My best cure for hiccups.

I have a theory about hiccups that I’d like to share!

There are many home remedies to cure hiccups. Teaspoons of sugar, deep abdominal breathing, breathing in a paper bag and getting startled with an unexpected ‘boo!’ are all well known hiccup cures.  My best friend from highschool Karen, was convinced the only way to cure hiccups was to get a glass of water and drink it upside down. I never quite got that, even though I saw her do it with my very own eyes! But have you ever noticed a common theme through all of these cures? They all make you do the same thing … stop whatever it was you were doing when you got the hiccups!

I believe hiccups are caused by stress. Stress in the body, which is caused by the mind not listening, so the body says ‘hey, stop that!’ and starts to hiccup. Apparently, scientists don’t know what causes hiccups. Well, I think they should look at what is common between all the cures and there is the answer. The cures all make you stop what you were doing by making you do some other little thing to give yourself a break. And why wouldn’t a spoonful of sugar work? And if it doesn’t, just go and sit in a pretty and quiet place with a nice cup of herbal tea and admire the garden or sky, it’s bound to fix you right up!

/smiles from me

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Feast for a Day – Valentine's (part two)

After much planning and a full day of preparation yesterday, this is what we actually ended up having for our special day-long celebration today for both Valentine’s and Chinese New Year.

breakfast
Love Heart Fried Eggs with Smoked Salmon, generous dollops of hollandaise sauce and a sprinkling of fresh chives
Homemade Tomato, Capsicum, Chilli and Garlic Pull-apart Bread
Peppermint & Lemon Balm Tea with honey
Chocolate Coffee with cream & sugar

mid-morning snack
Mint & Ginger Fruit Punch
Poorman’s Caviar with Corn Chips
Lemon Myrtle & Pistacio Biscotti dipped in cinnamon honey

lunch
Smoked Salmon & Carrot Sushi
more Mint & Ginger Fruit Punch

afternoon desert
Love Heart Icecream Cake with strawberries, chocolate sauce, and crumbled pink merringue

dinner
Lemon Myrtle & White Fish Cakes with Sweet Chill Sauce and Basil Fried Rice

How to make

Icecream Cake
6 scoops of strawberry shortcake icecream mixed with 6 cut up caramel chocolates, a handful of crushed cashews, 3 crumbled chocolate biscuits, press into a cling-wrap lined heart-shaped small cake tin and freeze overnight

Mint & Ginger Fruit Punch
1 can of fizzy soft drink (we used Lemon Squash), a tablespoon of fresh ginger juice (grate and mix with a little tonic water then strain), add cut up 2 nectarines, 1 orange, a handful of strawberries and love-heart shaped ice cubes, a handful of fresh mint leaves, top up with Mango Juice as required

Love Sprinkles and herbal Love Tea

I’m working on some herbal combinations, one is a herbal tea and another is some herbs to add to pasta sauce. I’m also working on a mix of herbs to add to a relaxing hot rice pack. All the herbs I’m using come from my garden and, according to tradition, are good for love and weddings!

Marjoram is thought to be the herb for ‘marital bliss’ and should be added to food to strengthen love! It has a very subtle flavour, so it will be the main ingredient of my Love Sprinkles. I’ve read marjoram is best dried, then elsewhere I read it’s best fresh, so who knows? I’ve dried a bunch already by hanging them up in a paper bag. I’ve started to remove some of the leaves to test how it holds its flavour. To that I’ll add a little rosemary, which is a strong flavour, and some flecks of chilli flakes for a bit of spicy passion! These herbs would be good added to pasta sauce or maybe vegetables. I hope to try it out very soon.

For a herbal Love Tea, I use peppermint, lemon balm and pineapple sage. This makes a subtly flavoured relaxing tea. As I used fresh herbs for this, it needed to be steeped quite long, about 10 minutes. Lemon balm is well known as a good herbal tea.

Here are three ideas I’m working on for herbal combinations which are good for love and weddings.

good for herbal tea (Love Tea)
pineapple sage – weddings, wisdom
lemon balm – love
peppermint – love & sleep

good for food (Love Sprinkles)
rosemary – weddings, memory
marjoram – weddings
chilli – passion

good for rest (Hot Love Rice Pack)
lavendar – love & sleep
lemon myrtle – love & sleep
oregano – weddings & sleep


Feast for a Day – Valentine's

It’s important for strong mental health to mark the passage of time with friends and loved ones by celebrating special occasions together. This year, Valentine’s Day falls on a Sunday so this will be the last weekend day for a couple of years. Next year, David will be at work. So David and I have decided we shall celebrate with a day long feast!

