Healthy Herbes de Provence

C’est bon et bon pour vous.
  • 1 T Fennel Seed 
  • 2 T Summer Savory
  • 2 T Thyme
  • 2 T Basil
  • 2 T Marjoram
  • 2 T Parsley
  • 1 T Oregano
  • 2 T Rosemary
  • 5-6 Bay Leaves (or 1 t ground Bay Leaf)
  • 2 T Lavender Flowers
  • 1 T Tarragon*
  • 6 Black Peppercorns
  • YOU CAN USE ALL FRESH or MIX FRESH & DRY HERBS IN THIS BLEND AND FREEZE. Allow 3 times the dry amount for fresh and of course you’ll have to grind your dry herbs, mince your fresh ones & blend. Storage info follows.

To mix, you can use a suribachi (I love this Japanese grinding bowl bowl with a rough unglazed center that I learned about from Alice Waters.); mortar and pestle; or an electric spice grinder. (I have a Cuisinart SG10 which holds all of this mix.) You can also use ANY BOWL and a wooden spoon.

When mixing spices grind the largest ones first…ie. peppercorns and bay leaves. When these are relatively small, add the all the remaining herbs & blend to your preference, coarse to very fine. Try to have consistent particle sizes of all the herbs so you have true blend of flavors for your recipe.

Store AIRTIGHT in a dark/tinted GLASS container for up to 6 months. Beyond that your flavors and nutrients will dim. You can freeze your blend (IN FREEZER PROOF AIR TIGHT GLASS NOT METAL OR PLASTIC) and maybe get 12 months. (PLASTIC is toxic next to any food! It is NOT airtight. I love Ball straight-sided freezer safe jars! Here’s Dr. Weil’s view about SILICONE which might be an option…https://www.drweil.com/diet-nutrition/cooking-cookware/cooking-with-silicone/

I have also mixed my blend with olive oil, plopped teaspoonfuls on a parchment lined tray, frozen and popped out into my BALL jars and returned to freezer. Pre-measured with an extra boost of EVOO. 12 months maximum storage but I use within 6 months.

MAGIC HEALTH

This is just a teeny bit about the health gifts.

As a nutritional chef, I have learned that this blend is loaded with LIFE — phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals, etc. Remember more is not necessarily better. Taste your foods as you cook to see what is your spice preference.

  • Fennel – Carminative (antiflatulent), galactagogue (increases breast milk supply), expectorant/antitussive (relieves chronic cough), anti-colic, stomachic (aids digestion), anti-inflammatory (supports overall wellness). I LOVE FENNEL!
  • Savory – Anti-oxidant (see oregano blog https://chamberslife.com/?s=oregano for information about antioxidants), anti-septic, anti-fungal, expectorant, stomachic, aphrodisiac, thirst quencher.
  • Thyme – Antiseptic, antibacterial, antiviral, antioxidant, anti fungal, expectorant, anti-candida, vermifuge (expels parasites), carminative, antitussive, antispasmodic, diaphoretic (skin redness increasing blood flow for musculoskeletal/arthritis/rheumatism pain relief).
  • Basil – Antidepressant, detoxicant, headache relief, lung support, digestive.
  • Marjoram – See Oregano.
  • Parsley – Diuretic, blood purifier, digestive, galactagogue, emmenagogue (menstrual flow stimulant), carminative, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, expectorant.
  • Oregano – https://chamberslife.com/?s=oregano
  • Rosemary – Nervine (calms nerves), antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antifungal, antimicrobial, diaphoretic, analgesic (pain relief), antispasmodic (muscle spasm relief), antioxidant, carminative, liver tonic, astringent, circulatory support. I LOVE ROSEMARY! Here’s a little side note about the magic of Rosemary. https://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/20/world/what-in-the-world/rosemary-and-time-does-this-italian-hamlet-have-a-recipe-for-long-life.html
  • Bay Leaf – Anti-carcinogen, antioxidant, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, diuretic, calmative, antiflatulent, sedative, sodium replacement for taste. DO NOT EAT WHOLE BAY LEAVES AS THEY MAY CAUSE CHOKING/GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS!
  • Lavender Flowers – Antibacterial, digestive, cholagogue (promotes bile flow), carminative, nervine (Lavender is amazing, helping with sleep, depression, fatigue, anxiety, etc.), insect repellent. Suggested lavender varieties include Provence, Melissa, Royal Velvet, Buena Vista and English.
  • Tarragon – Digestive, antiflatulent, cholagogue, nervine, appetite stimulant, metabolism booster. *Tarragon has very distinctive flavor can overpower other herbs, so you may want to start with less to see if your taste buds agree. If your tongue feels a little numb when you eat Tarragon, I am told that’s part of it’s magic.
  • Black Peppercorns – Digestive, enhances bioavailability, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, improves cognition, expectorant, antitussive. EAT ON EVERYTHING!

