Monday, May 30, 2011

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Thank goodness for Dandy Blend!

I'm quitting coffee. At first I denied my need for a morning cup of Joe. Then when I realized I couldn't honestly make it to 10am without caffeine I realized my problem: I'm a coffee addict. I love coffee - the taste, the aroma. But sometime in the last half year it became a habit, something I did not because I enjoyed the cup, but needed it. Blech!

In my efforts to boycott Starbucks until I have this daily addiction under control I've tried just about every kind of tea known to womankind: black, white, green, roasted twigs, herbal, red bush. You name it. After a friend posted an amazing sounding iced coffee description on Facebook I had had it with the hot beverages and went straight to the cabinet for the box of Dandy Blend. It doesn't smell or taste like coffee but it is my favorite coffee substitute. I made a tall glass of iced dandy and it was gooood! Here's the recipe.

Iced Dandy Blend
1 pouch instant Dandy Blend
handful ice
sweetener (I prefer honey or raw sugar)
light cream (you can also use a non-dairy creamer like soy or coconut)
hot water
cold water
splash of vanilla extract (only if using light cream and not a flavored creamer)

Dissolve Dandy Blend and sweetener in a small amount of hot (not boiling) water. Stir in creamer, ice and cold water until glass is full. Sip and enjoy!

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Lilac Extract Experiment

Here in the Greater Boston area we're in early-to-peak lilac season and it is heavenly! Shades of lilacs in milky white, blue-purple and rich burgundy can be spotted in many front and side yards. They are popular along the fence lines for extra privacy in the summer. But their short spring season is a delight to the nose and the eyes.

As a recent graduate of a clinical aromatherapy program I thought to myself, "surely these must have some kind of therapeutic application?" A quick scour of the internet gave me a recipe from the wisdom of Jeanne Rose, famous aromatherapist and herbalist who has written several volumes on plant subjects. My inner mad scientist was sparked at once and I collected several stalks of lilac and a bottle of alcohol.

I used a 1.5 liter jar and loosely filled it with fresh picked lilac blossoms (trimming leaves and the woody stems). Then I placed a clean stone (I run mine through the dishwasher in a lingerie bag but stones can also be boiled gently in a pot of water on the cooktop), on top of the blossoms to weight them down. I poured a liter of vodka over the flowers, sealed the jar and labeled it with the date.

Here in Massachusetts it is nearly impossible to obtain higher octane alcohols, I've been told it is due to abuse by the very young drinking population. It doesn't make it easy for those of us who wish to preserve plant materials for cosmetic or oral use. I would have preferred something like Everclear brand as that is what I used when I actively made herbal tinctures back in New Mexico. However, in a pinch (since I'm not driving to Providence or New Hampshire before lilac season is through), my experience is that vodka is a reasonable substitute.

I'll post a follow-up, even if I'm left with a jar of toxic sludge, in the coming weeks. I plan to replenish the pot with fresh lavender blossoms as long as I can find them! If you're near Stoneham and want to donate some stalks to my cause I'd be happy to hear from you! :-)

"The spring is fresh and fearless
And every leaf is new,
The world is brimmed with moonlight,
The lilac brimmed with dew.

Here in the moving shadows
I catch my breath and sing --
My heart is fresh and fearless
And over-brimmed with spring."
- Sara Teasdale, May Night, 1920

Winner Announcement from the Strive to Thrive Health & Wellness Fair!

We had a special raffle drawing at our booth on April 30th at the Strive to Thrive Health & Wellness Fair. We've used the Random Number Machine ( to choose our winners based on their completed entries at the fair. Without further ado, here they are:

1.)Patricia Marano is the first prize winner - she has won the Total Reflexology boxed kit by Kevin and Barbara Kunz.
2.)Cari Conserva is our second prize winner - she has won the Foot Reflexology socks.
3.)Juanita Baxter is our third prize winner - she has won the Redmond Bath Salts.

Congratulations ladies! We appreciate everyone who came out to the fair and dropped by our booth, it was nice to see so many smiling faces last weekend!

Prizes will be available at the office for the next two weeks, please call or email to arrange a pickup time. Items not collected within this time frame will be donated.

The Barefoot Dragonfly
489 Main Street
Stoneham, MA 02180