Herbal Remedies from Your Kitchen

When a single trip to the doctor’s office can cost hundreds of dollar and a visit to the emergency room can add up to thousands of dollars very fast. It is nice to know that there are simple home remedies that can save you some money.


Herbs and spices with mortar and bottle with oil

From heartburn and motion sickness to colds to cuts and hives, with these simple to follow instructions and a touch of love you will have your family feeling better in no time at all, as well as saving money.

Tea to help heartburn
1 cup water
1 teaspoon grated licorice root
1 teaspoon chopped fresh ginger
1 teaspoon dried chamomile flowers

In a small pan bring water to boil and add licorice root and ginger boil for 15 minutes. Remove from stove add chamomile flowers cover and let stand for 10 minutes. Strain into a cup and drink.

Licorice, ginger and chamomile are traditional, simple to make and low coast digestive tract soothers, which still work today when heartburn flares up.

Stomach-Calming Tea
1 cup water
1 teaspoon of peppermint
1 teaspoon of chamomile

In a small pan bring water to boil, pour water over dried herbs and steep for 10 minutes. Strain and pour into a cup.

Lemon Settler for motion sickness
(Over the counter motion sickness pills can and do make you very sleep this one will only make your motion sickness go away.)
Juice of 1 lemon
1 cup boiling water
1 teaspoon of honey
1 crashed sprig of spearmint

In a pan bring water, lemon juice, and honey to a boil. Stir to mix well add spearmint leafs and let steep for 10 minutes, strain and sip on it as often as you need too.

Anti-Diarrhea Tea
1 teaspoon dried blackberry leaves
1 teaspoon dried raspberry leaves

In a teacup add dried leaves, pour boiling water into cup allow too steep for 10 minutes. Drink 3 small cups a day with other fluids to prevent dehydration.

Electrolyte Drink
(Diarrhea can drain your body of liquids and electrolytes quickly which is very dangerous, replace them with electrolytes)
1 cup apple juice
2 cups water
1 teaspoon of salt
juice of one lemon

In a pitcher, combine apple juice, water, salt, lemon juice. Store in refrigerator, drink throughout the day to prevent dehydration.

Chest Rub for Bronchitis
30 drops of almond oil
15 drops of eucalyptus oil
5 drops of wintergreen oil

In a bowl mix all oils together, rub on your chest. Cover your chest with a cotton towel then place a heating pad on the towel. Snuggle under the blankets and get some rest.

Congestion Steamer
1 large bowl
3 tablespoon of each of the following:
Chopped thyme
Chopped sage
Chopped peppermint
Chopped eucalyptus
Chopped pine needles
Boiling water

Put herbs in a bowl add boiling water. Lean over the bowl with a towel draped over your head and the bowl inhale for 10 minutes repeat 2 to 3 times a day if needed.

Fever Tea
Linden Flowers
Elder flowers
1 cup of boiling water

In a bowl mix equal amounts of dried crushed herbs, pour water over let steep for 15 minutes. Strain, drink and then go get under the covers.

Anti-itch water for hives:
40 drops of lavender oil
Bowl of cold water

Mix until well blended, with a clean soft rag, dip in water solution and apply to effected areas.


And that’s it folks, if you enjoyed that article, be sure to check this section out on the huffington post, it’s AWESOME!

Think Green in the Kitchen

I just recently got back from a visit with my relatives. I love them but the amount of wasting they do in the house, especially in the kitchen really irks me!

I explained to them how they could help the environment more by being more effecient around the kitchen. So I decided to write this article as it may help others out there.

Think green in the kitchen. That is think about the environmental impact that your decisions may have when you use your kitchen. When using aluminum foil or plastic wrap reuse them at least once. This may require you to cover items with it as neatly as possible to keep from unduly wrinkling the foil or wrap. When you finally remove these from food or containers wash the wrapping material for reuse. You may be able to limit the use of wrapping materials by using containers with tops to store food. Reusing paper towel that is not soiled very much can save trees and your money will last longer. Use slightly used paper towels for wiping up spills around the kitchen. To refrain from using paper towels use the kitchen dish towel on spills.

