Blog

Make Your Own Dandelion Salve! It’s Easy!

It’s Dandelion time!

We love these wonderful little flowers! Seeing their sunny faces dotting the countryside is a sure sign that summer is on its way.  Besides trumpeting in a new season, dandelions provide loads of nutrition and are pretty multi-talented when it comes to providing health benefits. 

The entire plant is edible and the flower serves as the main ingredient in a salve for dry skin and especially eczema.  Plus foraging for these flowers, is well, far too easy as they are everywhere. There is a belief among herbalist that the more prolific an herb the more the benefits and the more we need it.

Today we are going to teach you how to make your very own salve – it is so easy!

 

How to make Dandelion Salve!

The first step to making your salve is to collect the dandelions. Next, you will be making an infusion from the flowers. You can dry them for a day first to get rid of some moisture or put them straight into a jar with oil. Make sure the oil covers the flowers. A 16 oz jar will yield about an 8 oz cup of oil.  You can choose your favourite oils like olive, coconut or sweet almond. For this recipe, I chose olive oil and avocado oil.

 

Let your oil sit in a dark place for a week. Don’t wait any longer or the oil will start to spoil. After a week, strain the flowers through cheesecloth. Squeeze hard! You want to get all the benefits of the flowers out. You will be left with a beautiful golden colour oil.

Dandelion Salve Recipe

For this recipe, you will need the Dandelion Infusion you just made and about 6 – 4 oz mason jars with labels. You can get these jars at any hardware store. The rest of the ingredients like beeswax, shea butter and essential oils are at any well-stocked health food store.

Ingredients:

  1. 1 cup dandelion infused oil
  2. 1 ounce beeswax
  3. 1 ounce refined shea butter
  4. 12-24 drops essential oils of your choice (lavender and sweet orange are two of my favourites)

Instructions

 
  1. Create a makeshift double boiler by putting a small bowl or a glass Pyrex measuring cup over a pot with about an inch of simmering water.
  2. Put the dandelion oil and beeswax into the small bowl or Pyrex, and heat until the beeswax completely dissolves into the oil, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add the shea butter and stir until it completely dissolves.
  4. Stir in the essential oils.
  5. Carefully pour the mixture into small jars or tins and let sit until the salve sets up completely.

 

Our salve turned out beautifully! The smell of the essential oils is glorious and the salve is so soothing for my hands, knees and elbows after a day in the garden. With the ingredients easily available, now is the time to get out and harvest your dandelion flowers before they are gone!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photos courtesy of Linda Vanderstoop             

 

3 Big Mistakes Most Guys in Relationships Make…

 

That Keep Them Feeling Trapped, Resentful & Feeling Disconnected From Their Partner

by Kurt Frost

It may sound cliched, but we live in difficult times for men.  The demands of work and family can spread your time and energy thin and our “A.D.D culture” makes it really hard to focus on what is important without the next thing immediately demanding our attention.  

As a result, guys get lost, and when we do, we lose touch with ourselves and what makes our lives exciting and full of  meaning.  Less meaning and excitement creates frustration, builds resentment and causes anxiety. Not only anxiety over feelings of overwhelm, that we can’t keep up, but a growing hopelessness that we are failing. That we may never live the life we want.  This loss of self fulfillment comes back to hurt our relationships, family and generally the world around us.

Pretty depressing, eh? You may find yourself wondering how you got to this point, but there are definitely 3 big mistakes that most guys make that will pretty much guarantee getting stuck here.  You’ve probably made at least 1 of them if not all 3.

  1. Not Taking Care of Yourself

Most guys are bad at taking care of themselves.  It looks different for everyone, but some common examples of poor self care are:

  • Lack of exercise
  • Poor diet
  • Lack of time for yourself
  • Lack of time with other male friends
  • Poor sleep
  • Many more…

It happens for many reasons, but as you try to take care of everyone else, you do less and less for yourself and, over time, you end up being last in the quest to make sure everyone else is OK.  

This is definitely a recipe for disaster, as the less you do for your own well being, the less you have to give, much less function well in your life.

