Tisane vs Tea

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To continue with beverages that contain rosemary, I thought I’d share a few more favorites. Rosemary hot toddy & rosemary tisane, er tea?

Let’s talk about that one first, since it happens to be the tea lovers topic of debate. What’s the difference between a tisane, and tea? Here’s the short hand –
Tisane is any herbal, non caffeinated infusion.
Tea is an infusion of the tea leaf ( camellia sinensis) which contains caffeine. That’s it. So, why the confusion? The folks hard at work supplying the worlds stock of tea probably figured it wasn’t hurting sales. I’m glad we cleared that up.

Moving on, to make a tisane use either dried or fresh herbs. Pour hot ( just under boiling point) water. Steep to your preference, add honey and enjoy!

Now, hot toddies! Traditionally this is made with tea, scotch and honey ( and lemon). I cheated and used a homemade rosemary tincture ( rosemary infused vodka). Pour hot water and honey into your mug, add rosemary tincture to your liking. I like a lot so, I went for 2 ounce.

Why is Rosemary so great? For one it’s the BEST thing you could consume on repeat during the dreary months. It’s a mood booster, stimulates your blood flow, clears your mind and combats depression. It is antiseptic, anti inflammatory, anti oxidant, anti stress and chock full of vitamins. That’s the short list of the MANY benefits rosemary holds in it’s pungent woody stalks.

I hope my rant encourages you to forage a few clippings from your neighbors yard. If you are lucky enough to have a shub, share it!

Health & happiness,
Summer

Blood orange and rosemary infused gin.

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My sister brought me a bag of glorious citrus from her orchard. Naturally I dreamt up a few ways to make it boozy.

I’ve been enjoying the labors of my herbal tinctures and thought it would be fun/ interesting to combined the ideas of limoncello and herbal infusions.

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I’m hoping for the outcome to be earthy and bright, sweet and savory. A cordial ? An aperitif ? A liqueur?
Or maybe I just started a batch of shrubs…. In any case, it’s a fun and easy experiment to enjoy in the warmer months. Prolonging the bounty of winter citrus.

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Oh, one more thing. I’m a gin girl, so I used gin as my alcohol of choice. Use whatever you like.

Blood orange and rosemary infused gin-

6 blood oranges
2 springs of rosemary
2.5 cups of gin
.5 cups of water

Wash, dry And cut up the oranges. Repeat with rosemary, make sure to remove the woody stem. Put all the ingredients in a jar and seal it tight. Give her a good shake. Hide in the back of your cupboard. Try to remember to shake it once a week, but know you’ll find it in June and it will be fine.

Make a cocktail, add it to sangria, pour it over ice and enjoy!!

Xoxo,
Summer

Sniff Sniff

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This blog post is brought to you from under a mountain of blankets and piles of tissue. There’s a warm beverage and a drippy nosed baby close by too.

T’is the season, right? I pride my self on how little me and mine get sick, so it’s a small blow to my ego when one ( or two) of us goes down.

I’m not a big fan of filling our already weak bodies with harsh drugs, chemicals and toxins to hopefully alleviate symptoms. The body knows how to handle this . My philosophy is to beef up the ‘ol immune system with vitamins and herbs, major hydration and soothe irritation with natural remedies. Above all, rest.

I like to make a ginger and lemon infused honey. It’s super easy to spoon a bit into hot water. Many, many mugs of this concoction is the best. I’ll top it off with extra honey as it dwindles. Herb Pharm makes a great herb blend tincture for supporting your immune system and soothing symptoms. They even make a formula that’s safe for littles. Ila happily takes it in warm soy milk or juice. I love their throat spray.

For headaches I like to rub a little peppermint oil on my temples. I have a little jar on hand that is cut by coconut oil. It does double duty with soothing headaches and congestion pressure. Real talk, I take ibuprofen when all else falls. Just remember to wash your hands a lot, and maybe you will have a better shot avoiding this!

Wishing you a healthy, happy fall/winter.

Best of luck,
Summer

P.s. This is not a paid endorsement for Herb Pharm, I just really like their products. However, I wouldn’t mind if it was… Wink, wink.

A day trip to Salem, where things got real.

 

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Welcome to part II of our New England trip.  To set the proper mood I’ll start with the ever classic…..

T’was a dreary day in New England.

Ila and I took the commuter rail from Boston to Salem.  The constant shower and angry wind ensured every inch of me got soak in spite of my best effort to protect myself. Rest assured Ila was warm and dry all day. The train ride was a relief from the storm, but the station in Salem was under construction which meant an unsavory detour in said weather.  With my head down I forged my way into town, only catching a glimpse of the passing shops and cafés.
The Peabody Museum was recommended if the the weather was bad. It was a small victory when I found it at the end of a modern walking mall full of “Witch supply” Shops and tarot readers.  All loudly advertising the enchantment everyone flocks there for.

