I wanted to repost one of my Letters To Natural Mama emails here to give anyone who’s curious a peek at the sort of content I share in these biweekly emails. They’ve taken over blogging for me in a sense, and it feels really good to share in this more intimate way—email to email that is. This particular “letter” was about a winter foraging trip, a favorite herbal hot chocolate recipe, recent blog posts, and more, so I’m sharing it here in its entirety. You can sign up for my Letters To Natural Mamas emails over on this page! Don’t forget—you also get my free e-book, Herbal Remedy Recipes: A Cheat Sheet For 10 of the Most Common Childhood Ailments, when you subscribe!
I hope you’ve had a great week, and that next week is looking like it will be just as good.
I’ve got some fun stuff for you in this week’s letter.
Today, I’m sharing a little bit about my recent winter foraging trip as well as a delicious herbal food recipe and some of what you may have missed last week on the Growing Up Herbal blog. Plus, I have a little “to-do” for you at the very bottom of this letter!
The weather can’t make up its mind here in upper East Tennessee. One week it’s freezing, snow has covered the ground, and the wood stove is burning non-stop, and then the next week its warm and sunny, we’re doing school lessons outside, and we’re driving around with the windows down!
A couple weeks ago, when the weather was cold and snowy, I met with my friend and mentor, Samantha Stephens, up at Cherokee Cove (an amazing retreat center close to where I live) so we could do some winter foraging.
(One of the best ways to learn about herbs and how to use them is to find out what’s available to you in your area, learn how to identify and harvest it, and then study how those specific plants can be used.)
Now, I do okay foraging for plants during the summer months, but I’m not very confident if finding herbs in the winter so my friend Sam helped me out. We hiked around for as long as we could stand it (it was COLD, y’all!) before heading in for some holy basil chai tea and some good conversation!
During our foraging trip, Sam taught me how to spot black and white pine, wintergreen, bittercress, turkey tail mushrooms, and rosehips. I collected a few things to bring home with me so I can study them more and play around making some foods with them. We’ll see what I come up with. If its good, I’ll be sure to share it with you!
Do you do any winter foraging? If so, feel free to reply back and tell me what you normally find? And, if you know of any resources for foraging or wildcrafting herbs that have been helpful to you, I’d love to hear about them!
Healthy Herbal Hot Chocolate
Today, I’m sharing a recipe from Rosalee de la Forêt’s new book—The Alchemy of Herbs, but before I get to the recipe, let me quickly tell you some health benefits of cacao. I promise, you’ll want to drink a cup of this hot chocolate ASAP after reading this!
- Cacao is high in flavonoids and antioxidants… two things that studies show protect against heart disease by lowering blood pressure, increasing HDL cholesterol, reducing inflammation, and more!
- Dark chocolate is a well-known mood enhancer, but scientists can’t seem to figure out the science behind this particular effect.
- Studies have also revealed that cacao improves cognitive function in the brain. It’s speculated that this is due to its balancing effect on blood sugar and improved blood flow.
- Lastly, a recent double-blind study revealed that cacao helps reduce the symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome when high-polyphenol chocolate was taken regularly.
So, here you go. Keep in mind that this recipe isn’t your typical super-sweet hot cocoa with a light chocolate flavor. This one is rich and decadent with a frothy top! You can add more honey to taste, and if you prefer your hot chocolate on the creamy side, substitute some sort of milk (cow or coconut) in place of the water.
Healthy Hot Chocolate
Yields 2 servings
- 2 cups water (or milk)
- 1/4 cup 100% cacao powder (16 grams)
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
- 2 tablespoons butter (or coconut oil)
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon honey, or to taste
- Put 2 cups of water in a medium saucepan and turn the heat to high. When the water is hot (not boiling), whisk in the cacao powder and cinnamon.
- When fully mixed, remove from the heat, then add the butter, vanilla extract, and honey. Stir to combine until the butter and honey have melted.
- Pour the liquid into a blender. Put the lid on loosely so steam can escape, and blend on high for 30 seconds.
- Pour into cups and enjoy immediately.
Bulk Herb Store now carries organic raw cacao powder if you’re looking for a good source, but you can also find it on Amazon (I’ve used this brand in the past).
On The Blog
I have two posts for you this week on the Growing Up Herbal blog.
VOCs can negatively impact your health. However, if you’re not ready to drastically change your lifestyle, but you want to decrease VOCs and off-gassing in your home, I have 5 practical tips on how to do just that!
We celebrated Isaiah’s 7th birthday this past week so I’m sharing a bit about this sweet kid over on the blog along with some photos of him over the past 7 years. Time flies, y’all!
Are you following me on Bloglovin yet? Don’t miss out on new Growing Up Herbal blog posts. Just follow me on Bloglovin, and you’ll be notified each time a new post goes live!
And, in case you wanna keep an eye out, let me tell you what to expect next week on the blog.
- I’ll be back with another, Things I Love post where I share 5 things I’ve loved this past month as well as my goals for next month! Don’t miss it, and stop by to share some of your goals for March. I’d love to know what you’re up to!
- I’ll be sharing a food recipe that is the result of my recent winter foraging trip as well. I’m not going to give away any details just yet, but keep an eye out for it midweek. It’s refreshing and yummy!
- Seeing how Herb Folk launches in April, I’ll be sharing some information with you about this new program and answering any questions you may have about it as well!
What Are You Interested In Learning?
Not only is Growing Up Herbal a lifestyle blog and a way for me to keep track of the natural living things I’m learning and doing with my family, but it’s also a way for me to connect with other like-minded folks (you) and help you live your life more naturally as well.
One way I do that is by providing you with helpful blog posts, answering your questions, introducing you to helpful resources, and being able to offer you exclusive discounts from awesome businesses from time to time.
Now, in order for me to give you more of what you want, I need to know what you’re interested in. So, if you don’t mind, if you could click on one or more of the following topics that are of interest to you, that would help me so much. [Links no longer work, but feel free to leave me a comment and let me know you’re thoughts!]
Real Food & Nutrition
When you click on any of the above links, all that happens is your email address is tagged with the above interest so I can send you additional info about those topics when needed.
For example, if I host a giveaway for a natural cleaner I’m really impressed with, I’ll send a short email reminder to everyone who’s interested in “decreasing toxins.”
Okay, thanks so much for letting me know what you’re interested in right now and how I can help you more! I really appreciate you being a part of my business, and I wanna make it even better for you!