To design the menu, we came up with three words to describe our greatest hopes for our relationship, this being the time to celebrate “love”. We then assigned colours and foods to these themes, then created a menu with each dish containing at least one thing from each theme. Another way to describe this “spell” we made up is to describe it as a “positve affirmation”, because after you eat each dish, you could think or whisper the three romantic words together! The only hocus-pocus here is to remind ourselves of our goals for our life together, and to consolidate it in a yummy but meaningful way.

Passion – Longevity – Faith

Passion – heat, red, sweet, blood
(eg. chillies, pepper, honey, mint, tomatoes, red wine, red kidney beans, red capsicum, rosewater, strawberries, passionfruit, lamb, ham, salmon, wasabi, coffee etc.)
Longevity – life, health, trees, green
(eg. rosemary, basil, oregano, marjoram, lemon myrtle, lemon balm, olive oil, eggs, eggplant, apples, linseed, tree nuts, nutmeg, peas, dairy, flour, rice, citrus etc.)
Faith – earth, strong, white, reliability
(eg. potatoes, water, onions, carrots, chives, chocolate, garlic, ginger, groundnuts (peanuts), cinnamon, mayonaise, etc.)

DRAFT Feast for a Day menu (will post fotos of what we actually did later)
(if you use this idea on your website, please link back to my blog, thanks!)

breakfast
Peppermint, Lemon Balm and Ginger Tea (passion, longevity, faith)
Hot Chocolate Coffee with Cream (passion, longevity, faith)
Heart-shaped Eggs Benedict with Smoked Salmon and Chives (passion, longevity, faith)
Garlic and Tomato Homebaked Bread (passion, longevity, faith)

morning tea
Heart-shaped Rosewater and Peanut Cookies (passion, longevity, faith)
Spice Milk Chai, incl. caffiene, ginger, nutmeg etc. (passion, longevity, faith)

lunch
Salmon and Carrot Sushi Rolls with Sweet Chilli Sauce and Wasabi (passion, longevity, faith)
Mango Juice with sprigs of mint and ginger (passion, longevity, faith)
Apple Juice with floating strawberries and a dusting of cinnamon sugar (passion, longevity, faith)

dinner
Roast Lamb with Rosemary and Garlic (passion, longevity, faith)
Basil Fried Rice with Peas, Onion, Red Capsicum and Chilli (passion, longevity, faith)
red wine (passion) to be served in green glasses with white ribbon (longevity & faith)
Garlic and Tomato Homebaked Bread (passion, longevity, faith)

snack and drink ideas
Pistacio and Lemon Myrtle Biscotti with Honey and Cinnamon dip (passion, longevity, faith)
Hot Apple Tea with Cinnamon and Honey (passion, longevity, faith)
pappadoms with carrot and margoram dip (passion, longevity, faith)
corn chips with tomato and onion salsa (passion, longevity, faith)
Poorman’s Caviar  – red capsicum, eggplant, garlic (passion, longevity, faith)

desert
Love-heart Shaped Pavlovas with Strawberries, Cream and a drizzling of chocolate sauce (passion, longevity, faith)
Strawberry Shortcake Icecream with a dusting of sweetened cocoa powder (passion, longevity, faith)

make before the day
garlic and tomato bread
rosewater and peanut cookies
peppermint and lemon balm tea
hollandaise sauce and pavlova shells (or merringues)
pistacio and lemon myrtle biscotti

The Herbs in Our Garden

One of my greatest simple joys at the moment is our cute little herb garden. Although it was a challenge to get established, it’s finally starting to become productive.That might be because our companion plants like basil and lavendar are growing nicely and their smelliness is discouraging pesky pests. Taking care of these herbs is a sure-fire tonic for keeping the blues at bay.

Growing your own herbs is a very simple and satisfying way to save money too. If you love good food, you would know having fresh herbs at hand is always best. Buying a bunch of herbs from the supermarket is wasteful, expensive and just not as good as growing them in a pot at your back door and taking a sprig or two as you need it. The absolute essential herb as far as I’m concerned, which is the first one we were able to successfully grow and harvest, is parsley. It’s very healthy, versatile and hardy. But now we have a bunch of other herbs that are turning out to be real joys, for example, having three types of basil and mint on hand is just wonderful!

