When you live in our neck of the woods, preparing for winter is important as winters are long and can be quite harsh. Our family has already been making preparations. Our wood is now cut and stacked and our chimney is clean. We are savoring our garden harvest (meager as it is because I did not plant a full garden this year) knowing that cold weather will leach into our daily lives fairly soon. We have already experienced temperatures last week with highs below 60 degrees and lows in the upper 30’s or low 40’s. While it is somewhat welcome for walking, working outdoors and sleeping, it is an omen of what will be coming. Within the month, we will be in full autumn peak colors and may see a few snowflakes and frosts. So I am using today, Sunday, to take measures to bolster our health and prepare for colder weather which often breeds more colds, coughs, and flu as we move indoors.
The first thing on my agenda is to make a big crock-pot batch of spaghetti sauce (not pictured here) with lots of garlic and seasonings. My family loves my spaghetti sauce and having some containers in our freezer makes for easy meals as Annie’s Woolens Holiday season begins to gear up. I like to use our zucchini as our noodle base while it is still producing prolifically in our garden. And all of the garlic I add is so beneficial for our overall health.
Next on my list is to make up some vanilla extract. This is very simple. We had been gifted by my oldest daughter as well as another friend, bottles of homemade vanilla extract. Well, the bottles are entirely gone. So I made up a new bottle using vanilla beans (cut open) and 50% Vodka. I’ve dated the bottle and will let that sit, shaking occasionally, for the next 3 months. The health benefits of Vanilla can be attributed to its properties as an antioxidant, aphrodisiac, anticarcinogenic, febrifuge, antidepressant, sedative, tranquilizing and relaxing substance. But I’m just as excited to have it ready in time for Holiday baking!
Now on to our recipes…I have discovered a new way to use Slippery Elm Bark powder! What is that you ask? Slippery Elm is a large, deciduous tree that is native to North America from Texas to Manitoba. The inner bark is collected in the spring for medicinal uses and can be made into powder. When mixed with hot water, it has a slippery and mucilaginous consistency. It has been used by Native Americans to heal wounds when used as a poultice. It can also be used as a porridge for small children or the elderly. It can be found in powder, capsule, or extract. I have purchased the powder for a digestive issue I have but wanted to expand its use and the form I use it in. So I have discovered a paste that I can make that is tasty and keeps in the frig for about 1 year. It is made using equal parts Slippery Elm Bark powder (from Mountain Rose Herbs) and honey to make a paste and then adding about 5-6 drops of my Doterra Peppermint essential oil. Because of its musilage property, it helps with coughs and sore throats as well as digestive issues. I take a small tsp. daily and follow with 8 oz. of water. It tastes great!
Last on my list is to make up a batch of Elderberry Syrup. My sister-in-law has been touting the effectiveness of Elderberry Syrup but it wasn’t until more recently that I actually tried it and now make my own (it can be purchased in any drugstore but it’s a bit pricey for daily use). Elderberry Syrup is a fantastic preventative daily syrup to take during cold and flu season (not too far away). Dried elderberries are high in vitamins A, B, and C and stimulate the immune system. These amazing berries, when blended with cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and honey, make a kid- and adult-approved syrup to keep in the frig. My husband and I swear by our dose of 1/2 – 1 Tbsp. of the syrup per day in warding off colds and flu. The recipe I use can be found on WellnessMama. Instead of using cinnamon, ginger, and clove powders, I use 1 cinnamon stick, 2-3 tbsp. of cut-up Ginger root, and 5-6 whole cloves. Try it for your health!
Perhaps this is NOT how you are spending your Sunday morning. But, as a business owner, a mother, and a wife, I feel it is part of my job to 1) remain in good health myself so I can care for others and be productive and 2) have something available to support the good health of those I love. All of my “cooking” this morning is for our good health. Now it’s time for my long walk…Wishing you an energetic and peaceful Sunday!