SOURCES & REFERENCES, ETC.

www.katolenyardley.com The Good Living Guide to Natural and Herbal Remedies by Katolen Yardley

www.thymeherbal.com Recipes from the Herbalist’s Kitchen by Brittany Wood Nickerson

Dr. William Li https://drwilliamli.com author — Eat to Beat Disease

Rebecca Katz – AMAZING RECIPES! She so gets the flavor thing — MAKE — www.rebeccakatz.com/recipe-box/triple-triple-brittle

And last but not least — I love this podcast because Dr. Gundry has a plethora of health professionals as guests whether he agrees with their views or not. So if you are a sponge for health info this is your go to… …https://drgundry.com/the-dr-gundry-podcast/

Best Possible Chili Ever

Chilly out means chili in. Vegan. My mother was a test kitchen — and we were her focus group. She tried hundreds of chili recipes. Some were so spicy, it became a challenge for us four kids. “Whoever eats this gets all the pie!” My brother Chris always won because NOTHING could stop him from that pie. Lemon Meringue was my mom Ruth’s specialty.
THIS IS THE WINNER CHILI MOM!

Possibly The Best Chili Ever

  • 12 oz. Impossible Meat™ ground beef or your choice of “meat” or mushrooms or more beans
  • 1 package McCormick™ Original Chili Mix *
  • 1 can pinto beans (Goya™ organic)
  • 1 14 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1/2 c diced tomatoes (peeled and seeded)
  • 2 T avocado oil
  • 1/2 C chopped yellow onion
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced 
  • 1 t ground turmeric
  • 1 T dry onions
  • 1 T chili powder +/- heat as you prefer
  • 1 T mushroom powder (reishi or a blend)
  • 1/2 t asafoetida powder (helps legume digestion, oniony flavor, member of the celery family) 
  • 1 t fresh minced oregano
  • 1 t dry oregano leaves (+ immunity)
  • 1 t ground cumin
  • 1/4 t fresh black pepper (+ nutrient absorption)
  • 1 T psyllium husks
  • 3-5 astragalus root strips (+ immunity)
  • 1/2 – 1 cup of water

Heat the oil in a pot large enough to hold all the ingredients. Brown the Impossible with 1/4 t sea salt, trying to keep some chunks. Add onion & garlic. Turn heat to low until alliums are clear. Add remaining herbs & spices and stir well. Add 1/2 C water, beans, tomato sauce, psyllium & tomatoes. Add more water for the thickness you prefer. Simmer gently for 10 minutes. Remove astragalus & discard. Serve with green onions, cheese or faux cheese and crackers. I like a glass of milk with my chili. Have soy, oat, almond or grass fed diary according to what makes your body happy.

  • You can make your own chili mix if you like. I know, McCormick’s is a non-organic item which is usually NOT my go to. BUT comfort memory of this McCormick blend won in this recipe.
This recipe is dedicated to Lenice Ruth Keele Chambers, my mom, who was the best test kitchen ever.

Winter Proof You!