Here is a quick break down of the herbs currently in our potted garden and what they are good for. Many also have traditional ‘magic’ properties too, which I think is nice to just keep in mind, even if you don’t fully believe in that kind of thing. After cross referencing several websites I found common themes amongst them using various words meaning basically the same thing. So I came up with three practical catergories that are meaningful to me.

aloe vera – skin (burns and rashes), “health”
basil (thai, all-year-round, sweet) – relative to peppermint, antioxidant and antibacterial, add last to hot food, “health & passion”
chamomille – flowers make a relaxing tea, also good for the skin “health & sleep”
chilli – antibacterial, good for nasal congestion, migraine relief, high blood pressure, good in winter, increases metobolism, “passion”
chives (garlic, onion) – like garlic and onions, antibacterial and antioxidant, but milder, fresh is best “health”
coriander – wonderful fresh herb for salads, “health & passion” (weddings)
lavendar – relaxing tea, migraines, insect repellant “health, passion & sleep”
lemon balm (a type of mint) – relaxing tea, stomach aches, pre-menstrual cramps, headaches, overuse can cause insomnia “health & passion”
lemon myrtle (eucalyptus, part of the myrtle family) – a relaxing tea, good for headaches, used in cooking for a mild lemon flavour, antioxidant “health, passion & sleep”
marjoram – food preservative, relaxing tea, good in cooking, upset tummy, headaches, mild antioxidant and antifugal, dried is best, “health & passion” (weddings) “add to food to share with your object of affection to strengthen love”
mint – good with peas, juices, punch, tea, icecream “health & passion”
oregano – antioxidant rich, antibacterial, close relative to marjoram, makes a good tea for nasal congestion, dried is best “health & sleep” (weddings)
parsley – high in iron, good for high blood pressure, tummy upsets and uti, breath freshener, toothache, constipation, detox, salads “health & passion”
peppermint – tea, indigestion, tummy upsets, IBS, cough suppressant, morning sickness, relaxing herbal bath, “health, passion & sleep”
pineapple sage – tea (with lemon balm), anti-anxiety, “health, passion & sleep” (weddings & wisdom)
rosella hibiscus – native bush fruit for making jam “passion”
rosemary – food preservative, cook with lamb, good for upset tummy, relaxing baths, may protect against cancer, use liberally in food, “health & passion” (weddings & memory)

resources
http://www.global-garden.com.au/gardenherbs.htm
http://www.scribd.com/Herbs-and-Their-Magickal-Properties
windspirit57.tripod.com/id4.html
http://www.earthwitchery.com/herbsa-g.html
http://www.sunion.warwick.ac.uk/pagan/articles_magass.htm
http://www.gardensablaze.com/HerbMarjoramMag.htm
http://www.herballegacy.com/Branca_History.html
http://www.ehow.com/how_4436311_oregano-tea-rid-sinus-problems.html
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myrtaceae

Lavendar Afternoon

Last Easter, when we visited David’s father and his fiance in Stanthorpe, we stopped by a lavendar farm and got our very own lavendar plant to grow. So far it seems to have adjusted to the climate change (it can get very cold in Stanthorpe). We gave it a good sized pot and put a lucky grow charm at the base. I’m trying to shape it by pruning lightly. I’m supposed to do this after it finishes flowering I know, that’s why there aren’t as many flowers on it as there otherwise might be.  After the flowers finish, I deadhead them and keep the dried flower. It prefer’s a sunny spot and a good water, but doesn’t like to sit soaking.

After the stresses of the morning, I knew I had to take my stress management into my own hands and decided to make a lavendar bag! I made this one in about 30 minutes and did it by hand, not machine, as I did it for relaxation more than anything. It’s quite easy, this is how I did it.
Fold a scrap piece of pretty material in half with the back of the material on the outside, the front facing each other inside.
If a seam of the lip will fray, hem it first using blanket stitch and some matching coloured thread.
Using backstitch hand sew down the side of each of the two edges.
Turn the bag right way out.
Fold a scrap piece of thin white ribbon in half, put a knot in the end.
Sew the half way point of ribbon about an inch down from the top of the bag.
Put some tablespoons of dried lavendar inside and twist the ribbon around the bag to close it.

On one of our trips to Indoorpilly with David’s mum and his sister Michelle, we stopped by the T2 Tea shop, which is full of relaxing teas.  While we were there, some tea cups and saucers fell from a high shelf, as if of their own accord. One tea cup remained intact, so I declared it a lucky tea cup and bought it! I also picked up a packet of dried lavendar from there. Lavendar tea is very good for stress management and soothing migraines. I didn’t know you could drink lavendar tea like that, and through trial and error this is how I’ve come to prefer my lavendar tea.
Add 2 teaspoons of dried lavendar to a small tea pot with a removable mesh cup.
Fill with boiling water for no more than 2 minutes.
While waiting, jiggle the pot!
Test the colour every 30 seconds to make sure its not too strong.
Add 1 teaspon of sugar per teacup of tea before sipping.
Enjoy!

I remember a song my dad used to sing to me when I was little…
“Lavendar blue, dilly dilly, lavendar green.
When I am King, dilly dilly, you shall be Queen.
Who told you so, dilly dilly, who told you so.
Twas my own heart, dilly dilly, who told me so.”
/awwww