feel – sometimes we just have to step back and take care of ourselves.  THEN we can help others so much more effectively!

I also made a nourishing homemade soup, not exactly like Grandma’s chicken soup recipe, but I did start with a great turkey bone broth I made and froze not long ago.  Chicken broth (or turkey) is so good for you, and really does help when you’re down with a cold or the flu.  Vitamins, minerals, amino acids, immune boosting action.  Add in fresh veggies and herbs like carrots, celery, onion, garlic, ginger, squash, thyme, greens, potatoes (whatever combo you like), and you’re packing some serious nutrition to restore you.  A little meditation, some herbal tea with ginger honey, and I’ll settle down tonight so much better than I began this morning.  I begin and end my days with prayers of thanks and gratitude.  Some days I feel it more than others.  Whether I “feng shui’d” anything today or not, I’m feeling extra thankful, and truly blessed.  Peace out.

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Seeking Grandma’s Wisdom

Here we are in another new year.  2018.  It looks a little odd still.  I used to worry about messing up the year when writing checks, but thanks to modern technology I rarely write a check anymore.  Out with the old, in with the new….really?  Do you make New Year’s resolutions?  Every now and again I have, but not often.  I do however, find that it’s useful to remind me to reflect on where I am, what’s happened in my life, and where I’d like to go next.  What has served me well, and what do I need to change?  What is no longer useful and needs to go?

That last one – what needs to go – has often been a tough one for me.  Left to my own devices I’d probably become a terrible hoarder, the kind they put on TV shows.  Well, I’d like to think not THAT bad, but there’s a smidgeon of doubt in the back of my mind.  Especially when it comes to sentimental items, I have a hard time throwing them in the bin.  But honestly, how many drawings that your children have made can you keep before it becomes a fire hazard?  So, one thing I do try to do is go through my things in the new year, throw out non-useful items, pare down, and get rid of those things – physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally – that no longer serve me or my development as a good person.

BUT, “out with the old” doesn’t literally mean OLD.  Grandmas are “old” but I’d never consider throwing her out.  Grandmas, and Grandpas, have a lifetime of experience, wisdom, and stories to share.  Or at least nuggets of it.  No one is perfect.  I am finding the younger generations, sadly my own kids included, often don’t realize the value of seeking out Grandma’s wisdom.  I refer to “Grandma’s wisdom” in the generic sense of course.  Grandma’s recipes, herbal remedies, stories about the family, stories about growing up, values, relationships, skills, crafts, all kinds of wonderful (and not-so-wonderful) things that make up the fabric of our lives and provide a sense of connectedness and identity.  Once “Grandma” is gone, she’s gone.  At least from this Earth.  Unless we take the time to absorb Grandma’s wisdom while she’s with us, we lose a valuable part of ourselves and who we are, where we come from, and an opportunity to pass on knowledge and wisdom that she’s accumulated throughout her years.  I wish our society still valued and respected elders.

I think everyone needs to feel a sense of connectedness, a comfort and confidence in their own identity.  Surely that is at least one of the reasons for the popularity of Ancestry . com and sending in your DNA for testing.  Often we are separated from our extended families due to military service, job opportunities, etc.  But this apparently universal need for connectivity doesn’t disappear, so we try to fill the void in other ways, including social media.

Still, Grandma has her own unique blend of wisdom to share, one that can’t be found on the internet.  So, while I no longer have any living grandparents or dad, I do still have my mom and stepparents and siblings who share a history with me and have many stories and nuggets of wisdom to share.  Wisdom I hope to capture and share with my daughters.  So while I’m sorting through my ‘closet’ and disposing of those things that no longer serve me, I want to be sure I keep and continue to seek Grandma’s wisdom this year.

Praying for many things for us in this new year, including more love and compassion for all, growth and success on our personal journeys. May you be always blessed.  Happy New Year!

How did Grandma get so smart?

I find it interesting, how so many things in seem to come around full circle.  Do any of you have grandmas or maybe great-grandmas who always seemed to know a few home remedies to treat a variety of ailments?  My own grandmother didn’t have a huge store of herbal knowledge, but something she always had me drink when I had an upset stomach was ginger ale.  She’d give me a few saltines to nibble on too.  For many years, I associated ginger ale and saltine crackers with being sick, so I never had it at any other time.  Even through all the years growing up and well into adulthood, when ‘modern medicine’ was the way to go (throw out Grandma’s wisdom, in other words), I still turned to ginger ale and saltine crackers when I was sick, especially if I was nauseous.

Out with the old, in with the new.  Out with grandma’s remedies, in with pills and antibiotics.  I never knew WHY she gave me ginger ale, only that she did and it often helped.  Well, now that we’ve got resistant super bugs from antibiotic resistant bacteria – thanks to overuse – a multitude of side effects from drugs and drug interactions, we’re taking another look at grandma and her home remedies.  Turns out grandma was pretty darn smart.  Scientists are learning more and more about the wonderful healing properties of plants.  For example, ginger is a wonderful her to use to quell motion sickness, most any type of nausea, aid digestion, pretty much help your gut.  Fresh ginger wasn’t readily available when I was a kid, but ginger ale was in every grocery store. So it seems our society is coming back around to re-examining the wisdom of grandma’s home remedies, passed down through the generations.

That’s just one simple example.  Did you have a smart grandma too?  What kinds of home remedies did she use?  Do you use any of them now?  I still drink ginger ale, and gave it to my kids when they were sick.  My husband has been sick this past week and guess what I picked up at the store on my way home from work?  You guessed it – ginger ale.

Luckily, I’ve got access to fresh ginger and have been learning new ways to use it medicinally.  Here’s a super easy recipe for infusing ginger into honey.  It works great and tastes great in herbal tea (any tea actually).

GINGER INFUSED HONEY

Just take a hunk of fresh ginger (it should be firm and smooth), peel it, then either grate or dice finely, or process in a food processor with a teaspoon or so of water.  Put that into a small saucepan, and just barely cover with raw, organic honey.  Heat on low for at least 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the ginger is soft and the honey has a pungent ginger-ness to it.  You can either strain the mixture through a metal sieve to remove the ginger (by the way you then eat the little bits of ginger for a zingy treat), or you can put it all together in a clean screw top jar and pop into the fridge.  It’ll last for quite a long time, certainly enough to get you through cold and flu season.  Add a spoonful to your tea, by itself, however you normally use honey at your house.  It’s very soothing on an irritated throat.  It’s also good to have when you’re healthy!  Think of it as a good boost for your system, like a vitamin.  Lots of nutrients in ginger, so use it in your cooking, your drinks, in all kinds of ways.  You can even add some to brandy.