Monday, December 6, 2021

Blueberry Scones

Scones are such a treat! But if you only knew how easy they can be, they'd be a real breakfast standard for you, I think. These ones are blueberry but you can make them with raisins, dried apricots, chocolate chips and candied orange peel or just plain old cinnamon and brown sugar. Anyway you slice it these are delicious, easy, fast and most importantly, a crowd pleaser! Instead of those cinnamon rolls you usually make for Christmas morning, why not try these?

The following recipe make four big scones to feed four regular people.

Blueberry Scones-

1.5 Cups Bisquick
1/2 Cup frozen blueberries
1/2 Cup sugar
Milk (roughly 3/4 Cup but no real measurement)

Put Bisquick, blueberries and sugar in a bowl. Mix gently.
Add milk until the consistency of dough is sort of crumbly as oatmeal would be but so it sticks together.
I know this sounds sort of wishy washy but as you may know I love to eyeball stuff.
Drop the scones by a 1/4 measuring cup onto a baking sheet lined with parchment.
Sprinkle with sanding sugar
Bake at 400 until your kitchen is filled with a delightfully yummy aroma and the tops are golden brown about 10 minutes.

This recipe is SO easy and people will think you worked your butt off to achieve this yumminess.

If you make them, let me know what you think!


Monday, November 29, 2021

Artist Love - Shiori Matsumoto

 I found Shiori Matsumoto when I was looking for "Zig Zag Girl" images. You know the image. The lady who is the magicians assistant (of course the assistant and never the magician [eye roll]) gets in a box and then the box is separated into a zig zag pattern. The illusion insists that the female assistant has been turned into three separate pieces. In any case, I was looking for this image because it holds a special symbolism for me. 

And what I found in my search was this morsel of goodness. First of all, the color theory is fantastic. But the imagery is tops. The dwarf baby child monster has such a cute tiny butt. Look at that little tushy! The round room, the tiny Fez, the realism of the girl. I love the whole thing.

Look at the creeper here behind the curtain. The imagery is great in an of itself. The bear engaging with the audience. The girl in the mirror. The bird with the lollipop. It's all so crazy!
And this pretty! The title is "Door of Boundary." You can learn more about Shiori and see more of her work here.

Shiori's pop-surreal expressions are reminiscent of Mark Ryden who I recently learned was the cover artist for the late great King of Pop Michael Jackson's "Dangerous" album. Mr. Ryden has a great instagram post about the 5 days that were required to come up with the concept. You can see it here. Juxtapoz Magazine covers more on this piece here.

In a future post I will cover more of Mark Ryden's art. When I was in art school (a long time ago) he was whispered about. 

I can't wait to cover more art. Stay tuned! 

XO, Gwenny

Monday, November 22, 2021

Fire Cider - All Natural Immunity Booster for Cold and Flu Season

In mid-October or so, a friend of mine reached out about this stuff called Fire Cider. She asked, "Have you ever made this?" Not only had I never made it, I had never heard of it. But my friend is a bonafide "Earth Mother," so I knew she had a little secret resource that I had never hear of. My friend Jen is a researcher of energy work, a practitioner of natural life enhancements and a discoverer of unusual but helpful health impacts. This Fire Cider is one such health impact, natural life enhancement, that as we move into the "season of sick" you may find really super useful. 

She first found the recipe on Homestead and Chill. You can see the recipe here. But the original recipe is from Rosemary Gladstar's book: Medicinal Herbs: A Beginner's Guide. I tried to follow the recipe exactly but found that up here in the remote Appalachian Mountains it can be difficult to find even the simplest ingredients which can be viewed as "exotic" by us mountain folks. Nevertheless, I did the best I could and so did Jen. 

I also conducted more research. I had heard from my Uncle about the thieves of the plague having doused themselves with some concoction of vinegar and oils that staved off the contracting and eventual death from the Bubonic Plague. I found the Nourished Kitchen in which, Jenny, an herbalist and writer of the information mentions an entire history of this. It's really fascinating! She also has a recipe which she calls "Four Thieves Vinegar."  Although it is different from Fire Cider, I think I'll try it next because it's aim is still to increase our immunity. May as well! It certainly can't hurt. Plus, variety is the spice of life and now I'll have two brews to keep us healthy through the winter!

We began our batches about 2 days apart from each other. I got all the ingredients on a Sunday and she got them a couple days later. You know everything is time dependent and we are both working ladies with families so we do what we can. We chopped, cut, minced, whirred and blended all of the stuff together and let it sit on the counter for a month, maybe a little longer even.

People said the most outlandish things to see this jar of "stuff" on our kitchen counter. My mom called it "mung" and said she would NEVER try it. My uncle said it sounded interesting. My sister-in-law said it stunk like feet. And my husband, God bless him, just hung out waiting for me to be done with it.

The reality is though, that we are headed into cold and flu season, not to mention the nightmare germ is around still so if this stuff can shorten the length of any viral symptoms then load me up with said "mung!"

Young Living has an essential oil called "Thieves." And this acts similarly to that
It was a fun project to do with my friend. It was a reason for us to be in pretty constant communication and our feedback was real; Authentic trials and tribulations of trying something new and natural. 

Following are first my photos and notes, then I have posted Jen's photos and notes. 

I was lucky enough to source fresh herbs from my garden. But fresh horseradish was impossible to find so I used prepared horseradish. Also, the recipe on Homestead and Chill uses Eucalyptus essential oil. I didn't have any so I skipped it.
It looked so pretty in the blender.
This is a photograph I took of the Fire Cider sitting on the counter right after I filled the jar. Everyday I shook the jar to mix it up. While it fermented the last thing we wanted was a mold batch too. Shaking the jar prevents it from growing fungus and instead spurs forth a healthy fermentation.
Here it is on Day 35. I probably could've put in the jars it on Day 30 but I was sidetracked by all kinds of other things so I just let it sit there. This is the pic I took yesterday before I put it into the bottles.
From above too so you can see exactly what it looks like in the jar after the month long fermenting process.
What a gorgeous color!
In the jars and ready to sip!

I tried it out immediately. It is quite a tonic-very heavy on the vinegar and not really spicy enough for my tastes. But drinkable just the same. I hope it is potent. How did we as a society move so far away from natural medicine? It worked for grave robbers during the Black Death!

Below are Jen's pics and notes:

These are Jen's ingredients. She processed her ingredients differently than I did. She cut all her ingredients and layered them in the jars. I whirred everything together in the blender. 

Here is a photo of her batch on her kitchen counter. Gorgeous colors! Mine were not this pretty but hopefully we were both successful in the fermentation of this medicine.

After a month of fermentation, this was Jen's yield. That should last her through the winter. She just tried her tonic today and reported that it was spicy and not too vinegary. She says, "It tastes like Nature's Medicine!"
Jen added the honey after the final fermentation and before she downed it. I added the honey a day before straining and bottling. 

I loved this project, I felt enthusiastic about this adventure the moment Jen reached out to me about it. Naturalist medicinals are just one of the ways Jen and I are soul sisters. We have known each other for years and have often compared notes about bohemian lifestyles, brewing concoctions, boat travel, cooking, crystals and energy work and exercise. We have had numerous adventures together not the least of which was a weekend at the Yoga Farm Ashram (which, if you haven't done, you won't be sorry. Try it!)