January Herb Blurb – A Clean Slate

1-1There is something so promising about a clean slate. You can put all the disappointments of the last year behind you and start anew.

The media loves to focus on all that is awry in the world, meanwhile all kinds of small miracles and dreams are being realized.

Every New Year’s day, I sit down with my journal and a steaming cup of latte and make out my goal list for the year ahead. I love making lists, there is something so satisfying about crossing off tasks you have accomplished. My current favorite program for doing this is http://chrisguillebeau.com/how-to-conduct-your-own-annual-review./ His book, The Art of Non Conformity, is also great.

Take an honest look at your life and if it isn’t what you want, reinvent it! It amazes me how many people gripe about their circumstances but still live as they always have, overspending, staying in bad jobs and relationships, etc. etc.. As if their new life will somehow show up on the front porch. Take some time to figure out what you need to change and then map out your plan of action. You might surprise yourself!

Upcoming Classes

Herb and wild edible walks, private cooking, crafting and garden classes are available for you or your group or organization. Check www.chrysalisherbs.com for topics or call 303-697-6060.

January

1-2Delicious Vegetarian, Denver Botanic Gardens, Saturday, January 30, 10 – noon.

info and registration, $42 member, $47 non-member.

Discover the scrumptious side of international vegetarian cuisine! We’ll begin with a savory salad and moves on to a delicious butternut squash curry, a spicy cashew veggie stir fry, a pesto and roasted veggie pizza and ends with a sweet. Eat your veggies and love doing it! Recipes and lunch included.

February

1-3Pressed Flower Arts, Denver Botanic Gardens, Saturday, February 6, 10 – noon

$39 member, $44 non-member, info and registration

Can’t wait for spring flowers? Spend an enjoyable morning creating  masterpieces with pressed flowers. Participants make bookmarks, cards and two kinds of flower candles to take home. Learn the best flowers to grow and how to press for optimal color, durability and longevity. All materials, handout and refreshments are included.

1-4Mexican Fiesta Cooking Class & Lunch, Denver Botanic Gardens, Saturday, February 20, 10 – noon, $42 member, $47 non-member. info and registration

Discover the ease of preparing delicious dishes from south of the border! Learn how to master the classics: salsa, guacamole and chipotle crema and use them for garnishes for a Mexican meatball soup, creamy chicken with pumpkin seed sauce and zesty fish tacos. Wash it all down with hibiscus/lime tea and chili chocolate cupcakes. Recipes and dinner included.

 

Fun Things to Do

Fireworks on New Years Eve in Denver on the 16th street mall. Going off at 9pm and again at midnight. Bundle up and blast in the New Year.

Musicfest at Steamboat, January 4-9. 5 days, 50 bands, ski slopes, lots of fun and music. info here

1-5National Western Stock Show, January 9-24. Put on your cowboy hat and check out the big guy for all things western. info here

Ullr fest, Breckenridge, CO, January 13-16. Shenanigans abound on this winter party weekend. info here

Estes Park Winter Festival, January 16 and 17. Wine and beer sampling, outdoor activities, music, lodging discounts and more. info here

Denver Brew Fest, January 22 and 23. Live music and keggers full of craft beer at Mile High Station. info here

Free Daysscfd.org

1-6Denver Art Museum –January 2
Denver Zoo –January 8, 21,31. Time to get to the zoo!
Denver Botanic Gardens –January 5.18.
Denver Museum of Nature and Science -January 25

 

Recipe for the Month

Did you get that nasty head cold going around? My family was kind enough to share it with me over the holidays. Here’s a great soup for winter bugs or just a nice, mild detox after all that holiday excess.

Immune Boosting Soup

  • 1-72 cups water
  • 4-6 cups chicken or vegetable broth, I use Better than Bouillon chicken concentrate.
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 bulb garlic (at least 10 cloves), minced
  • Chicken – precooked or fresh, boned and cut into small pieces (optional)
  • 1 1?2 inch piece of fresh ginger root grated
  • ½ – 1 cup fresh, sliced shiitake mushrooms, you can also use dried
  • 2 tablespoons dried seaweed slightly crumbled, arame has a mild taste

Seasonings can include turmeric, cayenne, thyme, rosemary and sage. About a ½ tsp. of whatever combination you prefer.

Fresh or frozen vegetables of choice chopped into bite size pieces. Options include: yams, sweet potatoes, zucchini, winter squash, celery, peppers, broccoli, green beans, corn, edame, lima beans, kale, mustard greens or spinach. Basically anything you like, preferably organic. To make a heartier soup you can add beans, you can also add chicken or fish. Rice noodles added when the veggies are almost done is also and option.

Heat olive oil in large pot. Sauté garlic, onions, raw chicken if using, peppers and ginger until soft and aromatic. Add broth, rest of ingredients and enough water to cover all the vegetables. Simmer covered until veggies are soft and all ingredients are cooked through. Add cooked chicken at this point if you are using it.

Add salt and pepper to taste. I like to top my soup with a bit of grated parmesan and some fresh basil or parsley if I have it handy. Great to freeze and keep on hand for those cold season maladies.

 

Herb of the Month – Oats

Oats are nourishing, calming and fortifying. Oats contain iron, vitamin B complex, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and vitamins A and C. High in fiber and protein, a steaming bowl of steel cut oats makes the perfect warming winter breakfast. Oats help lower cholesterol, assist in circulation, and they have a soothing effect on our nervous systems along with a calming and moisturizing effect on skin. Eat, drink and bathe in oats for delicious, nourishing winter support.

Oatmeal Bath

1-8Soothing and moisturizing to irritated or inflamed skin.

  • 1/2 cup oatmeal
  • Clean cotton sock
  • Calendula petals, lavender buds or rose petals (optional)

Mix oatmeal with herbs and put into clean cotton sock. Insert sock over bath faucet and secure in place with a heavy duty rubber band, the thick blue kind they use on produce. Start running water slowly until oatmeal and sock are completely wet and then you can turn up the pressure. After you have run the bath, take the sock off of the faucet and tie a knot in it and massage your skin with the sock. Rinse afterwards and relax.

 

Best Ever Granola

  • 1/3 cup honey or agave nectar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar (you can moderate this to whatever you want)
  • 1 ½ tsps. vanilla
  • 2 cups oats
  • 1 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup slivered almonds
  • 1 cup coconut
  • 1 cup walnuts

In saucepan cook honey, brown sugar and vanilla over low heat until melted. Combine with dry, mixed ingredients and bake in a single layer on a greased cookie sheet for about 25 minutes at 325. Cool and enjoy. You can add any kind of dried fruit to this mixture, I like cranberries.

 

Wishing you and yours a prosperous.,healthy and magical 2016!

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