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Fall Foods + Kosmic Kitchen Playlist

Where did October go? Part of me felt like fall would never come but finally, it arrived. Days have been cooler and nights even more so. Walking into the house last night smelling wood stoves burning, made the autumn is here feeling that much stronger. My cooking has changed the last couple of weeks with all the roots and squash coming in. Nothing feels more comforting right now than the sweetness of a squash roasted in ghee.

If you’re like us, spending more time in the kitchen making soups and comfort food is a must this time of year. I always feel more grounded and in my heart when I’m working with my hands making food. Cooking helps to soothe some of those anxious feelings I have when there’s a seasonal transition. Even though I don’t have the most perfect kitchen, I feel grateful for our little space once I start chopping and getting something simmering on the stove.

Here are a few of our favorite recipes we like to revisit as the cooler weather calls for the nourishment of broths, soups and stews and warm tonics. We also made a little playlist to get you in the mood for cooking and spending time in the kitchen. Hope you enjoy it, listen here. 

TOM KHA GAI w/ LEMON VERBENA 

BONE BROTH w/ BURDOCK ROOT

MISO – GINGER IMMUNE SOUP BALLS 

SUPER NATURAL MUSHROOM TONIC 

SPICED STEW w/ CARDAMOM GINGER RICE 

SHATAVARI GOLDEN MILK 

CONGEE: HEALING RICE PORRIDGE 

OCTOBER // Things We Love

What a crazy last couple of weeks it has been! It was rather intense being a town over from the wildfires with all the smoke and pollution in the air. So many folks have been affected in our community and it will be a long road to getting back to ‘normal’ after something like this. Its been incredible to see so many people helping out with food, supplies, herbal support and just being there for one another.

Now the the smoke has cleared and the fires are contained, there is still more work to do, more conversations to be had and actions to take in light of the fires—how we manage natural lands, create effective emergency response and what to do about the growing housing crisis in Northern California…and so much more. For us, we’ve been thinking a lot about herbal respiratory support and how to keep our immune systems nourished in these difficult times. How can we educate others to use plant medicines, make them accessible to all communities and to show people that they actually work during times like these?

As part of our self-care this week, here are some links that have helped to keep us grounded and inspired now that things are settling a bit here.

  • Does eating a healthy diet actually protect you from pollution?  A good read for all of us in Northern California right now. Vitamins and supplements aren’t going to cut it. Eating a whole foods diet, with healthy fats is more likely to support your body’s natural detox response to pollution.
  • Love seeing the different ways folks have been getting involved in the recovery effort. Our friend Bonnie Rose is donating money from her online shop to fire victims. We just ordered her In Between Cream  made with mugwort, California grown white sage and rosemary flower essence for some extra plant magic and grounding.
  • Also, check out Rachel of Medicinal Threads fundraiser. We ordered some of her organic cotton and plant dyed pieces since she’s donating 50% of proceeds to folks affected by the fire.
  • Always inspired to see women gathering to support each other and the earth at the Southeast Wise Women Herbal Conference. Definitely get this on your radar if you’re in the area! Our mentor and friend Emily Ruff shared about how to create models to connect our communities with healing plants during challenging times with Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine. Really important topic right now in the herbal community and beyond. Always inspired by your endless efforts, Emily!
  • Since we’ve been staying home more than usual, definitely wanting to try these three surprising recipes cooking with tea.
  • Getting excited for mushroom season once the rains pick up. Can’t wait to try this perfect recipe with foraged chanterelles and the 10 lbs of salmon we have coming our way!
  • Going to make our Spiced Stew with Cardamom + Ginger Rice for the cooler nights this week, too. Such an easy and comforting weeknight supper.
  • One of our favorite witches, Milla Prince is doing an Ancestral Herbalism workshop at Kitkitdizzi in Nevada City! So bummed it’s sold out, but hoping she’ll come back soon to teach another one.
  • Summer and I saw Solange at The Greek Theater. What a mind-blowing artistic performance. Totally captivating stage design, choreography, vocals and message from a truly inspiring human. And if it couldn’t get any better, there was a meteor shower happening throughout the show! Definitely a special evening.

Hope you’re easing in to this time of seasonal transition and being as gentle with yourself as you can be. There is a lot for us to collectively hold. Indulge in self care in whatever form you need. We support your healing.

With love from Northern California,

S + S

 

 

 

Herbal Hydration: Rituals for a Vibrant Vata Season

Late summer in Northern California doesn’t know what to do with itself. One day its 95 degrees and the next its cool and breezy. Just last week there was a random thunderstorm! During this time of transition, its important to make sure we’re focusing on staying hydrated and nourished, even if the weather isn’t sure what its doing.

