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Nourishing Foods

20 April 2020

Stinging nettles on my mother's birthday

Written by Corinna Wood, Posted in Corinna's Corner, Herbal Medicine, Local Plants, Nourishing Foods, Women's Wellness

In the midst of the pandemic

nettle loresIn early April, our dogwoods bloom. I harvest wild nettles for my soup pot. And we celebrate my mother’s birthday. 

This year, her birthday fell during the onset of stay-at-home orders in North Carolina. Fortunately, she lives nearby and loves long walks out in the fresh air–among our permitted outdoor activities. And at that point, groups under ten were still allowed to gather in our county.

We carefully planned a socially distant Sunday walk,  followed by a socially distant open-air picnic, each with our own personal cooler of food. 

03 April 2020

Bringing Chickweed into Your Backyard

Written by Corinna Wood, Posted in Corinna's Corner, Herbal Medicine, Local Plants, Nourishing Foods, Self Love, Women's Wellness

chickweed in planterLike many of you, I am cultivating my strategies for staying calm and nourished in my body amidst all that is happening in today's landscape. The current stay-at-home status here in the mountains of North Carolina includes the freedom to get outside and move. I'm finding that my favorite days are those a walk, bike ride, or gardening . . . often keeping an eye out for wild foods to harvest along the way!

My beloved wild edible ally, chickweed, loves the cool, wet weather of the spring and the fall. Studying botany in college many years ago, I challenged myself to replace my grocery store veggies with wild greens. Chickweed quickly became a staple!

31 January 2020

Tulsi at this snowy Imbolc

Written by Corinna Wood, Posted in Corinna's Corner, Herbal Medicine, Local Plants, Nourishing Foods, Self Love, Women's Wellness

The first snow of the year came at last to the mountains of North Carolina today, just in time for Imbolc! Also known as Candlemas, Imbolc is the seasonal marker at the halfway point between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox.  

Gazing out the window in wonder at the huge snowflakes falling, I stopped to admire once again my tulsi "houseplant." Also known as holy basil (Ocimum tenuiflorum), she is one of my herbal beloveds. I have a whole stash of holy basil pesto in my freezer, tincture in my cupboard, and dried leaves for infusion. This is the first year I discovered that I could bring one of my pots of tulsi in from my porch, and enjoy her all winter long!

tulsi snow

21 November 2019

Digging burdock root

Written by Corinna Wood, Posted in Herbal Medicine, Local Plants, Nourishing Foods, Women's Wellness

2019.11 burdock roots loresLast week we had the first hard frost of the winter season, earlier than usual in these mountains. That's a marker because it means the perennial and biennial plants send their energy down below the ground to store over the winter. Delighted, I got out my shovel this week to harvest burdock root!

As the moon wanes toward dark, the plants concentrate more on developing their roots underground. So this waning/dark moon and the next – which falls over winter solstice – are especially potent times to harvest herbal roots for medicines.

28 October 2019

Savoring the 15th Anniversary

Written by Corinna Wood, Posted in Herbal Medicine, Local Plants, Nourishing Foods, Sisterhood, Women's Wellness

ladder wise woman hall square lowresThe 15th anniversary conference was indeed an extravaganza! Over a thousand women delighted in coming together for our 15th year of this strong, supportive sisterhood honoring ourselves, the plants, and the Earth. For the 15th anniversary, many women whose friends had been encouraging them to come for years, joined us for the first time. Others who have been with us for one or more conferences over the years, returned to immerse themselves once again in this unique experience of woman-centered learning and connection. 

Watching the conference build on Thursday, through the hard work of the volunteers and staff, is empowering. Sails, stage lights, and the dancing women backdrop were raised in Wise Woman Hall, Maple Tree Center was transformed into a thriving hub, parking lots were mapped out, and signs posted.

20 August 2019

How can you have more energy?

Posted in Nourishing Foods, Women's Wellness

by Sally Fallon

Sally Fallon MorrellI learned a very interesting fact recently, one that can give us guidance on how to overcome the modern phenomenon of chronic fatigue: up to 30 percent of the body’s energy goes toward digesting our food. So the obvious first step in treating a condition of constant tiredness would be to consume food that is easy to digest.