Refrain from running water continuously while washing the dishes, because this wastes water and costs whoever pays the water bill. Use non-toxic cleaners in the kitchen. Use baking soda, lemon juice, and vinegar as non-toxic cleaners in the kitchen. Cleaning up as you go in the kitchen will make it easier to wipe up spills instead of allowing them to dry. When and if a spill dries it may cause you to have to use a harsh chemical to get it up. Wiping up spills as soon as they happen will allow you to get them up easily. This includes spills on stoves and in ovens and around pots. Always think green because it is usually safe and less harmful, if at all. Natural products and products that are packaged in natural materials are better for the environment. Be careful when buying products just because they say they contain “natural” flavors or ingredients. Some products label synthetically produced flavors and ingredients that mimic natural ones and call them natural. These imitation products may not contain any organic ingredients. Beware of misleading advertisement. When you purchase food or anything for the kitchen, make sure it is made of or from natural organic sources.

Wash dishes throughout the day by hand with one solution of dish water. Rinsing the dishes in cold water will remove any soapy residue. This is because, in general, hot water naturally activates soaps and cold water neutralizes soaps. Use cooled cooking water that you will not use for other food preparations to water your indoor plants to save on the water bill and the energy needed to use it. Remember to think green and to be green leads to less energy consumption, better health, and a healthier environment. In an extreme case you could also use non greasy dish water to mop the floor or clean a counter top or small appliance. Use less hot water as possible in the kitchen to avoid having to use the hot water tank. If you have a tank-less water heater than this will not be an issue. If you do not have a tank-less water heater unit installed in your home perhaps you could, at the latest, at your next purchase of a water heating unit. These use less energy and water than conventional units. You will also use less energy heating up water for use in the kitchen if you set your hot water tank at 120 degrees. Any temperature higher is a waste and can be hazardous.

Slate boards make a unique serving plate

I received the most interesting present over Christmas that I’ve been meaning to write about for a couple weeks now. This was something I didn’t even know existed, but now that I know it exists, I shouldn’t be the least bit surprised, because it’s marvelous! I don’t know how we made do without one before. I can hear you saying, enough suspense already. Alright, so what I received over Christmas was a Slateplate. It is, as the name implies, a plate made out of slate! Amusing, right?!

Believe me, it sounded weird at first to me too, but let me assure you that it’s a more than fitting gift. Slate has never been my idea of something elegant or classy, but I may have to revisit those thoughts after my experience with this gift. It simply exudes an aura of sophistication that most objects don’t possess.

Slateplate Slate Cheese Board

So more specifically, what I received was a slate cheese board from the company Slateplate. It’s an absolutely gorgeous, lush black color, which, let me tell you, rarely encompasses my feelings toward anything black. The black, for a slate serving board though, is a perfect fit. They even use it as plates for restaurants. As you can see in the link, the deep black really makes the food pop! Here, they discuss different materials used for restaurant dinnerware: https://www.slateplate.com/pages/which-tableware-material-should-you-use When you spread out a smattering of colorful foods, they look indescribably more beautiful on the slate than they do on ordinary serving platters.

I know it’s advertised as a cheese board, but so far my favorite thing to serve on it has been fruits and vegetables. Slices of apples, chopped melons, pineapple, grapes, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, diced peppers, and of course dressing or dipping sauce, are only some of the best candidates for the slate. The rainbow of colors produced even by the most ordinary food create a really fun and classy atmosphere. I cannot wait, I really cannot wait to be able to use the slate as a serving dish at my next house party. It’s just one of those things you know will be a hit, because it’s so unique, and so magnificently complements any array of food you’d dare to put on it.

The slate is perfectly clean, which wasn’t a concern of mine, but I feel some people might worry about that given that by its nature it’s a rock. The edges of the slate have been manufactured to perfect smoothness, so there isn’t a single rough patch on the entire thing. The top of it is cool to the touch and smooth, but Slateplate assures me it can also be used for piping hot food as well, which I have yet to try. It’s easy as pie to clean, just some soapy water and a sponge gets everything off it in seconds. According to Slateplate it’s also dishwasher safe, so if we put something messier on it, I think I’ll give that a whirl as well. It even has these cute little acrylic feet on the bottom with excellent grip so that it won’t slide on your countertops or table.

My husband, though he won’t admit it, has taken a liking to the slate. I caught him snacking off it once, whole slate in his lap, while he was watching TV. Our two sons adore it too. They can’t wait to “eat off the rock” again. Slateplate appears to offer a variety of sizes, so maybe one of these days I’ll surprise them and order a dinner set to use as regular plates. Wouldn’t that shock them!

Slate Cheeseboard

While it seemed like something odd and little, I must admit to this being one of my favorite gifts this year. It was unique, thoughtful, and I’m sure a definite crowd pleaser. I can’t wait to get more usage out of my splendid slateplate.

A fairly boring Day

My days are fairly boring. It is the same old drill every single day. Wake up, get dressed, head to the office, work, come back home exhausted, dine and sleep. When did I become a slave to this endless cycle of routine and monotony, I do not know but sure enough I realised I needed to get away from this life for a few days. For the sake of my sanity.