 

  1. Poor Communication with Partner

The effects of this one are probably the most obvious and at the surface for most guys in their relationships:

  • Feeling like you and your partner are “missing each other”:  your partner is not getting what you mean and you feel misunderstood by them too.
  • Being confused by your partner’s shifts in moods towards you: one minute you feel close and the next you are a jerk.
  • As much as you try to explain your thoughts about something, your partner is resistant and even antagonistic.  Maybe avoiding each other, or difficult subjects.
  • The list goes on…

Continued miscommunication in a relationship is toxic and will only increase the distance between you and your partner. This will undermine the rest of your life too, leading to effects in your self care and sense of purpose…..it is all connected!

 

  1. Not Living With Purpose

Living on purpose means you live your life in a way that makes you feel energized and alive.  

If you don’t know where you are going, you won’t know how to get there….or even know if you got there.  It is like sailing a boat; if you don’t have your destination in sight, you will veer off course. And if you know anything about sailing, that is not a good thing.

Life purpose is a verb, not a noun. You need to “do” your life purpose in little ways each  and every day.  Your purpose isn’t a goal, per se, but rather a way of being that you need to keep checking in with to see if you are on track.  

Put another way, it is you engaging all of you and feeling like you are moving towards a better version of yourself.

A big sign that you are not living with purpose is if you are feeling frustrated that your life is being defined for you by your partner, your kids, your boss, etc., etc., etc.  It feels controlling and leaves men often feeling angry and resentful.

All of this can change!

As you have seen, there are many ways for your life to get off track, but there are also many solutions you can implement to help you claim the life you desire and start living with the purpose you deserve.  

Men need their own space to get back in touch with what feels right. The Power of Purpose Retreat For Men does this. During this retreat you will address these 3 exact problems and leave with the solutions you need to be happier and excited about your life again! Find out how we will accomplish this here…

Coconut Cream Chia Pudding

Chia seeds are one of the healthiest of the new super foods widely available in food markets today. They are loaded with nutrients that can have important benefits for your body and brain. 

Coconut Cream Chia Pudding is a delicious, easy to make treat packed with lots of nutrition! Vegan-friendly and gluten free, you can make one or more portions the night before to have throughout the week. Start with the basic recipe, adding in your favourite fruits and toppings.

Chia seeds were an important food for the Aztecs and Mayan who prized them for their ability to provide sustained energy.

In fact, “chia” is the ancient Mayan word for “strength.”

Despite their ancient history as a dietary staple, only recently did chia seeds become recognized as a modern-day superfood.

These tiny seeds pack a powerful nutritional punch.

A 1 ounce (28 grams) serving of chia seeds contains (1, 2):

  • Fiber: 11 grams.
  • Protein: 4 grams.
  • Fat: 9 grams (5 of which are Omega-3s).
  • Calcium: 18% of the RDA.
  • Manganese: 30% of the RDA.
  • Magnesium: 30% of the RDA.
  • Phosphorus: 27% of the RDA.
  • They also contain a decent amount of Zinc, Vitamin B3 (Niacin), Potassium, Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) and Vitamin B2.

The fiber and Omega 3’s in Chia seeds rate higher ounce for ounce than flaxseed.  Higher fiber with lots of Omega’s reduce your risk for diabetes type 2 and heart disease. One of the best features are the anti-oxidents which help the Omega oils from going rancid. So grab your empty mason jars (8oz) and get your breakfast of champions started!

COCONUT CREAM CHIA PUDDING (with mixed berries and pecans)

Ingredients (per serving)

2 tbsp chia seeds

3/4 cup coconut milk

1 tbsp maple syrup (adjust sweetness to taste)

Mix chia seeds, coconut milk, and maple syrup together in a small bowl or glass mason jar. Let it set in the refrigerator. Stir mixture after half an hour and set back in the fridge. Repeat one more time. Leave overnight

In the morning, remove it from the fridge, and make sure your pudding looks thick and the chia seeds have gelled.

Layer the coconut cream on top of the pudding(available at specialty food stores) then add fresh strawberries/blueberries, top with chopped pecans and grab a spoon. 

You can make 5 to 7 – 8oz. glass mason jars with the basic recipe and change up your breakfast to go every morning by using different fruits, nuts and seeds for a variety of tastes and texture.

Enjoy!

P.S. It also makes a great dessert or afternoon snack!