Neti, Coconut oil, Astragalus, Sea Salt and…

NETI. DAILY. I imagine the ocean through my sinuses as I let the water trickle through. Use a ceramic neti pot. Use sterile water! (Boil water for 3 minutes and let cool to room temperature.) Sea Salt, a pinch is plenty for about 1/4 cup of water.

OIL. DAILY. Your favorite healthy oil will work but coconut helps soothe, protect and smells great.(Here’s that beach connection for me again.) Or you can get unscented. Sesame (untoasted) is also a great oil. Dab your little finger into the oil and oil your nostrils. Not only does this help with dryness so common when we turn on the heat but it also deters microbes. Oil everything on your body while you’re at it for super health!

Astragalus Root – just throw a few pieces into everything you cook! It’s a great immunity booster!

EAT. Alliums! Onions, garlic, leeks, ramps, scallions, shallots. Think about making a “fire cider.” RAW apple cider vinegar (Braggs or any unpasteurized organic, unfiltered, unheated 5% acidity type), 1 part each onions, ginger, horseradish, 1/2 part garlic & a dash of cayenne, cover with vinegar in a glass jar. Cover with clean parchment paper and then a lid (not metal) and let age for about 4 weeks. I like to use on my salads. There are a lot of recipes online so find one that gets your cells smiling.

AND EAT. Eat seasonal vegetables and fruits & good fats. This depends on where you live. Here in North Carolina that means cruciferous everything, sweet potatoes, winter squashes and pumpkins, pears, apples, pecans. Good fats (think little fatty fish like sardines and anchovies) avocado and coconut oil for heat cooking and olive oil (not heated).

SLUMBER. Last but MOST – get lots of sleep. There’s a lot more darkness this time of year which is a natural hint to cozy in. The latest in sleep research – at least 7.75 hours a night and be consistent with your bedtime and awakening. You might be able to have a bit less sleep if you are consistent.

Don’t forget all that other great stuff you do — meditating, exercising, loving time with your family & friends, time outdoors.

COZY Health!

Kimchi Yumi

Ancient, created thousands of years ago in Korea, kimchi is the perfect gut flora food. Fun to make, it’s really delicious, even if it does smell a bit farty as it cures.

Market List: Napa Cabbage, Daikon, Bok Choy, Carrots, (Pea pods, snow peas, peas, seaweeds, – choose your own added vegetables.) Ginger, Garlic, Onions (green/yellow/white), Leeks, and/or shallots, red hot peppers (fresh dried or in a sauce just be sure no preservatives). Preservative free Fish Sauce (Naum Plum) if  you like. Have FUN!

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Be sure all utensils are are clean. CLEAN means washed, rinsed, then rinsed again with boiling water. PREPARE VEGES: NAPA CABBAGE chopped 12 cups  BOK CHOY chopped 3 cups CARROTS 1 cup sliced DAIKON RADISH cubed 4 cups SEA SALT 8 tablespoons FILTERED WATER 8 cups  Place the vegetables in a large clean ceramic or glass container (never metal or plastic). Dissolve the sea salt in the water to make the brine and pour over the vegetables. Add a plate weighted with a jar of water to keep the vegetables submerged. Cover with a clean cloth  Let cure at least 8 hours, up to 12 hours. Drain the brine and reserve.

