Archives for posts with tag: mint

brilliant echinacea flowers in front of a nice patch of mint

Is mint taking over your garden?  Here is one way to use it up.

* Take a good fist full of mint from the garden
* Coarsely chop it with scissors and put the mint into a shaker or jar
* Add a little gin to the shaker. Add 3 ice cubes and juice of a lime
* Shake vigorously to bruise the mint. Allow to sit and infuse as long as you can stand (at least 2 minutes)
* Strain into a glass filled with ice
* Top with tonic water or sparkling water, stir, voila!

Tammy Schmidt, Montreal

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hello lemon balm, mint and friends!

I like to go for coffee with friends a couple times a week.  These are always important times for me where I am able to relax and unwind and just be with my buds.   When you live in a city and you have such a small apartment that your living room is also your dining room, entertainment centre, arts and crafts room, library and home office, it feels good to get out and embrace the perks of living in a city by going to a favourite coffee shop.

Last week, I was at a famously ubiquitous coffee shop with my friend.  She wanted neither coffee nor tea; she wanted a smoothie.  The problem was that the smoothie cost over $5 once the taxes were included! And that was the ‘prepared’ smoothie; the ‘fresh’ deluxe one was upwards of seven. Yikes. My friend and I go for coffee a couple times a week.  $5 per occasion makes for $10 a week.  Do this around  40 weeks a year, and it all adds up to about $400.  This is a lot of mooola for a few leaves infused in water, a couple percolated beans or a cup of juice and blended fruits.  This calculation is not something new to me. I read about the Latte Factor a couple years ago in a book by David Bach; it still shocks me to figure out the annual expenses for some things.

After feeling a little soured over the high cost of smoothies, my friend suggested that we bring a snack and a thermos containing some sort of drink to a park.  I think this is a great idea, particularly in the summer when Montreal’s parks are so beautiful.

So, this week we are going to try it.  We will enjoy an hour in the park instead of going to the coffee shop.  I can’t rule out coffee shops all together, because they are weather-proof places for me to expand my space.  That said, parks are apart of my space too. I can enjoy fine company in an equally pleasant park as many times as my friends and I wish to do so throughout the summer and into the fall.

To accompany this economical twist to our tradition, here is the recipe for what I am going to bring to our tea-time in the park. It is practically free!

Almost Free Tea

Go to the garden and fill a 1 litre jar with several handfuls of lemon balm, mint and other leaves you can identify as leaves suitable for tea (don’t be a hero and pick something you sort of, kind of recognize… only pick the ones you really know!  🙂 .  Pour a litre of boiling water over the leaves and allow to steep for 15 minutes.  Strain the leaves and allow the tea to cool.  Add a little honey and/or a squeeze of lemon to the tea.  Pour into a thermos filled with ice.  Bring the thermos to a park and enjoy with friends.

*If you do not have a garden or cannot identify plants, then choose a pre-packaged dried tea that you enjoy. I suggest a tangy one made with hibiscus.

Tammy Schmidt, Montreal.

Painting from Koehler's Medicinal Plants (1887)

Salvia officinalis

This is a sentimental entry as well as somewhat of a departure from the typical ‘Fleurbain concept’.

In the last few days, I have thought about the folks who have got through to me.  These people have been my teachers.

I am overwhelmed with a sense of gratitude for the people in my life who have not seen knowledge and skill as exclusive, a commodity, a rare resource.  Instead, they have had the energy and time to teach me.  They were able to teach me things I did not even imagine prior to knowing these things.  I feel rich in my experience.

I have a positive outlook, most of the time. Other times, I can be stubborn and have my doubts.  I think this is a good thing; it means I have a brain and I have an opinion about my reality.  In the end, however, I feel lucky when I look back and see that people have stuck it out with me and have helped me adopt new understandings or take on new skills. They helped me out of my mud, the sticky clay fixing me to ‘what I know’, and they did this even when I may have been initially filled with doubt that there was anything new in a particular direction.

These people have confidence and skill.  This helps in keeping my attention.  They care about people and they are not afraid to share.  They are not threatened by others having these skills and information.  They want me to know, because they care that I succeed.  They also don’t act like they own me just because they taught me something. They are happy to pass it on for the sake of passing it on.  I like that.  I hope that I can do the same.

Here is a tea that will help you stay alert and ready for new information while you are with your teachers.

Mix together:

1 part green tea (Camellia sinensis promotes a calm mental focus)

1 part peppermint (Mentha x piperita is excellent for nervousness, anxiety, mental fog and lethargy)

1/2 part rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis is a well known memory aid and circulatory stimulant)

1/2 part sage (Salvia officinalis. I occasionally add sage and drink the tea cold when I want to stay cool and alert while under pressure.)

Put one teaspoon of this mixture in a teapot or mason jar.  Add two cups of freshly boiled water.  Steep for 10 minutes and enjoy.

Tammy Schmidt, Montreal

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