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We spent more time in the lobby making art, then shuffling through the collections that I paid $18 to view.  Oh well, it gave us a dry place to regroup and figure out what we wanted to see here.  The museum Concierge asked me that when I grabbed a few area maps.  That was tough, what DID I come here to see?  It was close enough to Halloween that this place should have a cornucopia of entertainment.  However, I already knew the manufactured hype that was geared towards spooking tourist wasn’t going to do it for me.  I answered simply “old stuff”.  He absently swished his hand in the direction to the back of the museum and plainly stated there was an old cemetery of some sort behind the museum.  Ok.

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So, behind the towering museum, and rows of new retail space, there was a cemetery.  Along with a few old dwellings. Also, In the middle of a stone walled courtyard with, what looked like a row of two seater benches was a patch of grass roped off.  It took me a minute, but all at once it washed over me.  This was the site of the very thing that made Salem what it is.
The Salem witch trials.
These were not benches, but memorial markers of the 20 innocent women and children who were sentenced to death.
Was this patch of grass where some of them burned to death? Or hung?  The dwellings were their prison while they waited scared and cold for their trial.  It was all too sad.

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A goth couple entered quietly and crossed to a stone “bench” to pay their respects to what they think is the matriarch of their subculture.  Who am I to judge?

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Look, these people were not witches.  They were your mothers, sisters and daughters.  Your neighbors and friends.  Your acquaintances.  Some of them where outcast of their small community.  Most important for us to understand is that they were victims of ignorance, abuse of authority and fear mongering.  What’s worse is that we still haven’t learned from this.  We continue to persecute each other and ourselves.  The cycle continues, some cases  worse then others.

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I was asked later that day by a fortune telling Uber driver if I believe in ” All that”.  What? Witches & Magic? I believe there is a lot about this place, this space in time and inside our brains that we don’t understand.  However, the feeling in Salem is not magical the way myth and legend tells us it is.  I just felt a long history of sorrow glossed over by a lot of commercial glitz to attract tourist. It all seems garish when you separate fact from fiction.  I don’t blame them though, they are just giving people what they want to see.

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As it turned out, I saw exactly what a came to see.  The blatant reality of the destruction that FEAR can cause when left unchecked.

Fear.

I’ve been afraid of a lot in my life, so this was big.  What is fear any way?  This invisible force that shakes us like the wind shakes a giant tree.  It’s an emotion.  That’s it.  Guess who creates and controls emotions?  Me.  And you of course.  So, while everything I said before may not seem like a message of hope.  It is.  Fear is ours to dismiss if it threatens to control us or harm others around us. Be the good.

On that note, Happy Halloween!  Give a wink to all the dark and macabre that is on parade in jest tonight.

Xoxo,
Summer

Good times

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Over the weekend a pair of tickets fell into our laps. Cool. Family was in town, things were going on, but we scrapped it and headed for the city.
Ah, what a blessed relief to jump on the train with your spouse for an impromptu evening out. Without any expectations we embarked on an evening of good food, amazing entertainment and belly laughs. We needed that.
Life is messy and often un satisfying, saying yes to the unexpected moments that hold possibility for joy is totally necessary. Boom. Lesson learned, now go have some fun.

Xoxo,
Summer

P.S. Thanks Mom & Dad for babysitting!

Princess culture problems

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My Girl-child is revealing a deep passion for dress up.  Being previously known as a “boy house”, and my aversion to the common norm of dress up gear ( thumbs down to shiny polyester and sequins).  We are understandably ill-equipped.  Gone are the days of raiding Grandma’s attic trunk. Top hats and wedding gowns.  After doing a little research, here’s what I’ve come up with.

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There are so many amazing ideas, and crafters online that make the world of dress up far more exciting then the commercial/ mainstream alternative.

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I intend to recreate a few of these gems. I’ll let you know how it goes.

xoxo, Summer

Eight months of self doubt

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Many moons ago I went to cosmetology school. I had an instructor who used to say “Ladies, you can’t sell beauty when you look like 8 miles of bad road.” I looked at the date today and realized it was exactly 8 months since my last post. Summer, you can’t write a blog post when you’ve got 8 months of self doubt. As it turns out today is also the second day of Rosh hashanah, which means it’s reflection time. You don’t know what Rosh hashanah is? Goggle it. So; self doubt, a crazy busy life, managing a crazy busy family ( but mostly self doubt) makes for a quiet blog. I started this at the beginning of the Gregorian New year. Maybe before I was ready? Before I was clear about the words I wanted to put out in the world. Today, on the Jewish New Year I’m taking the next set on this journey. I think I’m in a better place to follow through, but I’m realistic about being easy on myself if I go another 8 months. That’s the great thing about time.
Shana tova,
Summer