In Ayurveda, each season corresponds with a dosha, or constitution. This simply means that the Earth around us reflects the environment within us. Even though we all live in different places, the seasons offer us a reminder in how to care for our internal landscapes, when our environment is cold, dry, hot, wet or a combination of the elements. As we say goodbye to summer (Pitta season) and move into autumn (Vata season), hydration is just as important for combating the fluctuating weather and wind that can be drying to our systems.

In order to keep our lymph or immune system moving, our cells plump and our nervous system relaxed, we need to be hydrated from the inside out. Here are a few tips to keep cool and stay hydrated as we move into autumn.

OIL UP |Choose cooling oils in the warmer months, like coconut or bringaraj for oilinating your skin. Warmer oils like sesame and mahanaryan are great for the fall and winter months. Try infusing your herbs into oils depending on what your constitution is calling for. More on how to use botanical oils in this post. We love the relaxing ritual of applying oil to our whole body, starting at the feet and working up towards the heart, then hopping in the shower. The warm water helps the oil sink deep into the skin, leaving you feeling silky while nourishing your nervous system at the same time.

USE YOUR HERBS | One of our favorite cooling + soothing plant friends is aloe. This humble herb is a power house when it comes to healing sunburned + irritated skin along with reducing inflammation in the digestive tract. We use the inner fillet (not the whole leaf, which can be too bitter) in drinks to add a medicinal and hydrating kick. If you know your digestive system runs cold, try adding fresh ginger or cardamom with the aloe to help create a slightly warmer beverage, but still hydrating!

PESTOS ALL DAY | Fresh pesto isn’t just a delicious dip. Its a wonderful vehicle for getting a daily dose of  digestive stimulating herbs and essential fatty acids. EFA’s play a key component in keeping our cells hydrated so they can actually absorb water. We need them for balanced hormones, hydrated skin and a healthy nervous system. If you tend to run hot, try adding in cooling, bitter oils like hemp seed or olive oil to your pesto. If you tend to have cold hands and feet, go for warmer oils, like sesame.

DRINK ELECTROLYTE SALTS | Salt is the only edible crystal in the world. Sea salt is created when the molecular charge of the ocean meets the earth. Our bodies rely on these salts that become charged molecules when dissolved in liquids, also known as electrolytes. We’ve all heard of maintaining our electrolyte balance after intense exercise or hiking. But why do it? Electrolytes help our cells send electrical signals to one another. They support our kidneys ability to absorb water in the body and when electrolyte salt is sprinkled on food, it supports the pancreas to secrete enzymes and hormones to digest and assimilate our food.

Try starting your day with 1/2 tsp of Atlantic grey salt in a glass of warm water to support your kidneys. Electrolytes are all about taste. If its too salty, add less. Not enough saltiness? Then add a little more.  Sea salt + river salts are sustainable sources of this precious substance. Though Himalayan Pink Salt has become extremely popular for its brilliant color and flavor, it is being overused and over-mined and this precious resource will run out within our lifetime. We prefer using the renewable sources of natural salt such as magnesium rich Atlantic Grey Salt.

 

Here’s a quick + refreshing drink we adapted from the apothecary bar at the Dhyana Center in Sebastopol, CA. It hits the spot on those dry days as we slip into fall, just when we need deep hydration.
Aloe + Mint Cooler
INGREDEINTS
+ 1 cup mint tea, chilled
+ fresh lime juice
+ 1/4 cup aloe juice, inner fillet
+ 1 tsp maple syrup or runny honey
+ 2-3 fresh mint leaves

 

METHOD
In a glass, gently muddle the fresh mint leaves. Pour in the mint tea, aloe juice squeeze of fresh lime juice and maple. Stir and adjust any of the flavors to your liking. You can also add everything to a cocktail shaker with ice, if you’re in the mood to get fancy.

We’ve made this with other medicinals like tulsi or lemon balm tea. Get creative and feel free to use what you have on hand to compliment the lime + aloe.

Honey + Rose Adaptogenic Face Mask

There’s been a lot of energy moving around lately. I’m sure you’ve been feeling it, too. With the powerful Eclipse we all experienced last week, my body has been asking to slow down during this new moon. I noticed how difficult it can be to truly listen to what my body is asking for when my brain is all about do, do, do. Its an ongoing practice to find the space to get grounded back into my body, listening to my breath. This new moon/eclipse energy helped to reveal the ways I’m not allowing myself to just be and helped me to see how creating more of that space is one of the most important rituals I can do for myself.

So this morning, instead of rushing out the door, I took some time for self care. I did an herbal steam and was inspired to create this decadent mask that is good enough to eat!

Almond Flour |  The perfect gentle exfoliation that doesn’t feel gritty and leaves skin feeling cleansed without the stripping effect that can happen with other exfoliants.