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Prepare the spices: GINGER 3 to 5 Tablespoons, grated. ONIONS 1 large WHITE or YELLOW one cut in crescents or chunks; add maybe 5 GREEN onions, diced if you like. LEEK green and white parts sliced in thin rounds, about a cup. GARLIC 5 to 8 large cloves minced. HOT RED CHILIS: 1 ONE 1  Hey – I make my own kimchi because I am not a fiery spice girl. Add what you like but remember, you can’t “de-fire” it.  Taste the veggies and insure they aren’t too salty. If they are too salty, just dilute the brine LATER. Add the alliums and spice mix to the vegetables and blend well with clean hands. You can transfer the entire mixture to a clean (boiled clean) crock at this point or leave in the ceramic bowl. If the vegetables were too salty dilute the brine. Remember, the salt is what helps to safely cure the kimchi so don’t desalinize them. Add brine until your kimchi is fully submerged with about an inch of liquid over it.
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Add a clean plate that covers the vegetables and weight it with a clean large bottle of water. Cover completely with a clean cloth. (Notice the “clean” repeated.) Place in a dust free area for it to nap and ferment. Check daily and press under the brine. Is there yucky stuff? White mold? Just remove it. Other weird stuff, don’t risk eating it. My kimchi ferments for 7 days at 70°F. Then I pack it into clean (sterilized) Ball jars and press it firmly down to insure covered with brine. Seal with clean Ball enamel lined lids. Don’t use metal utensils to scoop your kimchi out of its jar – only wood, ceramic (like Asian soup spoons) or silicone ones. I  drink the leftover brine – no kidding. Kimchi will continue to ferment in the refrigerator, just more slowly. Heat destroys the healthy bacteria, so add Kimchi to maximum 115°F broths. Delicious in miso and you get 2 gut goodies! Always refer to the real expert —Wild Fermentation 

 

KARMA – Tuesday with Deepak Chopra’s Seven Spiritual Laws of Success

Welcome to a bit of Deepak Chopra’s weekly guide to make your life more peaceful and joyful. Chopra’s Seven Spiritual Laws of Success shares how striving isn’t necessary, that effortless joy attracts your deepest desires.

Here’s how I came to love Deepak’s wisdom.

In 1998, I lived in Singapore. Deepak was coming to speak. My life was in absolute turmoil and chaos. I had left a career, daughters and life back in Baltimore to follow my darling husband to Asia-Pacific where the only identity I would be taking was my role as his wife. Because he would now be president of a certain power tool company there, I would be the president’s wife. It was exciting and frightening.

It became even more frightening when I discovered that he and my former employee, an art director for my marketing firm, were lovers. As I dumped our life photo collection onto our Queen Astrid Park bed, a little silver chest with a piece of her hair and a love note bounced out.

So after confronting my darling husband, I went from a size 12 to a size 4 and my scalp started crawling on itself. As my Singapore psychiatrist wrote my Prozac script, he said, “It’s called paresthesias or formication.”

“Fornication, with an n,” I said, “not an m.”

However, he was correct. So was I.

Because at that moment, I really understood how a plea of “temporary insanity” could make sense, I also knew God decided, on purpose, to place me half way around the world from my former employee/friend. It was, obviously, time for me to reconnect with my soul.

Stripped of most of my professional and personal identity just by moving to Singapore, the best voice I had in my head was not my ego’s. I needed a higher more powerful source.

Chopra showed up in Singapore, having followed his own cosmic message. As I listened to his soothing voice sharing that we are never alone but single drops of water that form the ocean together, my heart settled. I went up to him after his talk and just looked into his eyes for two seconds and thanked him.

I thought to myself, “God, wouldn’t it be amazing and perfect to study with Deepak at The Chopra Center.”

In 2014, I began my yoga/meditation/Ayurveda training at The Chopra Center. There I studied with amazing life leaders, Deepak Chopra, Martha Beck, Andrew Weil, Suhas Kshirsagar, Claire Diab, to name just a few. In 2016, as I was performing my final test, Surya Namaskar (sun salutations) with the corresponding Sanskrit mantras, I remembered that wish I had made in Singapore almost two decades before.

It seemed effortless, but every moment of my life had to be orchestrated (by God) to make my Chopra Center experience possible. All I did was show up.

A Course in Miracles states: A miracle is simply a change in perception. 

 

First you have to encourage your mind to love the discipline it takes to be open to miracles. I am thankful for miracles. I believe by quieting my mind and letting God do what God does best, I attract miracles.

Mostly because, God made you a miracle, a part of me.

On Tuesdays, try practicing the Law of Karma.

 

My actions are aligned with cosmic law. 

