new-year-2019

Herb Blurb January 2019

Happy New Year to you and yours! What will you create and experience in 2019?
Ready for resolutions? My current favorite program for doing this is mind reset, https://melrobbins.com/mindsetreset/ with Mel Robbins, a motivational speaker. Short and sweet but helps you to figure out where you've been and where you want to go.

Mel RobbinsTwo resolutions that have really opened up my life are trying something new every day and minimizing time in front of a screen. I make the first one easy, a new recipe, a new food, a new yoga pose, a new Spanish word, saying no to something I usually, reluctantly, say yes to. Anything qualifies as long as I haven’t done it before. It’s amazing how many new experiences this has provided.

One of the common complaints I hear (and use) is “I don’t have enough time.” The average American spends from 8 to 11 hours a day in front of a screen, including TV, cell phone, iPad or computer. That’s a lot of life. Is this really how you want to spend it? Unplug for a day or a week and luxuriate in all the extra time you have. Notice your addiction as you twitch with the need to "just check for a minute". Keep a time diary for one of your average days and see where all that precious time goes. It can be very enlightening.

Upcoming Classes – try something new!

art-of-presses-flower-class

Art of Pressed Flowers, Saturday, February 9, 9:30 to noon. Denver Botanic Gardens, $55, $50 member. Info here
Can't wait for spring flowers? Spend an enjoyable morning creating your own masterpieces with gorgeous pressed flowers. We will make beautiful floral bookmarks and cards, a reusable floral glass votive, and a botanical dipped candle to take home. Learn the best flowers to grow and how to press for optimal color, durability, and longevity. Handout and materials provided.

Delicious Vegetarian, Saturday, February 16, 10am to 12:30pm, Denver Botanic Gardens, $60,$55 member. Info here
Discover the scrumptious side of international vegetarian cuisine! We’ll begin with a savory salad and continue with a delicious butternut squash curry, a spicy cashew veggie stir-fry, a pesto and roasted veggie pizza and end with a sweet. Eat your veggies and enjoy doing it! Recipes and full meal included.

Fun Things to Do

Fireworks on New Year’s Eve in Denver on the 16th street mall. Going off at 9pm and again at midnight. Bundle up well and blast in the New Year. https://www.denver.org/things-to-do/fall-winter/denver-new-years-eve/

Musicfest at Steamboat, January 5-10. 5 days, 72 artists, ski slopes, lots of fun and music. http://themusicfest.com/home/

National Western Stock ShowNational Western Stock Show, January 12 -27. Put on your cowboy hat and check out the big guy for all things western. Parade downtown on Thursday, January 10. https://nationalwestern.com/ Check groupon for discount tickets.

Ullr fest, Breckenridge, CO, January 9-12. Shenanigans abound on this winter party weekend. https://www.gobreck.com/event/ullr-fest/

Estes Park Winter FestivalEstes Park Winter Festival, January 19 and 20. Wine and beer sampling, outdoor activities, music, lodging, discounts, and more.
https://www.visitestespark.com/events-calendar/special-events/winter-festival/

Denver Brew Fest, January 25 and 26 at Mile High Starion. Live music and keggers full of craft beer. https://www.eventbrite.com/e/denver-winter-brew-fest-friday-january-25th-saturday-january-26th-2019-tickets-48444269113

Free Daysscfd.org
As of this writing, it looks like the schedule has not been posted yet for 2019. Check the link for updates

Colds and Flu

The annual flu outbreak has started in earnest. Get some supplies in beforehand in case it makes a visit. Some of my essentials are eucalyptus essential oil and Olba’s Pastilles cough drops, you can get this at any Whole Foods, Sprouts or Natural Grocers. Olba also has a nice inhalant oil that is great for steaming. Have garlic, onions, organic miso and chicken broth on hand for soup making. Have some teas on hand, Traditional Medicinals and Yogi teas have some good ones, and my favorite for upset stomach and general flu and cold is ginger root tea. See the recipe below.

Natural methods for prevention include taking a good, food-based multivitamin/mineral daily, restricting skin contact in public places, washing your hands, eating a whole foods diet, getting enough sleep and limiting sugar which lowers immunity. This is a good plan year-round.

If you or someone in your household does get sick, wipe down keyboards, lights switches, TV remotes, doorknobs and other frequently touched places with vinegar. Relieve congested sinuses and chests with a tea tree or eucalyptus essential oil steam. Eat lots of organic veggies and hot foods with plenty of garlic and onions. Skip the smoothies, dairy products, and cold salads and go for spicy hot vegetable curries, stir-fry’s, and soups. Get enough rest and drink plenty of hot tea.

Dress for the weather. It makes me crazy to see little kids with deep, rattly coughs and runny noses out in cold, wet weather without hats, scarves or coats. They shouldn’t be out in the first place, nor should you if you’re sick. Remember to sneeze and cough into your sleeve or elbow, not your hands! Grab a good novel, a cup of tea, take a long hot bath and go to bed!