Local Wildflower Honey | Honey is one of my favorite mask ingredients. Usually, I’ll just apply a thin layer on my face in the evening if I’m wanting to indulge in a little self-care. Honey has long been used on skin and wounds for its antimicrobial properties. Its warming nature helps bring fresh blood to the surface of the skin, giving you a subtle sweet glow.

Rose Water | A mild but effective toner, rose water helps to moisten this formula and add that sensual rose petal scent. It’s anti-inflammatory properties help to soothe irritated skin along with adding extra hydration.

Cardamom | Who doesn’t love cardamom? Not only are the seeds intoxicating, but they’re moistening and warming, bringing hydration and extra circulation to the skin.

Shatavari | One of our favorite adaptogens, shatavari is actually the root of a type of asparagus. Energetically, this herb is moistening and cooling, helping to calm irritated skin.

Agrimony Flower Essence | I felt called to add a little flower magic to the mask and reached for Agrimony. This ancient herb is helpful for those who are inwardly worrying or anxious, but present a carefree ‘mask.’ How perfect for this formula! Agrimony helps us deal with pain or trauma by not hiding it from others or ourselves, but to have the courage and confidence to face what’s going on. A truly special ally for these intense times.

M E T H O D  

1 part almond flour

1 part honey

1/4 part rose water

1/4 part shatavari powder

2 pinches cardamom powder

1 drop Agrimony Flower Essence (or another plant that is calling to you)

In a small bowl, mix the almond flour and honey together with a few drops of rose water. Mix well and add in the rest of the ingredients until a soft paste is formed. Feel free to tweak the ratios to get a consistency that’s to your liking.

Take about a quarter sized dollop into your palm and use your fingers to gently rub all over your face. Let the mask sit for 5-10 minutes then rinse off with warm water. Pat your face dry then add your favorite moisturizer.

Save any left over mask in the fridge or enjoy as a little sweet treat ; )

 

 

Kosmic Guide to Oaxaca City

S T A Y

The Wooden Box, an AirBnB outside of the city. We started our trip here, and it set the tone for a relaxing, stress-free trip. While we did wake up to blaring morning announcements on the town’s megaphone, the rest of the days were filled with sounds of birds chirping and afternoon showers. And, it’s one of the most well designed places I’ve ever stayed. Make sure to book tours with Sebastian who’s the house manager, he’s a ton of fun and will take your to all the best spots in Oaxaca.

Hotel Casa de la Tía Tere, located near the city center. This hotel is everything you need, and more. Breakfast is included, fresh eggs and veggies with a side of toast. And, afternoons can be spent by (or in) the beautiful plant lined pool. It’s walking distance to everything in Oaxaca City, and the hotel staff are super helpful.

F O O D

Try a tlayuda, it’s basically a Oaxacan pizza except the sauce is made out of black bean paste and it’s topped with avocado and local cheese. You can find these at most street food stands, especially in the evenings. It’s the main event in the photo above.

Eat a crispy fish taco at Pez. They have tons of freshly made toppings to dress up your taco: pico de gallo, pickled onions, salsa, etc. It’s got a really hip vibe, looks like someplace straight out of the Bay Area.

Order a gringa (and try to keep a straight face) at Tacomer, it’s a fresh tortilla filled and folded with cheese, al pastor, and a touch of pineapple inside.

Have an authentic bowl of pozole stew. This hearty broth is filled to the top with hominy (basically popped corn, but not at all like popcorn), cabbage, avocado, radish, lime, chiles, etc. You can get it green or red, I prefer the red.

Sip on menudo soup at the Mercado 20 de Noviembre. It’s like bone broth, but made with tripe and packed with chili pepper, hominy, lime, onion, and cilantro. It’s great choice for breakfast.

Have a fancy meal and eat EVERYTHING at Casa Oaxaca Cafe, especially mole. The outside seating is pure magic around sunset.

Get to know corn at world renown Tortillería y Antojería Itanoní. It’s well-respected for its involvement in the slow food movement, and for their stone ground organic corn. I loved the cheese and mushroom stuffed tetelas, which is like a triangular quesadilla (but better).

Try a memelita, small corn discs stuffed with fresh cheese, salsa, and occasionally squash blossoms. It’s nice to have at breakfast with an egg on top.

D R I N K

Hydrate with agua de jamica, a sweetend and chilled brew made with hibiscus.

Check out the local markets for fresh herbs. You might want to brew a cup of fresh chamomile tea during your trip to settle any fussy stomachs.

Skip coffee and try Oaxacan hot cocoa, it’s deliciously rich and spiced with cinnamon. Chocolate from this region of the world is like no other.

Drink mezcal, “kiss by kiss,” as said by the locals. It’s worth it to go to a nice mezcaleria while you’re there, or better yet, do a distillery tour. Made from agave plants, this ancient spirit can take on a variety of different flavors depending on where the plant was grown and its fermentation process.