  • Witness your choices today.
  • Consider the consequences of your choices.
  • Listen to your body.

The Sanskrit mantra is: Om Kriyam Namah and it is associated with the first Chakra called Muladhara, which is red &  is located at the base of your spine.

OM

 

Sauerkraut – Delight your gut bugs!

YUMMY sauerkraut is so easy to make. Besides just scooping it out and eating it, I add it to my salads, as a garnish for soups, and as an extra in my wraps. All you need is cabbage, sea salt, a crock or a glass jar, something to weight the cabbage under the brine and a cloth to cover it. I like about 1 part red cabbage to 3 parts green because it is just so brilliantly pink when it’s done. My KRAUT GURU’s book WILD FERMENTATION (Sandor Ellix Katz) is the best bedtime read. Next up, I’m trying – MISO and Summer Half Sour Pickles.

The other book that keeps me up nights digesting it (LOL) is THE GOOD GUT by          Justin & Erica Sonnenburg, PhDs.

Oregano – Power in a Pinch

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What is an OXIDANT? I did a little research and tried to simplify this. An oxidant is an agent that removes an electron from another molecule causing it to become unstable. With an electron missing, the unstable molecule can become a free radical. Free radicals are kind of like they sound: FREE – floating and wanting to attach and RADICAL like wild wicked unstable molecules. They can cause damage by attaching to healthy molecules (like your DNA). We are surrounded by oxidants. Our air, our processed water, our food, the containers for our foods, even our own stress, etc. etc. etc. Cut an apple and watch it oxidize (turn brown) before your eyes. Rust is a type of oxidation. ANTIOXIDANTS donate the missing electron creating a stable, healthy molecule. Oregano is loaded with nature’s antioxidants, as are many herbs and spices.

In HOW NOT TO DIE by Michael Greger, M.D. writes …whole-wheat pasta with marinara sauce has about 80 units of antioxidant power. Add a handful of steamed broccoli and it goes up to 150. Then add a single teaspoon of dried oregano or 3 teaspoons of fresh oregano and you double your meal’s power up to 300 units.

Oregano (Origanum vulgare) is loaded with Vitamin K; two teaspoons of the dry herb give you 14% of the RDA. K is important for blood health, bone strength, And health of cells that line veins and arteries. K helps improve insulin resistance helping prevent type 2 diabetes according to Medical News Today. It also has healthy amounts of Vitamin E, manganese, iron, calcium and fiber.

Andrew Weil writes, “The health benefits of oregano include its antibacterial and antioxidant properties: oregano has been used orally to treat respiratory tract infections, gastrointestinal disorders, urinary tract infections, headaches and cardiovascular concerns. One study found that components of oregano may have protective effects against the oxidation of low-density lipoproteins (LDL), perhaps due to their high content of polyphenols.

The volatile oils from this herb have also been used to treat allergies and sinusitis, earaches, cold and flu, and intestinal parasites. Topically, oil of oregano has been used as an antibacterial to treat fungal infections, dandruff, acne, and mouth concerns like canker sores, toothaches and gingivitis. It can also be used to repel and treat insect bites and stings, as well as for steam inhalation therapy.

AND IMPORTANT — Pregnant women should not take supplements of oregano due to its potential to raise the risk of spontaneous abortion.”  Dr. Weil – Oregano

GROW it! It is so easy to grow in a hot sunny place. It spreads into a beautiful green blanket so be sure to give it lots of room or limit the root area. Pick it in spring before it blooms. In the morning right after the dew has dried, it will have the most pungent flavor. It dries well just rubber-banded in a little bunch and hung in a dry space. You can cover it with a paper circle, like a hat, if you want to avoid dust. Mince it with EVOO and freeze it in clumps. Never be without oregano – your own organic, local variety!

