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Calendula: of the Sun

Calendula: of the Sun

According to folklore, calendula is associated with the sun and the fire element, and was once believed to imbue those in its company with the magical powers of protection and clairvoyance. Flowers hung above doorposts and placed under beds were thought to ward off evil and protect those sleeping. And it was rumored that to […]
The Rose: a History of Sweet Seduction

The Rose: a History of Sweet Seduction

“That which we call a rose / By any other name would smell as sweet.” —William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet. Perhaps the most beloved flower in human history, the rose has been exalted throughout time for its intoxicating perfume, sweet flavor and ravishing beauty. Its heady scent is known as an aphrodisiac, evoking feelings of sensuality […]
Chamomile: Small Wonder

Chamomile: Small Wonder

Chamomile has always been one of my favorite herbs. In fact, it was probably one of the first herbs I knew about. As far back as many of us can remember, our mothers have most likely had chamomile tea on hand for upset tummies and as a comforting bedtime treat. So it’s not much of a surprise to learn that Chamomile is one of the oldest and most broadly […]
6 Reasons Why Dark Chocolate Is Better Than Milk Chocolate

6 Reasons Why Dark Chocolate Is Better Than Milk Chocolate

I recently read a well-written and hilarious, yet completely misguided and, dare I say, inaccurate article touting the superiority of milk chocolate over dark chocolate. To sum it up, the author centers most of her opening argument around Halloween candy and the Hershey’s mini bag, then goes on to state “facts” that she believes support […]
Terra Madre: They are Giants, but We are Millions

Terra Madre: They are Giants, but We are Millions

For the last week, I’ve been attending an international food conference and festival called Terra Madre Salone del Gusto in Torino, a beautiful city located in the Piedmont Region of Italy. This event is organized by Slow Food International, an organization committed to making good, clean, and fair food available to all people. And while […]
Make Your Own Lavender Hydrosol

Make Your Own Lavender Hydrosol

Now that we know the history of lavender, let’s make something with it! Flower waters, or hydrosols, are made by distilling the volatile oils out of herbs and flowers. On a large scale, this is done with copper stills, but it can also be done on a small scale with supplies that most of us […]
Lavender: The Seductive Sedative

Lavender: The Seductive Sedative

Lavender harvest has begun. After a day in the field of cutting sticky handfuls, I met my friend Liz Birnbaum for dinner, who just happens to be the lovely mastermind behind The Curated Feast. A lively conversation ensued about the history, uses and folklore of this odoriferous plant. We even had a musky grapefruit and lavender saison by […]
Foraging for Stinging Nettles

Foraging for Stinging Nettles

For centuries, this wild miracle plant has been used in numerous ways throughout many countries and cultures worldwide. Most commonly, nettles have been eaten, used as topical medicine, and consumed as a mineral rich tea. The fibers of its stem have been used to make a strong cloth, similar to that of hemp or flax. In […]
Make Your Own Whipped Body Butter

Make Your Own Whipped Body Butter

When I began selling my natural skincare products, my intention was to share the recipes as well. Why? Because I want you to know how they’re made and that you don’t have to buy that chemically laden crap that’s out on the market. And if you want to make your own, it’s quite simple if you […]
Foraging for Mushrooms

Foraging for Mushrooms

Porcinis, black trumpets and candy caps, oh my! Mushroom foraging in the Monterey Bay area most likely brings to mind the beautiful fan-shaped golden chanterelle, but the oak, redwood and mixed pine forests of the area have much, much more to offer in the way of fungus among us. Chef Zachary Mazi of LionFish SupperClub, […]
Make Your Own Organic Almond Milk

Make Your Own Organic Almond Milk

Since I no longer have my own goats, I’ve been having a hard time trying to decide what kind of milk to use. Unless I can buy organic, raw dairy locally, I know that it’s really not going to be very good for me or for the environment. But, because of FDA regulations, it’s hard to find raw […]
Honey Meyer Lemon Curd

Honey Meyer Lemon Curd

What could be more lovely than making lemon curd with fresh, in-season improved Meyer lemons, golden orange egg yolks from the henhouse and raw amber honey as the sun comes up? What a beautiful way to start the day, with all the hues of yellow imaginable. Lemon curd will bring sunshine into the kitchen any time of day. Here in Santa […]