S E E + D O

Jardín Etnobotánico de Oaxaca is a great way to connect with local plants, get a tour if you can. The photo above shows Chris and I in front of the incredible wall of cacti there. 

Traditional Medicine Tours booked through Tierraventura. We booked a traditional sweat, also known as a Temazcal, through the co-owner Claudia. It was the highlight of our trip. This ancient healing ceremony is meant to connect you back to the elements, and your truest self. They also do medicinal plant walks in the area, and a handful of other eco tours that support local plant folk.

Monte Albán is a must. It’s a huge source of pride for the local people there, and for good reason. This ancient town and ceremonial space was way ahead of its time. These hilltop ruins remain fairly intact, which is impressive, as these structures were built thousands of years ago by the Zapotec.

See one of the most beautiful trees in the world, a cypress named Árbol del Tule. This “tree of life” is said to be a few thousand years old, and is easily the largest tree I’ve ever seen.

If you have time, plan a workshop around natural plant based dyes. Local weavers use everything from moss to pomegranates to make their vibrant weavings. Sebastian (from The Wooden Box) arranged our tour, but looks like Trip Advisor has some listed.

S H O P

Admittedly, I did not go, but I heard great reviews of Museo de Textil de Oaxaca. It would be a great way to learn more about the incredible weavers in the area, and find quality rugs and textiles.

Keep an eye out for locally made red and black pottery at the markets, and La Casa de las Artesanias de Oaxaca. You can also head out to the local villages to see more of a variety.

Silvia Suarez clothing boutique is one of the most beautiful shops in in Oaxaca City. If you’re looking for traditional textiles with a modern twist–look no further.

I found wardrobe staples at Mariana Grapain Etno Diseño. Her tiny shop is filled with things she or her friends have made. I purchased a wool hat that I’ll wear indefinitely, and a felted and naturally dyed necklace that looks like a peyote button. What! Her shop is pure art.

Aripo is hands down the most well curated store I saw during my time in Oaxaca, just look at the photo above! It’s a little pricier than the local markets and street vendors, but everything there is gorgeous and super high quality, plus the store’s mission is to support local artisans.

___

Oaxaca is by far one of the most beautiful, artistic places I’ve ever been. I hope you go, and enjoy every minute of your adventure. Please share your favorite places you discover with us, below.

XO – Summer Ashley

 

 

Lavender, Chamomile + Skullcap Cooler

At the height of the summer, I find myself saying “yes” to far too much. The long bright days are positive, don’t get me wrong, but they inspire to work a little longer and harder than I probably should. This herbal cooler has been my saving grace, calming my nerves and inspiring me to take it down a notch.

It’s packed full with nervous system supporting herbs, chamomile and lavender to calm the mind and the belly, and skullcap to actively soothe and tonify the nervous system.

We love ours with honey, but you could easily use a drop of liquid stevia instead. Or, try a bit of licorice, a sweet building adaptogen that blends perfectly in the mix.

INGREDIENTS

2 tablespoons chamomile + lavender tea, dried (or 3 tea bags)

1/2 tablespoon skullcap, dried

2 tablespoons of honey

1 lemon, sliced

METHOD

Add your dried herbs to a quart sized jar. Then, boil water, pour it into the jar, and allow the mixture to steep covered for 10 minutes. Add in your honey, and stir. Once cooled, top with freshly sliced lemons and store in the fridge. Serve chilled.

What are your favorite herbal refreshments? Be sure to a leave a note, or tag us on Instagram @thegreatkosmickitchen. We love seeing what y’all are up to!

XO – Summer

JULY // Things We Love

+ My new hand embroidered Leaf Shirt by Goldie and Palou, its got plants in all the right places.

+ These handmade pants by Rachel of Running Rivers. They’re made from US grown cotton, and SO comfortable.

+ ‘Beaming’ about Fat & The Moon’s all natural highlighter. I use it on my cheeks, lips, and eyelids. Because contour doesn’t have to be toxic.

+ Which reminds me, this site is awesome for checking the health of your beauty products.

+ Kat Harrison is making a rare appearance in Nevada City, CA this August. She’s teaching a full day course called Botanical Elements of Ritual. Not that we needed another excuse to head north to the land of the Yuba!

+ Went to this sound meditation event at San Fransisco’s Conservatory of Flowers, and it was amazing. Chris and I got there about an hour early to enjoy the greenhouse and butterfly garden.

+ No plastic. No metal. This earth based bottle is my new favorite thing. From the original founders of Klean Kanteen.

+ This new poppy patch for my vintage Levi’s jacket.

+ Looking forward for Lacy’s UNBLOCKED Manifestation Workshop. I can’t recommend her courses enough.

Do you all have any recommendations for us? We love hearing about tips, tricks, and new products from our kosmic community.

XO – Summer Ashley

*Photo by Ally Crum Creative