The fact is that modern food processing makes our food more difficult to digest, and many modern food habits put a real burden on our poor old guts. With so much of your body’s energy going towards digestion, there is not much left over for doing all the things we want to do with our lives.

18 July 2019

Marvelous mints make hydrating herbal summer coolers

Written by Corinna Wood, Posted in Corinna's Corner, Do It Yourself, Herbal Medicine, Local Plants, Nourishing Foods

peppermint tea 450x600While I do sometimes still reach for a tall glass of water on a sunny day, I've found that drinking plain water can actually leave me thirsty, especially in the heat of the summer. I have come to realize that when we drink mineral-rich herbal infusions or other nutrient dense liquids, our bodies can more effectively absorb the water and quench our thirst.

During long summer days, a cold herbal infusion hits the spot–iced oatstraw infusion is one favorite around here. Steeping the oatstraw (or another favorite herb) overnight allows the nutrients to come out into solution for a strong, medicinal tea. And of course, drinking herbal brews is much more nutritious than the sodas and fruit juices that are so widely available.

05 June 2019

Making Herbal Vinegars

Written by Corinna Wood, Posted in Corinna's Corner, Do It Yourself, Herbal Medicine, Local Plants, Nourishing Foods

bowl of red cloverThis is the time of year I love to stock up my kitchen cabinet with herbal vinegars. Not only are they tasty, they are also rich with minerals. Homemade wild herb vinegars are delicious in salad dressing, on cooked greens, in marinades, or in sauces.

My most recent harvest for herbal vinegar making, is a big beautiful bowl of red clover blossoms, volunteering in great abundance in my garden paths . . .

27 March 2019

Favorite Wild and Weedy Spring Greens

Written by Corinna Wood, Posted in Corinna's Corner, Herbal Medicine, Local Plants, Nourishing Foods

The fruit trees are blooming, the sun is rising earlier each day, and it's time to start clearing a space for this year's garden. I'm always delighted to see that the edible weeds are already up, ready to harvest for the salad bowl!

violet and ground ivyLike mine, your yard may blossom purple in March, with some combination of two common wild weedy edibles: violet and ground ivy. I love making salad with the violet leaves and flowers, adding small bits of leaves from the aromatic ground ivy, daughter of the mint family. 

I also pick dandelion leaves for my stir fries and wild salads, breaking up the young leaves to distribute their strong flavor. Keep an eye out for the dandelion flowers which are just beginning to bloom, to top off dishes with her sweet flower heads.

22 October 2018

We loved Kanuga Lake!~

Written by Corinna Wood, Posted in Corinna's Corner, Herbal Medicine, Local Plants, Nourishing Foods, Self Love, Sisterhood, Women's Wellness

Herbal Conference 2018

land 2018 KS lake tents loresI'm savoring the herbal conference weekend with the web of women gathering, connecting, and celebrating. Seeing over a thousand women moving about the land, I fell in love with Kanuga even more! As the women arrived on Friday, the sight of the land coming to life with their colorful tents popping up in the grassy field and along the lovely lake shores, brought tears to my eyes.

Women gathered in nooks everywhere, from cottage porches to laying down to soak in the sun on the grass beside the glorious lake. Maple Tree Center was truly the center of the community--some women browsing the teacher resources and scholarship raffle, while others played the piano in the center of the room!

14 October 2018

Healing the Wise Woman Way  

Written by Flora, Posted in Do It Yourself, Herbal Medicine, Nourishing Foods, Women's Wellness

Robin Rose Bennett shared the tenets of the Wise Woman Tradition in her class at the 2017 Herbal Conference. Here's a little of the wisdom she had to offer.

act 2017 JK solo singing lo resThe  Wise Woman tradition is the oldest, continuous healing tradition on the planet. It has existed in many lands and cultures under different names, as an oral tradition over countless years, and it is still practiced using story and other Wise Woman/shamanic/witchy/magical practices such as simple rituals, along with specific, practical healing skills that the individual practitioner brings to  her healing work. This way of healing is intimately connected with the land on which the wise woman and her clients live, where she gathers and grows her herbal medicines.