Maple Sriracha Roasted Cauliflower

A guest recently shared a version of this recipe with me and I’ve loved it ever since. I’ve tweaked it a bit of course (cuz that’s what I do) and every guest I’ve shared it with has loved it.

If you are looking for a super quick side dish that’s unique then here’s your answer!     ~ Liz

Ingredients

  • 1 large head cauliflower, cut into bite sized florets
  • 1/8 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tsp sriracha – could use more if you like it hot
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk all ingredients together until combined. Add the cauliflower and toss until well coated.
  3. Spread on a baking sheet, and bake, flipping once during baking, until golden brown and tender (approx 25 mins).
  4. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro and serve with additional sriracha sauce if desired.

Pro Tip: If you want less mess for clean up, line the baking sheet with parchment paper!

What are the benefits of mindfulness?

alexalexromanoff-com-1470524144-zen-meditation-wallpaper-photo

In addition to the aforementioned benefits, the following list are also realistic outcomes from practicing mindfulness:

Gains in working memory

Stress reduction

Less emotional reactivity 

Relationship satisfaction 

Numerous research articles have run studies on mindfulness and have discovered meditation has been directly related to self-reported positive affect. More interestingly, these results reveal that even short-term commitment show marked differences in the brains of people who practice mindful meditation versus those who do not practice mindful meditation. A study involving people with mindful practice ranging from one month to twenty-nine years were compared to a pool of people who hadn’t meditated. When shown graphic pictures, the former group was better able to disengage from the stimuli and instead focus on a cognitive task versus those who had no practice with mindful meditation.

More insights and explanations from these research studies, along the other uses of mindfulness can be found here: http://www.apa.org/monitor/2012/07-08/ce-corner.aspx 

 

We invite you to practice mindfulness with us as we guide you on your journey to your inner wise self. Join us this January 1st for our “Get Clear on Your Year” retreat.

Get Clear on Your Year – Week Retreat

 

Thai Mushroom & Kale Soup

Thai Mushroom SoupIngredients

  • 1 large onion cut into chunks (bite sized)
  • 2-3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 inch piece of ginger minced (more if you love ginger)
  • 2-4 cups mushrooms – brown, shitake or cremini – the older the better for flavour
  • 2 cups kale chopped (or bok choy, or spinach, or dandelion leaves)
  • Extra firm tofu – cut into small cubes
  • Mushroom bouillon (or veggie if you don’t have mushroom)
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • Juice of one lime
  • 1 – 2 tbsp organic soy sauce
  • 1 cup bean sprouts
  • Fresh cilantro chopped coarsely for garnish
  • 1 can of coconut milk

Preparation

  1. In a large soup pot, soften the onions, garlic and ginger at a low temperature using a bit of water and put a lid on the pot letting them sweat and release their yumminess to the broth to come.
  2. Add the mushrooms and continue to cook at a low temperature, adding a cup of water after a few minutes.
  3. While this is cooking, fry the tofu in sesame oil until brown.  Turning it often so it doesn’t stick and frying evenly on all sides.
  4. When mushrooms are soft add 3-4 cups of water to the pot and add the bouillon cubes & coriander seeds.  Any bouillon flavour will do as long as it’s vegan & preferably organic so it doesn’t have any nasty chemicals in it.
  5. A few minutes before serving add the coconut milk, tofu, kale, soy sauce & lime juice to the pot. Reduce the temperature and serve when the kale is soft – takes a minute or so.  You can use bok choy if you don’t have kale.
  6. Garnish with bean sprouts and fresh cilantro just before serving.  Hot sauce is an option too.

Butternut Chili in Pumpkin Bowls


whats-fresh-791x1024Butternut Chili in Pumpkin Bowls

This is a perfect way to celebrate the fall harvest – chili made from fresh tomatoes, peppers, zucchini and squash, served in a tiny baked pumpkin:  the bowl you can eat!

