Slow Down and Eat UP

Its been awhile since I ventured into my kitchen with awe and inspiration. Maybe it is the summer heat or just running around being too busy to hang at the hearth. But my personal desire to stand at the stove or the sink seems to wane every summer, to come back strong again in the fall. When the air begins to get cooler it is as if I could set my watch to it. The magical shift of autumn awakens something very deep and ancient inside of me, changing my connection to relationships and how I give/receive nourishment.  As a result, I have been cleaning and organizing my cabinets, bringing in fall decorations (my corn doll, beeswax candles, orange and red napkins, a cute and kinda scary flying bat) and setting up my kitchen altar. The dust of summer clears to reveal Autumn’s slow-time, spicy beauty!

A Practice to Slow Down: Samavritti

When cooking something in the oven or on the stove, sit down for some pranayama. Take a moment to feel the quality of your inhalation. Let it become soft and smooth, deeply nourishing. Also feel into the quality of your exhalation. Are you breathing out fully or is a bit still trapped in the lungs? Smoothing out to equalize your inhalation and exhalation is one of the most dramatically effective ways to clear the mind and settle the body for a natural pause.  So simple, eh? This simple ‘awareness in the kitchen breath’ is shared by all of the wise ones, from grandmothers to yogins… Enjoy.

Hawthorne: (Crataegus Spp.) IMG_3580

A deciduous tree or shrub, now is the perfect time of year (Autumn) to meet this plant in its full berry glory. Rich in folklore and magical herbalism, the Hawthorne tree was brought to popularity (or unpopularity) in England in the 1600s, when the parliament decided to enforce the Enclosure Acts (parceling off formerly common lands into private lands so the rich could get richer (and yes the poor poorer)). Planted everywhere, the berries (and even the leaves) became staples in the English diet, offering up food/medicine to those with meager diets. The spring leaves and buds were historically referred to as ‘bread and cheese’ by the peasants. The magic of the Hawthorne is ancient, beloved by humans and fairies alike. It offers protection (most have thorns so beware!), guardianship and has the ability to heal the physical-and spiritual-heart. Contraindications for taking Hawthorne are: don’t eat the seeds because they are toxic, and if you are on heart medication it is best to avoid. Hawthorne helps to balance arrhythmia of the heart, strengthens the heart, and can lower or balance blood pressure. It is my favorite cardiac tonic. The berries can be made into syrup, elixirs, cordials and even jelly. I will have that recipe/video in the near future!

Hawthorne Berry Elixir

Take a Pint Jar and fill it halfway with dried or fresh:                                                                                       Hawthorne Berries                                                                                                                                                               Bilberries                                                                                                                                                                                     Rose Hips                                                                                                                                                                                   Hibiscus Flowers                                                                                                                                                                     Goji Berries

Cover the plant matter with Apple Cider Vinegar and then top with your local Honey. Place a square of parchment paper under the lid to protect from rusting and close the jar. Shake every day (or whenever you remember) for 2-3 weeks. This yummy tasting ‘Oxymel’ will be delicious as a Salad Vinegar or even put into a shot glass to sip on for boosting your health.