Wednesday, February 28, 2018

So Mushroom in My Heart for You medicinally for centuries, Reishi mushrooms (Ganoderma lucidum) are finding a renewed popularity among the gardening, fungi, and natural health set, and if it lives up to the hype, it's little wonder why!

What began as a random, cryptic text from my brother, the hobbyist-forager, bringing a local, family-owned, fungi-cultivating company (Fungi Perfecti) to my attention, ended with me ordering, and growing several of my own patches.  After some trials, and a few errors on my end of things, I had my first harvest!  The search was on!  I needed to find something to do with my newly acquired Antler Reishi, or Rokkaku-Reishi Mushrooms, and since they're incredibly difficult to grind into a powder without the help of industrial equipment (just ask my poor food processor!) I decided a hot beverage would be the best way to put them to use.  Without further ado...

Reishi "Tea"

Here's what you need:
4 cups Water
2 heaping Tablespoons of Antler Reishi Mushroom.  You want to keep the ratio as 4-5 cups of water to 3-5 grams of mushroom.

Here's what you do:
In an uncoated, or enamel pot, combine 4 cups of water with mushroom chunks and heat to just below boiling.  Reduce heat and cover, making sure to keep your liquid below a simmer.  Steep for 2-4 hours.

Now that you've got your Reishi Tea prepared you can either continue with the recipe, or strain, bottle, and refrigerate the liquid until you are ready to use it.

Mushroom FoMo (faux-mocha) Latte
Here's what you need:
6 whole Cloves
6 pods Cardamom
1/4 tsp ground Allspice
1/4 tsp ground Cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground Nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground Ginger
4 tsp powdered Chicory
4 Tbsp powdered Carob
4 Tbsp pure, organic Maple Syrup
2 cups full-fat, organic, canned Coconut Milk

Here's what you do:
If you've stored your Reishi Tea, warm it up in an uncoated or enamel pot, if you're continuing without pause from the previous steps add clove, cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger, and steep on very low heat for 20 minutes.  Strain, and in your 4 cups of liquid stir in 4 Tbsp of powdered Carob, and 4 tsp of powdered Chicory until dissolved, and 4 Tbsp pure, organic Maple Syrup (or Honey), adding 2 cups of room temperature full-fat, organic, canned Coconut Milk at the end.  Serve, sprinkle with nutmeg, and enjoy!

What I've learned:
If you're growing your own Antler Reishi Mushrooms try to break them or cut them up closer to harvesting them.  I thought I'd dry them out, and they'd just grind right up, instead they hardened to a wood-like state, and scratched the hell out of my food processor, which means extra careful cleaning after each use from now on, since food particles hiding in deep grooves in cookware is a great place for foodborne illnesses to get their start in life!  Those of you with counter top grain mills may have better luck in this area than I did.  When making the Mushroom FoMo Latte, I pop the cardamom pods before throwing them in the pot to steep.  I don't go so far as to dig out all the little seeds, I just give them a good crack, and toss them in.  If you want to get fancy, and top your beverage off with a dollop of whipped coconut cream, check out this post at Tasty Yummies for instructions, and a handy little index for which brands whip up the best.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Fresh Start: Be Your Own Guru...

Part Two:

Be your own guru, because no one else wants the job, and anyone who does, probably doesn't deserve it.

Unfortunately (fortunately?) you've got to do your own work.  There's really no way around it.  If you're not ready to do the work, you're not ready to be well, and live your fullest, most vibrant life.  It is as simple, and as complicated as that.  The ability to be brutally honest with yourself is a huge asset in the healing process, if you've already accomplished this in your life, you've cleared the highest hurdle as far as I'm concerned.  Everything after that is just a matter of being a diligent researcher, changing daily habits, and upgrading your life (start with small, realistic increments for best results until you're confident in the strength of your commitment), and becoming your own healthcare advocate. 

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

You and I Collide

Twin Flames

There was a feeling of inevitability when I met you.  The sense that we would be together; that there would be a moment when you would look at me in a certain way, and we would cross the threshold from friendship into something so much more.

We spoke once about lovers who kept finding each other, no matter how many times the world came between them.  And I think I had to break your heart, and you had to break mine.  How else could we know the worth of what we were given?

I think you were always meant to know me a little better than anyone else.  And our lives were fated to converge like some cosmic dance.  I know there is a terrible distance between us.  But our bodies are made of celestial light, and we are hurtling through space and time, toward the most beautiful collision.
- Lang Leav

Friday, February 9, 2018

I Love You From My Head Tomatoes!

This week marked the six week point before Spring, and around here that means dusting off the seed basket because it's tomato time!  My foolproof method includes egg cartons, potting soil, and a large seal-able food container.

I start with a clean egg carton (cutting off the lid to use as a mini-bed to start my poppies in), filling each divot with potting soil, placing about 3-5 seeds per divot, and lightly covering with more potting soil.  After placing the egg carton in the base of the food container, I add 1/4" of water to the food container in order to keep the egg carton damp without disturbing the seeds by watering from the top.  Next I place the lid over top (not tightly) leaving small gaps for fresh air to enter, and place the entire apparatus on my clothes dryer to keep the contents of the container cozy, but not hot.  In 5-6 days vigorous, little green sprouts should be making their presence known!  At this point it's time to move them to a sunny window.

Once seedlings are established (about 2-3" in height), I separate them and move them into larger containers for the hardening off process.  Averaging 2-3 starts per container, I allow them to grow indoors to about 6-8" tall before taking them outside for a few hours a day for bright sunlight, and fresh air.  When Spring storms begin to wane, and it's time to plant the starts in the garden, don't be afraid to plant them pretty deep.  The little hairlike structures along the tomato plant's stem can turn into roots for the plant if covered in soil.  This is great if your starts became a little too leggy to look like they'll withstand even the mildest Summer breeze, just plant them a little deeper than you typically think you should, and give your plant the opportunity to establish a robust root system - after that everything else seems to work itself out.

Happy planting!

Monday, February 5, 2018

Berried in Bliss

Here's what you need:
  • Ice cubes 6-8
  • Bananas 4
  • Blackberries (frozen) 2 cups
  • Raspberries (frozen) 1 cup 
  • Ginger Root 1" knob, grated
  • Açaí Powder 1 teaspoon
  • Carob Powder 1 tablespoon
  • Shredded Coconut 2 tablespoons
  • Full-Fat Organic Canned Coconut Milk 2/3 cup
  • Pure Organic Maple Syrup 1/4 cup
  • Water 1 cup
Here's what you do:
Throw everything in a large blender (ice in first!), and blend the hell out of it.  Pour, sprinkle with a pinch of extra coconut shreds, serve & enjoy!  Remember, if you like a thicker consistency, peel, break into chunks, and freeze your bananas first (I like to keep a bag of them on hand for when the mood strikes).

When February rolls around, it seems, we're bombarded with decadent desserts, and chocolate everything at every turn.  For those of us who can't participate in the month long cacao-love-in, I've created a faux-chocolate treat we can spoil ourselves with.  Make a batch for you and your sweetheart, and help them warm up afterwards!