Herb of the Month – Ginger (really a spice)

Ginger is a wonderful spice with multiple health benefits and a refreshing, cleansing taste.
Herb of the Month – GingerHealth benefits of ginger include:

  • Digestion – great for nausea, morning sickness, motion sickness, and chemotherapy side effects.
  • Lowers blood pressure by improving circulation
  • Natural anti-inflammatory
  • Antibacterial
  • Helps to reduce blood sugar levels
  • Helps to reduce LDL cholesterol

Fresh ginger root can be found in most major grocery stores. Peel and grate it for stir fry’s, soups, teas, juices, smoothies, Asian and Mideastern cooking. Try homemade ginger ale or tea for flu and cold symptoms.

Ginger/Lemon Tea – makes a little more than 4 cups
Delicious and soothing to upset tummies or just to warm you up.

  • 2 tbs. fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ cup of fresh ginger root
  • 4 cups water
  • Honey or agave to sweeten

Prepare ginger by thinly slicing root and then chopping into small chunks. No need to peel. Place in a saucepan and cover with the water. Bring to a boil and then simmer on low, covered, for 30 minutes. Turn off heat and add lemon. Strain and serve hot or cold with honey to taste. Refrigerate the leftovers.

Ginger Lemon Tea

Recipes of the Month

Easy French Onion Soup
An easy, tasty and healthy soup for that winter chill.

  • 2 large yellow onions, sliced thin and rings separated
  • 1 tbs. olive oil
  • 1 tbs. butter
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 2 tbs. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1-quart organic chicken, beef or vegetable broth (beef is traditional)
  • 2/3 cup grated Gruyere cheese
  • 4 slices of French banquette
  • 1 tsp. thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Melt butter and oil together in soup pot. Add onions and minced garlic and cook on medium-low until soft, about 8-10 minutes, stirring frequently. Once they are tender add thyme, Worcestershire, and broth and simmer for 25 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the slices of baguette on a greased baking tray and top with cheese. Once you are ready to serve, put the tray in a 400-degree oven and cook until cheese is melted. Pour soup into bowls and top with the bread and serve. All the recipes I know say to broil the bread in the oven with the soup, but I find this a lot easier. I’m all about easy.

French Onion Soup

Chicken Quesadillas

  • cooking oil, I like avocado
  • butter
  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless, chicken breast, cut into strips
  • 1 tsp. cayenne or chipotle pepper, Heat sensitive? Just use chili pepper
  • 1 1/2 tbs. cumin
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. salt and ground pepper
  • 2 bell peppers, any color, cored and sliced thin
  • 1 small red onion, sliced thin
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • Guacamole and salsa for topping
  • Tortillas
  • Chopped cilantro for garnish

Mix salt, pepper, cayenne, cumin and garlic in a bowl, add chicken and rub in the seasonings well in with your hands. Wash well after. You can cover and put this in the fridge, for a few hours to marinate if you like. In a large sauté pan heat enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan over high heat. Add chicken and peppers and cook through over medium heat. Take a tortilla and layer cheese, cooked chicken mixture, and more cheese, and cover with another tortilla. Melt enough butter to cover the bottom of a saute pan over medium heat. Add quesadillas, one at a time, cover and cook for about 3-4 minutes on each side until toasty and the cheese is melted. Keep warm in a 200-degree oven until all quesadillas are cooked. Cut quesadillas into 3 pieces each and serve with avocado or guacamole, salsa, olives, sour cream and garnish with cilantro.

Chicken Quesadillas

Guacamole

  • 1 ripe avocado, pitted and mashed
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbs. minced onion or scallion
  • ½ tsp. cumin
  • ½ tsp. more or less depending on taste, cayenne pepper
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Squeeze of lemon or lime juice
  • Chopped cilantro (optional)

Mash all together well. You can add sour cream and tomatoes for a crowd.

Guacamole

Pomegranate Salad with Radish, Peppers, Avocado, and Blue Cheese
One of my favorite winter salads.

  • 1 cup shelled pomegranate seeds
  • 4 cups arugula or spring greens
  • 4 radishes sliced thin
  • 4 baby bell peppers sliced thin
  • 1 avocado, pitted and cut into slices
  • ½ cup crumbled blue or goat cheese
  • Pepitas for garnish (optional)
  • Balsamic dressing

Dress greens lightly with balsamic dressing and divide onto 4 plates, artistically top with the rest of the ingredients, serve and enjoy.

Balsamic Vinaigrette

  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive or avocado oil
  • 1 tsp.of dijon mustard

Put ingredients in a glass bottle with a lid and shake well, you're done. Bring to room temperature if refrigerated.

Pomegranate Salad with Radish, Peppers, Avocado, and Blue Cheese

Wishing you and yours a New Year full of hope, health, and happiness.

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