Edible Flower Decorated Spiced Shortbread Cookies

There are lots of edible flowers you could use; for these today I am using Calendula and Chicory as both are abundant in my herb garden right now.

First though, we want to make the dough and get it in the fridge to cool, then we can harvest the flowers...

To make the dough:
Mix 2 c. whole wheat flour and 2 c. Millet flour (or some other combination of your choosing)
with 1 tspn. baking powder.

Then cut in 2 sticks of butter and use your hands to mix it until crumbly.  If you haven't done this before, it may seem like it'll never work, it will, cut the butter into small pieces and just keep at it until thoroughly mixed and looking like wet bread crumbs.

Grind 1 c. raw sugar with 10 Cardamom pods until fine.  Make sure to smell this - utterly divine!  Mix with 1 tspn. ground Nutmeg.  After grinding and mixing stir this into your flour butter mixture.

This is half the dough.

Then mix in 6 Tbspn. yogurt, then 4 Tbspn. hemp milk (or other milk of your choosing).  Just mix until mixed, no longer, no kneading.  Spatula this onto wax paper and roll into the desired diameter of your cookies (they will bake about 50% larger).  You may want to divide in half and then roll if you want smaller cookies.

Nature's Confetti - no need for artificial sprinkles. 

Put in fridge for half hour or longer.

Now we can harvest the flowers.  You will just use the petals, so pull them out and mix them.

It's a party in your kitchen; later it'll be a party in your mouth!

Preheat the oven 350 degrees, pull out your chilled dough and cut into slices about 3/8" thick and place on ungreased sheet.  Sprinkle with petals and press them into place.

Bake about 20 minutes, give or take depending on size of your cookies.  Makes about 32 large cookies.  What can I say, I like large cookies and I cannot lie.  :)  (The recipe could make 100 small ones).

"Come forth into the light of things; let nature be your teacher" 
                                                  - Wordsworth

The beloved Chicory - a medicinal wild plant.  The root makes a great coffee substitute.

The beloved Calendula - an important herb to cultivate - so many uses.


Extinction (and Tattoos, Grieving, and Health)

Health in the Garden.

I often get asked what my tattoos mean, so I decided to blog about them.  I'm going to start with the latest and in the future will write about some of the others...

A similar tattoo to the one found on the Ice Maiden, one of the most elaborate and well preserved tattoos found on an ancient person.  Read more about this interesting story here.

On my last visit back in April, I chose to get 3.  This was to make up for lost time since I hadn't gotten a tattoo since getting Lyme back in August 2011.  I hadn't gone that long since getting my first in 1995 and they form a special ritual for me; their mark being permanently on my skin as a representation of my life at the time is important to me.  It felt good to be well enough to do it.  So these tattoos represent that to me too.  They represent life and health in the midst of extinction.

The Extinction Symbol.  I like that I have it where I would have a watch because THIS is what time it is and it reminds me that NOW is all that matters.  Be Here Now.

And I say extinction because we are in the sixth greatest mass extinction right now.  Not only are insane numbers of creatures going extinct daily because of us humans, but we will likely follow suit before it's over.  This is a big deal and I mourned and grieved for years about it.  I feel I am now on the other side of that for the most part and now "simply" attempt to be in the moment, find joy, do what is important and good, and prepare as I can for the coming collapse.

'The Dancing Shaman' - a 10,000 y.o. cave painting - also representing Dance and Art in this time of needed Shapeshifting.

I felt the extinction symbol went well with the two other tattoos that are tied to primitive peoples as I think those peoples have a lot to teach us and that we will have to return to a more primitive way of living in the world to be sustainable, especially considering Peak Oil and other Peak resources.  We will need more community, more egalitarianism, more simplicity, more frugality, ....and less greed, selfishness, and shortsightedness.  I'm not sure that it's not too late; but I nonetheless do what I can, just in case. 

I hope you will join me.

​"At the stillpoint of the turning world

there the dance is.

And without the point

that stillpoint

there would be no dance

and there is only the dance."

- T. S. Elliot​


Peony Root

One man's trash is another man's treasure, or should I say 
"One woman's compost is another woman's medicine."

When dividing or transplanting Peonies, one always ends up with pieces of root...

Did you know this common flower has been used for thousands of years as a medicinal?
It's root is used in Traditional Chinese Medicine and is called Bai Shao or Chi Shao depending on whether or not the root bark is removed and on which species is used (White or Red).  Likewise, their properties and strengths will differ somewhat, but essentially, Peony Root, one of the herbs I use most often, is bitter, sour, and cooling.  It has astringent, relaxing, calming, decongesting, and relaxing actions.(Please see a qualified health practitioner to see if it's right for you as it has contraindications).

As with all roots one wants to utilize for remedy making, I slice it while it's fresh; it makes for much easier cutting.  Then I either use it fresh or dry it for storage, making sure it is totally dry before storing in an airtight container.  Peony Root can be tinctured or decocted either fresh or dried.  Here is a great book to consult on how that is done.  Of course, you need to consult a professional as to whether or not Peony Root is right for your circumstances; I am not giving advice or recommendations here, but rather educating as to Peony's traditional uses and sharing what I do with it; I am not recommending you do this.

Another consideration when harvesting roots is that ideally one does not harvest when the plant is involved in rapid new growth, flowering, or going to seed as the energy is going up into these processes, rather than being in the root.  This means the ideal time to harvest (and to do divisions for that matter) is fall after the foliage is dying back or very early spring before growth is abundant (or winter if ground is not frozen).  That being said, I do not waste Peony roots if I have a circumstance where they are being divided at a non-ideal time for root harvest.  This happens at times in my landscaping business.  Some plants are affected by this more than others.  I find the resulting Peony roots to be useful nonetheless. 

Ah, the wealth of gardening!