I am a foodie and a traveller soul inherently so to fulfil both my wishes, I chose a destination that would make the trip worthwhile. Being a vegetarian, the choice of a place also needs to go through some stringent checks. I zeroed in on Rajasthan eventually because it would be a perfect place to visit during winters.

The sand dunes of Jaisalmer, the alluring fort city of Kumbalgarh, the sprawling city of soaking blue Jodhpur, the holy city of Ajmer and the vibrant city of Pushkar. Rajasthan offered me nirvana of the soul and I was transported to another realm. The authentic Rajasthani food had me hooked from the day I set foot in the land of Thar. The photographer in me that went nascent due to the overworked corporate life I live, awoke with a vengeance. I had the most fun finding magnificent, breath-taking frames at every place I visited.

This trip being a solo trip gave me ample opportunity to reconnect with myself, find some perspective in life and get back to the day-to-day with rejuvenated energy. I urge you to take a solo trip once every year if you can, or at least once in your lifetime just when you feel that life is crushing you with responsibilities. You will discover new places, new cuisines and most importantly, you will rediscover the fire within you.

Life: shop till you drop

Recovering, that’s what I’m doing today!

This week my dear friend blew into town, for a whirlwind trip.

She’s a shopper, she actually gets an endorphin rush from spending money… quite an experience for this non shopper.  Saturday we shopped in three states, NY, PA, and NJ.  She came with one carry on, left with two checked bags and two huge shopping bags.

From Thursday to Saturday we ran 20 miles ~ spend the night in NYC ~ shopped a TON ~ skated at Rockefeller Plaza ~ danced ~ two happy hours to reconnect with friends ~ drove to Frenchtown, and New Hope/Lambertville, then back to Shorthills Mall for more shopping ~ celebration dinner with WT ~ dancing ~ yoga… so much laughing ~ I’m exhausted!

I have just a few days to recover before AWP comes home.  SO excited to see him.  I have only seen him once all year, for three days in June.

Reading: The Song Remains the Same (Winn Scotch). I didn’t have a minute to read this week but hope to finish this one in the next few days
Lotions & Potions: Check this out…  I have a sample of $350 eye cream! Have you tried 3LAB? I wonder if it’s magic in a bottle.
Shopping: You know how much I l.o.v.e. Anthropologie, here are the new towels I bought for the bath just off the kitchen.
Baking: My dear friend made Special K Bars before she left today.  Tonight I made Peppermint Crumble Bars.  Tomorrow I will make Bulla Bread, sugar cookies (decorated by AWP on Weds), and will finish making chex mix.  Tis the season!
Running: 24 miles.  Pretty good considering I wasn’t able to run much this week.

Books I can’t wait to read!

I love getting books in the mail, especially when they pique my interest and I can’t decide which one to read first. I work with a fabulous PR group that exposes me to wonderful titles and I can’t wait to read these books.  All set in Turkey, from modern day to Ottoman Empire.

Wait until I share the loot I brought home from Europe – I bought 18 books!

I started the first one today…

When Wings Expand (publish: Feb 2013): Winner of the Unpublished Muslim Writer’s Award 2011

Writing on the pages of her journal, Nur, a teenage girl in Canada, charts the onset and advance of her mother’s cancer. Nur watches her mother’s body begin to shrink and her mood begin to darken. And when family and friends begin to encroach, Nur must face the prospect of her mother’s looming death.

Nur bears the crushing loss and finds her adolescent life more demanding and complex. But with the legacy of her mother’s love, her family’s support, and the guidance of her faith, she manages to overcome the searing pain and use her newfound strength to bring joy to the lives of others, showing them that after death wings can expand.

Baksheesh (publish March 2013): Kati Hirschel, the owner of Istanbul’s only mystery bookstore, is fed up. It all started when her lover Selim insisted that she behave like the Turkish wife of a respectable lawyer. Looking demure and making witty small talk were the only requirements. Then her landlord announced an outrageous rent increase on her Istanbul apartment.

She has no desire to move in with Selim. She’d rather learn the art of bribing government officials in order to find a new place. Kati is offered a large apartment with a view over the Bosphorus at a bargain price. Too good to be true until a man is found murdered there and she becomes the police’s prime suspect. In her second novel Esmahan Aykol takes us to the alleys and boulevards of cosmopolitan Istanbul, to posh villas and seedy basement flats, to the property agents and lawyers, to Islamist leaders and city officials—in fact everywhere that baksheesh helps move things along.

