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Happy birthday, Natasha!

Wishing you a beautiful and relaxing day.  🙂

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nettle, hibiscus, rose and cinnamon

Combine 2 tablespoons nettles (Urtica dioica), 2 tablespoons hibiscus, 1 tablespoon rose petals and half a cinnamon stick in a teapot.

Pour boiling water over the herbs, put the lid on and let it steep at least 10 minutes.  This jewel-toned tea tastes divine if you allow it to cool over an hour or more.

Replenish the teapot with room temperature water as required and enjoy this refreshing beverage throughout the day.

Flavour is another reason for using weeds in food.

Herbalists like myself love to talk about the wonderful nutritional benefits to be discovered in common garden weeds such as lambs quarters, stinging nettles, dandelion, chickweed and many, many more.  The above link introduces you to how weeds make food more enticing in terms of taste.  If  herbalists are not so convincing when we go on and on about nutritious weeds, perhaps this article can convince you to try them for the flavour.  I still remember the first time I tried a weed as a gourmet food.  My neighbour, Eleanor, invited me over for lunch and she added chickweed to the salad.  This weed tasted fresh, cool and sweet.  The flavour reminded me of corn on the cob and it was simply delicious.

Do you cook with common weeds?  I would love to hear about it.

(A note to the nature newbies!  If you do not know how to identify plants, you should seek out experts who can introduce these plants to you.)

Thanks to Sarka, my good friend and the author of Wellness Intel, for passing along this article to me.  I do love it!

Have a great weekend, everyone!

English: Stinging nettles (Urtica dioica).

Stinging nettles (Urtica dioica)

charming violas

Tammy Schmidt, Montreal

I must be part monkey.  Or perhaps I am still in touch with my inner child, or maybe I am in touch with my inner monkey child.  Just like a kid, when I need to get something done, I turn it into a game.

My latest way to motivate myself is inspired by life coach Gail Blanke.  She has written a book called, “Throw Out Fifty Things.”  Well, I have been throwing out, giving away or recycling 50 things a day for the last few days.  And I have to say, since it is a game, it is very easy to do.  I am not as attached to things, I am able to let go.  My rules are that it does not matter what it is, as long as I get rid of 50 things, I am still in the game.

It started with the bathroom.  Old, never-going-to-use-again products, hair clips that seem to never make sense for me, samples for products that – when I read the ingredient list – makes me cringe…etc.  Done!

Next… kitchen… a couple old corks (compost), and old elastics; all-that-is-left-is-the-wire twist ties and old preserves past their prime that I have not touched for over a year.  Ding!

After that, the office: some receipts, notes, papers; all is shredded and recycled.

And after that, the front entry: some old, I-am-sure-I-will-never-use-this glasses cases, a pair of sunglasses, some bags… not to 50 yet. Ummm, what’s in the closet?  Some clothes I never seem to use…. AND, done!

I am not playing by Gail’s rules.  She has a really cool game going on and I like her motivational talks!  Truly!  For my rules, I count a thing as a thing. She counts a magazine collection as a thing.  I like to count every magazine.  I don’t care if it is a broken elastic, a lost little reject staple or an old never used and disgusting electric toothbrush or a perfectly good vase that I can subtract from my seemingly redundant collection of vases that I rarely use.  My goal is to assign 20 minutes a day to finding 50 things to give away, recycle or throw away. I will do this until I am feeling free and relaxed in my space.

Some people go their whole lives collecting beyond their means. I know this without ever having watched “Hoarders.”  Life has afforded me this observation in real-time.

What got me started on this?  I visited my friend’s place a couple weeks ago and I noticed that they had done a complete overhaul.  They had done this because they were leaving to travel for a couple months.  They wanted their place all neat and tidy for whoever was going to apartment sit for them.  They have been back for a year and the place still looks amazing.  As soon as I saw this, I knew I had to do something.  I needed to create a game that helped me get the job done, hahaha.

Another thing that motivated me was hearing a story of a family that had a proper livingroom for hosting guests, but beyond this, the place was a mess.  The family had this symbolic mess as well as an actual, serious mess beyond the view of guests.  Hearing this made me wonder about what the stuff we hold onto really symbolizes.

Yeah, if I keep going with this, I could end up like a person who only owns 50 things.  That notion seems surprisingly liberating… but I also have to laugh because many of the things this guy owns are major brand things.  Not attached, but still very “plugged-in.”  Cute.

So, I picked 50.  Perhaps you are ahead of the game and in so many ways, including a very catchy tune, 12 would be more suitable for you.  If you want to feel a little lighter, try throwing out (recycling or giving away) a few things.  And don’t turn it into a task, make it a game.

Tammy Schmidt, Montreal.

English: Avocados (Persea americana) Français ...

Show your love with one of the world’s healthiest fruits, the avocado.

In two minutes flat, avocados are transformed into the creamiest chocolate pudding ever invented.  Don’t believe me? Just try it!

Chocolate Pudding that says I ♥ you! 

1 perfectly ripe avocado

4 – 6 tablespoons organic coconut milk

3 heaping tablespoons fair trade organic cocoa powder

2-3 tablespoons maple syrup

1 tsp vanilla

Just before serving, use a hand blender to blend all the above ingredients until smooth.  Serve in your style of glass, perhaps two martini glasses or in 4 tiny heart shaped bowls.  This pudding goes well with bananas, berries and truffles.

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