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 4 bowl sized pumpkins (look for pie pumpkins) wash the outside well
  • 1 sweet onion, diced
  • ½ cup diced celery
  • 1 sweet red pepper, diced
  • 2 – 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small butternut squash, cubed
  • 1 small – medium green zucchini chopped
  • 1 medium carrot chopped
  • 2 cups black beans (1 lg can), drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups diced tomatoes (use canned if you don’t have fresh)
  • 1 tbsp chili powder (or more to taste)
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 3 – 4 cups vegetable broth – enough to cover the veggies in the pot
  • Sea salt, and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Prepare your pumpkin bowls by slicing the top off about ¾ of the way up. Scoop out insides of the pumpkin using a grapefruit spoon. This takes a few minutes and can feel kind of gross – but it’s fun too!  Save the seeds (minus the flesh) to roast them with some olive oil, salt and chili powder.  Serve the seeds on your salad if you want.
  2. When your pumpkins are empty and cleaned out, brush the insides with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. You will be eating the pumpkin flesh with the chili.  Put the pumpkins onto a baking pan and into the oven for 30 minutes at 350F.
  3. While the pumpkins roast, make the chili. In a large pot, add a bit of water and heat. Add chopped onion, garlic and celery and sauté for a few minutes until soft.
  4. Reduce heat to avoid burning. Add the chopped pepper, zucchini, carrot and squash and cook for 10-15 minutes until softened.
  5. Add the black beans, tomatoes, chili powder, cumin, paprika, vegetable broth, and stir. Simmer on low-medium for another 5 minutes.
  6. Remove pumpkins from the oven and fill the bowls 3/4 of the way full. Place pumpkins carefully back into the oven (again without top) and bake for another 30 minutes.
  7. Once they are cooked, turn oven off and leave pumpkins in the oven with lid on to stay warm. They will stay hot in the oven for another hour if necessary.

Garnish with fresh basil to serve.

Notes:

Chili is something easy to make with any veggies you have so make it your own.  Add corn, green beans, and peas or substitute the black beans for any other bean you prefer or mix them up.

Serve this with a colourful fresh salad and crusty rolls – great for dipping! Enjoy!

 

 

Celebrating the Autumn Equinox

Today marks the start of the Autumn Equinox. During this season our awareness is directed inward. We reflect on what was achieved during our past growing season, become aware of which seeds haven’t grown or developed, and celebrate our personal harvests. This is a time to consider the power of gratitude, blessings and to give thanks. The Autumn Equinox reminds us to balance all parts of ourselves, the active and the passive, the known and the unknown, the outer journey and the inner journey and the intuitive, the conscious and the unconscious. From this place of unity new doors open, new directions and new possibilities are revealed.

An Invitation to Turn Withinautumn-equinox-1024x848

As Earth progresses along its orbit, passing through a balanced equinox point at the end of summer, its axis begins to lean away from the sun, bringing the southern hemisphere closer to, and moving the northern hemisphere farther away, from our radiant star. As a result, the sun’s rays hit the northern hemisphere at an indirect angle and less solar energy reaches this part of the world. This waning sunlight initiates a distinct and perceptible shift in our terrestrial environment as the sweetness of summer begins to fade and the top half of our planet retreats from the heat of the sun.

The Earth, like our bodies, breathes with unyielding rhythm and there is no better time to observe this divine truth than during a change of seasons when the breathwave of our planet can be experienced through all the senses. This yearly cycle, mirrored in every breath we take. When considering how the planet breathes, the autumnal equinox occurs during the inspiration cycle which can be likened to puraka or the inhalation. With the downward-moving inhale, all elements are magnetized toward the Earth. That which was exhaled during the effulgence of summer, is reintegrated. Plants surrender their vegetation in response to shorter days and cooler temperatures. Their leaves, drained of life-giving sustenance, eventually fall in the ultimate display of impermanence.

Moisture and heat are absorbed into the ground and air currents begin to circulate near the surface to catalyze these natural processes. As vehicles of the universal breath, we can interpret these environmental cues as a reflection of our internal seasons and emulate the perennial wisdom of the planet by letting go, slowing down and taking time for regenerative practices.

The autumnal equinox is the beginning of a cosmic dunk into darkness. With each passing day, nighttime arrives a little earlier and lingers into our waking hours. With this gift of environmental down-time, we are encouraged to welcome and not resist the centripetal force of consciousness that pulls us inward. This is a time for meditation and rest. Use this opportunity to surrender to your inner gravity, ask difficult questions and listen deeply for what arises. Get curious as you dive into the darkness.