The Sultan of Byzantuium (publish April 25): Fighting the Ottoman invaders in Constantinople, Emperor Constantine XI was killed—his body never found.

Legend has it that he escaped in a Genoese ship, cheating certain death at the hands of the Turks and earning himself the title of Immortal Emperor.

Five centuries after his disappearance, three mysterious men contact a young professor living in Istanbul. Members of a secret sect, they have guarded the Immortal Emperor’s will for generations. They tell him that he is the next emperor in line and that in order to take possession of his fortune he must carry out his ancestor’s last wishes.

What follows is his journey to the heart of a mystery of epic historical significance.

Life: bits and bites…

It’s a family joke that I nudge the World Traveler and say “can you stop breathing so I can fall asleep”. It’s sad to admit his breathing wakes me (he doesn’t snore).  This house is SO quiet that air coming out of the vent around 2AM wakes me – you  can imagine how foreign hotel sounds keep me up (and my Dad’s snoring).  I didn’t sleep on my fortnight in England.

Why share this story? I was beyond exhausted and jetlagged last week, I wasn’t my usual self.  Today I feel I can say that I have recovered from body fatigue and brain fog (ha).  My dad’s still talking about Oxford/London which is the sign of a good vacation.  He’s busy organizing photos to make a memory book, and looks through the photos on his iphone a few times a day.  So sweet.

Starbucks: Yesterday I drove 2 1/2 hours, to New Haven (CT), for a Frappuccino.

I wanted hours there, to explore, walk the campus, window shop the rows of stores (maybe find an amazing bookstore).  I’m trying to explore within three hours of home and Yale has been on my must see list so I decided to drive there at 1PM, for a day trip.   I didn’t think this through…

The GPS took us across the George Washington Bridge, through NYC, up 95 to New Haven (translation… traffic!).  This added almost an hour to our trip but we had time to drive through campus, and get Starbucks before driving home, via the Tappen Zee (Sleepy Hallow).  We left the house at 1:30, arrived at Yale around 4PM, left at 5PM, home by 6:50, greeted by hungry dogs. I will go back in the spring.  There are some good stores to explore up there!

Dogs: Lily, the puppy, must have a terrible stomach ache today.  She ate most of a bar of Sabon body butter (lotion, the size of a large bar of soap).  The guess the mint scent was too much for her – she’s a smart one… it was on the closet shelf, at least four feet off the ground.

She discovered ‘mint chip’ flavored gum a few months ago and is on a quest to find my secret stash.  She’s lucky she is so cute. 😉

Today: I have missed these days… so I’m thrilled to say today is a typical “me day”. Starting with a six mile hike at Jockey Hallow, a long chat with my Dad, and completed a french lesson. I also started a painting project.

Running: 21 miles this week / 88 for the month

Reading: When Wings Expand: I’m enjoying this book – it’s a heartfelt story filled with culture (synopsis just below this post)

Listening to: I’m catching up with my favorite podcasts, and a few new ones I discovered on vacation.

Excited to: work on a few small decorating projects.  Watch for before/after photos in a few weeks!

Do you have any exciting plans this week?  I would like to see a movie, do you have any recommendations?  The last movie I saw was The Welldigger’s Daughter (French with subtitles, I enjoyed it).

Have a wonderful week!

Life: for the love of London!

I haven’t been online much, heck… I haven’t even ordered Christmas cards yet.
We have had company in town for over a month (Dec 8 – Jan 25). Throw in some entertaining, day trips, the santa pub crawl, Christmas, New Years, and a two week trip to England for good measure – I’m exhausted!

Reading: I read a few books on holiday: Friendfluence, The Purple Shroud, Delirium, and The Perks of being a Wallflower.

Running: I ran 67 miles in twelve days! One day on the boat I ran 13 miles, one the deck (three lap = 1.1 miles).  I know this sounds crazy… but running calmed me (rough seas) and kept me busy. OMG… I just realized I ran a half marathon on a boat!

The Trip: I hope to write a separate post for this trip but let’s be honest.. I still haven’t posted on Ireland from last July…. so I’m taking time on my flight home.

My father booked himself a trip on the QM2 last fall, from NYC to Southampton and a month ago I decided to join him. We spent eight days at sea (I ran/walked 10-12 miles every day and survived a week of ‘extremely rough’ seas), followed by three days in Oxford, and three days in London.

London (why I joined him): I fell in love with William Shakespeare in the ninth grade… this is why I had to come to London.