AFTER WRITING ALL OF THIS ABOUT OREGANO I GOT HUNGRY FOR ANTIOXIDANTS…

OREGANO INFUSED Fennel with Chickpeas & Onions

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  • 2 T Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
  • 1 c diced fennel
  • 1/2 medium onion cut into crescents
  • 1/2 c cooked chickpeas
  • 1/2 t minced fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 t minced fresh thyme
  • 5 t minced fresh oregano
  • 1/2 t turmeric
  • 1/4 c water
  • sea salt & freshly ground black pepper

Heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the vegetables and sauté for about 3 minutes. Add the herbs and chickpeas and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the water and simmer until it has evaporated and the mixture slightly caramelizes. Add sea salt and pepper to taste. Serve topped with a teaspoon of ghee, if you like.

I had a delicious lunch! Hope you did too.

Belynda

 

 

 

 

Happy Mother’s Life!

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This morning I was greeted with this card and this book.  Well, and a lick from Lucy, our lover dog. The card is filled with laughter – little bits of Matti’s and my life together these days. Her original illustrations color it and on the back are the words to “Summertime.”  (Last week she asked me my favorite song.) BUT, here’s the big surprise, she has learned to play the song on her Baby Taylor guitar that she just began playing three weeks ago! And so we sing together this morning. And we sing together again. Like we will sing every day of our lives. Thank you God for blessing me with motherhood. (3 daughters 3 grandchildren) This Life.

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Now about THIS book! Take one tiny step to experience the life of a yogi. The last line of the opening is “…build community around mindful living.” Being gentle with our selves and our world. Remembering each other in kindness and laughter and well, song. Happy Mother’s Day!

3-Day Fresh: Bean Bliss

See my blog about how to cook beans. Cook your beans. You’ll have 3 cups of beans. With a slotted spoon scoop the beans from the broth. Reserve broth! You now have beans for three different meals.

Great Northern Bean & Potato Salad    (Great as a wrap filling, too)

  • 1.5 c cooked beans
  • 1/2 c cubed cooked potatoes
  • 1 T diced red pepper
  • 1/4 c diced yellow pepper
  • 1/2 c barely steamed broccoli pieces
  • 2 T minced leek
  • 1/2 c diced purple cabbage
  • 2 T diced celery
  • 2 T minced parsley
  • 1/3 c extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 T lemon juice
  • 1 T Braggs vinegar
  • 1 t Dijon mustard
  • 1 t maple syrup
  • 1 t herbes de provence
  • 1 t curry powder

Mix dressing ingredients above and toss with beans, veggies and parsley. Add sea salt and fresh black pepper to taste. Garnish with beets.

  • 1/2- 1 c cubed beets  Sauté in 1 T each water and olive oil; add 1/2 t herbes de provence and 1 t balsamic vinegar. Cook until all liquids evaporate and beets caramelize a bit. Serve on the side or as garnish. Beets can overpower the other flavors if mixed in.

Bean Green Soup

  • 4 c water or vegetable stock or add vegetable bullion to the water
  • 1/2 c chopped onion
  • 4 minced garlic cloves
  • 4 c mixed cruciferous greens
  • 2 carrots diced
  • 1/4 c chopped parsley
  • 2 t minced fresh rosemary
  • 4 medium potatoes cubed.
  • 1 c cooked great northern beans
  • 2 T ghee
  • lemon juice
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
  • Garnish: 1/2 c yogurt mixed with 2t Maple syrup and 2T water

Place water or both in saucepan and add all ingredients. Cook for about twenty minutes. Puree with an immersion blender and swirl with yogurt.

Bean Stock Pot

Bean broth from cooking great northern beans – should be about 3 to 4 cups.

Vegetables of your choice, I like celery, carrots, onions, leeks, cabbage, zucchini, potatoes, a clove of garlic.  Fresh greens (kale, spinach, collards) to add right before serving along with the remaining beans – about 1/2 cup beans.

Herbs of your choice – parsley, rosemary, thyme, bay leaf & sea salt and black pepper.

Serve with crunchy pumpkin seeds and or a touch of Parmesan.

Voilà Bean Bliss!