This is a time to dig up anything that may be churning beneath the surface, a time to invite such thoughts and emotions to gently rise and dissolve. As a guide, you may consider the following contemplation questions either in meditation or in journaling to facilitate this inner exploration.

  • What has been my personal harvest this year, what has grown into full expression and brought me joy? Begin each sentence with I celebrate…
  • What seeds of insight will I collect and re-plant in the next season? I nourish…
  • Where am I holding back or ceding to doubt? What fears are stalling me? I am afraid of…
  • Where am I creating struggle or holding on? How can I conserve energy by releasing any unnecessary effort in this cycle? I release…
  • What am I most grateful for? I am grateful for…
  • Am I housing any latent anger towards myself or others? How can I liberate myself from it? I forgive…
  • Do I presently feel ashamed or embarrassed by any behaviors or decisions I have made? How can I lay them to rest? I accept…
  • Do I feel guilty for any of my thoughts, words, or actions? How can I make a conscious change? I resolve…
  • If my body were to speak, what would it say to me? I hear…
Practice Regenerative Yoga in Autumn
 
As we approach the transition from summer to fall, Ayurveda prescribes a gradual shift from cooling breath and postural practices that pacify pitta to those that heat internally to strengthen the fire element in preparation for the colder climate ahead. The vata dosha also benefits from postures that keep us close to the ground, particularly those that draw energy from the upper centers of the body including the head, throat and heart, into the lower centers of the belly, sacrum and hips.
 
Check out this beautiful flow devoted to the Autumn Equinox.
 

Article courtesy of Gaia: http://www.gaia.com/article/autumnal-equinox-yoga-ritual

 

 

Banana Cranberry Muffins

Ingredients

Yield: 12 muffinsIMG_1330

  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 3 tbsp apple sauce
  • 6 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 1/4 cups mashed ripe bananas (about 5 medium bananas)
  • 2 cups + 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup whole cranberries
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts, sunflower/pumpkin seeds, etc.

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly oil a 12-muffin muffin tin.
  2. Put the milk, apple sauce, maple syrup and bananas in a blender and blend until smooth.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt until well combined.
  4. Add the banana mixture and combine, using as few strokes as possible so you do not overmix the batter. Fold in the cranberries and nuts/seeds.
  5. Scrape into the muffin tin and smooth the tops. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffins comes out clean, about 20 minutes.

Blueberry Kale Salad

This salad is so pretty to look at, easy to create, and incredibly healthy for your brain, your blood, your whole body really!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 6  cups (more or less) curly kale leaves, thick stems removed and leaves tornBlueberry Kale Salad
  • 1 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1 tbsp mushed avocado
  • 1/2 tsp each sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 small avocado, peeled, pitted & cut into bite sized chunks
  • 1 small green apple, cored and sliced into thin pieces
  • 3 tbsp raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup fresh blueberries
  • ½ cup red cabbage finely sliced
  • ½ cup broccoli in tiny florets

DRESSING

  • 1/4 cup fresh or thawed frozen blueberries
  • Flesh of one avocado
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp peeled and minced fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp raw honey
  • 1/4 tsp each sea salt and fresh ground black pepper

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. In a large bowl, combine kale, lime juice, 1 tbsp mushed avocado and 1⁄2 tsp each salt and pepper. Use your hands to massage mixture into kale, until leaves have wilted just slightly. Transfer to a serving platter. (If you’re in a hurry to serve this you can chop the kale quickly rather than tear it).
  2. Prepare dressing: In a blender, combine all dressing ingredients and 3 tbsp water (more or less as needed) and blend on high until smooth, about 1 minute.  Taste this and see if it needs anything – more ginger, honey or salt, maybe a dash of tamari…  As with any salad dressing you need to make it taste the way you like it – never just follow the recipe!
  3. Gently mix 2/3 of the dressing with broccoli florets, red cabbage, avocado chunks, and apple and spoon over top kale. Top with pumpkin seeds, fresh blueberries and any sprouts you have (optional so don’t sweat it).
  4. If you’re not vegan you can add feta cheese.
  5. Drizzle remaining dressing over top of your gorgeous creation and enjoy!