The Wise Woman way provides  a framework within  which healing is understood to be more than simply physical. A Wise Woman healer can and often does focus on helping to relieve uncomfortable or painful symptoms, or on helping a person heal themselves from an underlying disease, yet healing is always understood to be holistic, including mind, body, heart and soul.

09 August 2018

Delicious nutritious coconut oil fudge

Written by Corinna Wood, Posted in Corinna's Corner, Do It Yourself, Nourishing Foods, Women's Wellness

2018.7 cutting fudge 2 600x450As you may know, nourishment is one of the main tenets of the Wise Woman Tradition, right up there with local plants and self-love.

Unlike the "heroic tradition" which focuses on denial and cleansing (therefore inherently viewing our bodies as dirty), we prefer to nourish our bodies to health and wholeness. For example, rather than doing a liver fast/cleanse, we use herbs like dandelion to support our liver. Because when the liver receives optimum nourishment, it is able to effectively perform its function of filtering the blood!

When I arrived at Susun Weed's home as a young apprentice, I had been very much caught up in the heroic tradition. I fasted regularly and ate a very low-fat vegetarian/vegan diet, unwittingly contributing to nutritional deficiencies that had already begun to manifest in a variety of health issues in my early twenties. Susun helped me recognize that I had been denying myself some of the basic nutrients my body needed—most importantly, the healthy fats.

Around the same time, I discovered Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon and the work of the Price Foundation identifying common elements of traditional diets worldwide.

It turns out that across the globe, traditional people received 30-80% of their calories from fats, almost all as saturated fats! This was shocking for me to learn since both mainstream and alternative nutritionists were touting low fat / no fat diets as well as polyunsaturated vegetable oils like canola.

Nowadays, I am relieved to see that more and more people are getting turned on to the healthy fats—including organic butter, olive oil, and coconut oil—as a central food group. And we still have a lot of questions pop up!

18 April 2018

Conference registration is now open

Written by Flora, Posted in Herbal Medicine, Local Plants, Nourishing Foods, Self Love, Sisterhood, Women's Wellness

Welcome, wonderful women ~

rosemary new 1We invite you to join us this fall as we gather once again in sisterhood—celebrating plants, the Earth, and one another. 

For this year's 14th annual conference, we have another powerful group of presenters who will be sharing their gifts with us.

We are thrilled to have internationally acclaimed herbalist, author, and teacher Rosemary Gladstar returning, of the Northeast Women's Herbal Conference—our foremother herbal event.

And we are delighted to welcome for the first time Ubaka Hill, performer, artist, inspirational speaker, drummer, and master drum teacher for over 30 years.

14 March 2018

Chickweed dishes

Written by Corinna Wood, Posted in Do It Yourself, Local Plants, Nourishing Foods

chickweed 001Have you been joyfully nibbling on chickweed sprouts already? She thrives in the cool, wet weather of early spring. A favorite salad green around here, she can be used as the base of a wild salad, or to garnish your bowl of fresh lettuce leaves.

When this versatile green is in season, chickweed rice salad is always a big hit. Just mix equal parts chopped chickweed and cooked rice, then stir in some olive oil, minced garlic and salt to taste. It's even more delightful with chopped walnuts and crumbled feta cheese. 

Another delicious way to introduce your friends and family to chickweed is the BCT (bacon, chickweed and tomato sandwich). Chickweed also works well in pasta salads, omelets and potato salads.

28 November 2017

Squash and Sun Dried Tomato Soup

Written by Flora, Posted in Nourishing Foods

from Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon Morell
serves 6

1 butternut squash
2 medium onions, peeled and chopped
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup sun dried tomatoes, packed in oil
1 quart chicken stock
2 tablespoons finely chopped basil
sea salt or fish sauce and pepper
cream or creme fraiche

Cut squash in half lengthwise and place, cut sides down, in a glass baking pan with about 1/2 inch of water. Bake at 350 degrees until tender, about 1 hour. Meanwhile, saute onions gently in butter until tender. Add tomatoes and stock. Bring to a boil and skim. Scoop cooked squash out of skin and add to soup. Simmer about 1/2 hour. Puree soup with a handheld blender. Thin with water if necessary. Add basil and season to taste. Simmer gently about 5 minutes, ladle into heated bowls and serve with cultured cream. Enjoy!

See Sally Fallon's blog for more nourishing recipes

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