With only three days to explore, we hired a driver once we got settled (by driver I mean cab).  We have the concierge find someone with knowledge of the city, based on the places we want to see that day.  It’s a great way to meet locals, hear stories, and learn about the city.  Bonus… they wait while you run into a Cathedral!  I saw a week’s worth of London in three days, with no stress/pressure (and my father didn’t have to walk).

The Tower of London: I’m related to Anne Boleyn, did you know this about me?  I guess I take this lightly, thinking everyone is related to someone of great historical importance but my assumption may not be true (based on the comment by our driver).  Anyway, I really wanted to see where she lived, was imprisoned, and where her execution took place. I think I will finally commit to reading Wolf Hall, which I bought the day it was released in 2009!

The distance from the London Bridge to the Tower can be measured in strides, and sits right on the Thames.  St Paul’s Cathedral, Castles, and walking the streets of the Great Fire…. it all came to life.  If you haven’t been to London and you enjoy history, this is a must see destination.

Highgate Cemetery: Let’s blame Audrey Neffenegger for this fascination. I have wanted to visit Highgate since reading Her Fearful Symmetry. This was a highlight of the trip! It’s spooky (in a good way) – walking down paths of overgrowth, exploring the stones, occasionally hearing blackbird wings whipping in the air high above you, the sounds of an owl, and the voices of children from a park blocks away. I’m going to listen to this book again, can’t wait!

photo: don’t the headstones on the far right look like ghosts?

We hired one a driver on our last day to bring us to a few places, including Notting Hill, seeing the dragons that protect the ‘city of London’… we were also lucky enough to see the changing of the guard (completely unexpected).  Then to Heathrow for an evening flight home, which isn’t anything like what we saw in the Bourne movie series (ha).

Life: when it rains, it pours

… thank goodness I love rain 🙂

A quick update from Washington Valley: I’m off to the home gym (upstairs) to watch the latest episode of Parenthood on the tread, and I have to work this evening.

Did you notice the header change ~ the running princess photo ~ love!

Health: It seems like a month ago that I got this news, but it was only five days ago.  I’m closing the chapter on the Lyme Virus.

Like I mentioned in August… I considered this training for something.  We are planning a big adventure for 2013, these past few months will help prepare for the mental strength I will need.

This weekend: started major project at home (time consuming) ~ still holiday decorating ~ finished a book ~ bought Mrs Claus outfit for pub crawl ~ Project Clover interviews & research ~ adventure 2013 research ~ worked (big deadline this Tuesday) ~ shopped… a bunch ~ shampooed carpet… at midnight ~ cleaned out closet drawers ~ and so much more.

Just a typical, never sit weekend!

Listening: free fallin’ acoustic (Pandora)
Loving: I haven’t watched Glee in a few years, forgot how much fun it is!
Thinking: life… never a dull moment
Wanting: to bake, but know better
Needing: more time
Reading: I finished a book last night, next up Friendfluence
Excited about: a new kitchen faucet will be installed this week
Today: cleaning, shopping, working, running
Planning: my week, deadlines, guests coming, a trip to NYC..
Grateful: for the home gym – joined a club last week but it’s hard to get there when it takes an hour round trip in commuting – excited for yoga though

How was your week?  I hope a little more relaxing than mine – I have just one more weekend to get a bunch of stuff done at home, then seven weeks with company!  I have to pack it all into two weekends but I am so excited for Dec 13 – Jan 30.

Life: the countdown begins

… the home invasion begins in three days!   I’m busy planning a weekend in the city, day trips to Pennsylvania, Connecticut and more.

Do you have any exciting plans over the holiday’s? Traveling somewhere?  Do you have any gifts you really want?

I asked for Rosetta Stone.  I hope to get this, the timing will be good since I will be on vacation for ten days in January (plenty of down time).



History: We continue to be amazed with the history surrounding us.  Last night we had dinner at Sammy’s, a restaurant that looks like a home (no signage) is actually a tavern dating back to prohibition.  We are planning to go back in a week/two, AWP will love it.

Making: Look what I found on Pinterest.  I’m making one of these bowls today, hoping it’s as easy as it looks.  If successful, everyone who visits my this holiday season will get one!
Listening: my dogs playing in the other room… and silence.
Loving: just about everything on Pinterest right now

Reading: The Song Remains the Same (Winn Scotch).  I’m only on page thirty… plot is setting up nicely!

Excited about: one of my closest friends arrives this week, watch out world!

Today: the tree is up… I should decorate but I’m heading to the mall.  I NEED two things (not really but I want them badly and I have a coupon). HA!

Grateful: for everything… our son will be home in eight days!

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