Kombucha & Matcha Magic

I've had 2 obsessions this past week. 

1. Matcha in everything

2. Kombucha

I've started adding Matcha powder to both food and beauty products, not only for its antioxidant power but also for its bright hue.  Traditionally consumed as tea, Matcha is a stone ground, green variety that is shade-grown. I love green tea and I can add Matcha to a smoothie or face cream and it creates  so much color magic. 

My favorite Matcha smoothie consists of  1 cup greek yogurt, 1 pitted peach, honey and coconut milk. Simple and great.

I also added Matcha to a green tea and rose face salve and have been using it every night since around my eyes. That antioxidant power? It works on skin too.

Green tea & rose salve

Green tea & rose salve

I've also brewed a large amount of green tea kombucha and discovered a trade secret.

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One not so secret tip is to tape down caps that may pop off due to pressure during fermentation. My true dsicovery, which aids  the fermentation process is: add fruit juice to the mixture after it is bottled. Perhaps this is not revolutionary news to all but it significantly increased the fizz factor in my drink and I am happy about it.

I waited for my scoby to get healthy and thick but did not want to let the brew sour too much. Once I found the right balance between sweet and sour (after about 2 weeks), I removed the scoby, cut a piece to start a new batch, and bottled the brewed tea into individual bottles. I then added a small amount of unpasteurized cherry cider and let it sit in room temperature for another few days before refrigeration (temperature drop halts the fermentation). 

The result was a very fizzy, cherry green tea kombucha that I have no consumed about 2 liters of by now. 

Next up is black tea with cranberry. More updates on that soon. 

In the interim, I hope my trial and error tips may bring some health and happiness to your kitchen. If you'd like some kombucha, or a baby scoby of your own, let me know. 

2 Green tea & rose salves are still available as well. 

Lots of love forever and always, 

Elissa

Birthday Wishes

One of my birthday wishes and life goals in general came to fruition on July 30th courtesy of Travis when a Vitamix showed up on my doorstep. This is one of those gifts that I never would have purchased myself and have talked myself out of multiple times due to price. Thus, it was the most wonderful, thoughtful and practical gift and I have used it every goddamn day since I received it. Thank you Travis.

My actual birthday lands on August 2nd and in preparation for a camping weekend, I mixed an entire quart of green juice. The blender offers a great way to incorporate herbs and greens into your diet. Here's the recipe: 2 ripe bananas, 1 liter of coconut milk, packed spinach, 1 sliced cucumber 3 juiced lemons, 1 cup cilantro and mint mixed. This allowed me to use some old bananas for sweetness and the mint that is taking over my garden. Bright greens like spinach and mint also deliver wonderful color: 

Green Juice

Saturday evening, we drove to the North Fork Nehalem River for camp times in a giant, canvas teepee. I felt so grateful to be surrounded by a small group of family and friends. Laura is one of the finest cooks I've ever encountered and she cooked steak for the whole party upon arrival. With full bellies, we climbed into the teepee, each lit a candle and shared a wish with each other. I wished for land to cultivate and prosperity in my herbalism program this fall. 

On Sunday evening we discovered the river and many, red crawdads in its clear water. Crawdads are easy to catch, you just need a net, some balance and gusto. Our fishing endeavors were not as fruitful but we caught 12, perfect crawdads. Preparing a crawdad boil is beautiful business. We threw them in a cold, salt bath and stirred all of the dirt from their shells. Then, we boiled water over the fire and threw them in. Within 3 minutes they turned a vibrant, scarlet red. 

 

Laura demonstrated how to crack open the tail for its meat and we indulged with some lemon and olive oil. 

Campfire cookouts are one of my top 5 favorite activities and sharing this for a handful of meals with dear ones (including Juniper who ate 3 sausages while I wasn't looking) was the best way to reign in 27. 

Thanks to the positive forces around me, the bright Aquarian moon a few nights ago and all of individuals who have offered their support over the past 27 years in general. The support I've recently received as I work toward a career in healing and herbalism has been particularly inspiring. Change is an inevitable constant and I am so glad to have countless wonderful folks by my side. You are loved and, as always, let me know what ails you. I'd love to help. 

Here's to year 27!

Best,

 

Honest Blogging

I work full time. My primary income is not generated by herbalism. In fact, almost none of it is and my day job is career-oriented. It can be so difficult to strike a balance between my working life and plant life and yet, I try. I spend time with plants in the quiet evenings when I water the garden, walk past heaping lavender bushes in my neighborhood and mix medicine in the kitchen. Last night I laid in bed and the smell of baking bread drifted through the window while Juniper slept at my feet and, as I faced the coming work week, everything felt ok. Green tea salve was setting in the fridge, kombucha fermented on the windowsill and I felt peaceful from the slow, overcast weekend.   

I may not be able to update this blog at a daily pace, but I will share some of the balancing factors I discovered over the previous week. One of the most grounding foods I've encountered is soup, and after weeks of uncharacteristic heat in Portland, I was comforted by heavy rain on Sunday along with a large pot of soup. 

For everyday soups, I purchase vegetable or chicken stock and add whatever is available from the garden. On Sunday, I added ground turkey to the broth along with apple cider vinegar, turmeric, egg noodles for a protein-rich starch and  threw in small carrots, celery, rosemary and thyme from the garden. 

Fresh thyme and rosemary are my culinary herbs of choice. Both are fragrant, earthy and excellent balancing herbs. Apple cider vinegar and turmeric are also easy additions that cleanse and fortify the system. 

Full disclosure, my garden has been pretty lame this year. The strange heat fried my lettuce and my collard greens almost immediately went to seed. 

These little pods starting shooting off my collards more quickly than I could harvest them. Fortunately, if you harvest these pods and dry them, the tiny seeds inside can be saved and sown in the next season. 

My flowers, however, are thriving. Purple morning glory trumpets are quickly blanketing the front trellis and new calendula buds pop open every day. 

I am currently harvesting and drying each day's small bounty of calendula to use in a quart, oil infusion for a fall and winter salve. 

In reflection, plants find a way and it's the daily rituals they appear within that keep me level: water with lemon and ginger when I feed the dog each morning, herb soup in the afternoon, harvest after work and so on and so on. 

Yours, 

Elissa

 

Announcing Milkweed Medicinal!

I appreciate your enthusiasm, support and patience as I begin the first few steps in my herbalist journey. Friends, family and co-workers have inspired me to offer my products on a broader level and a website and so, Milkweed Medicinal was born. I look forward to keeping a brief blog with product updates and knowledge gained as I start herbal certification this fall. However, I want my relationships and healing services to remain community oriented and personal. Always feel free to send me an email about any custom products if something ails you: milkweedmedicinal@gmail.com. 

Online presence is an attempt to create accessibility for folks interested in the incorporation of herbs into their daily lifestyle and to invite everyone on my wild investigation of plant medicine. 

Welcome and thank you!