RECIPE: The Legendary Four Thieves Vinegar

RECIPE: The Legendary Four Thieves Vinegar
I can’t remember where exactly I first discovered Four Thieves vinegar, but I was intrigued by its use in history and it’s legendary story. Myth has it that a group of thieves during the European outbreak of the black plague set out to rob the dead and the sick in Marseille. When they were caught, they offered to exchange their secret recipe, which had allowed them to commit the robberies without catching the disease, in exchange for leniency. Another version says that the thieves had already been caught before the outbreak and their sentence had been to bury dead plague victims; to survive this punishment, they created the vinegar.

Recipes for this legendary concoction are as numerous as the stories. The following vinegar recipe hung in the Museum of Paris in 1937, and is said to have been an original copy of the recipe posted on the walls of Marseilles during an episode of the plague:

Take three pints of strong white wine vinegar, add a handful of each of wormwood, meadowsweet, wild marjoram and sage, fifty cloves, two ounces of campanula roots, two ounces of angelic, rosemary and horehound and three large measures of champhor. Place the mixture in a container for fifteen days, strain and express then bottle. Use by rubbing it on the hands, ears and temples from time to time when approaching a plague victim. [Source]

Plausible reasons for not contracting the Plague was that the herbal concoction contained natural flea repellents. Since the flea is the carrier for the Plague bacillus, Yersinia pestis. Wormwood has properties similar to cedar as an insect repellent, as all aromatics like sage, cloves, camphor, rosemary, campanula, etc. Meadowsweet, although known to contain salicyclic acid, it is mainly used to mask odors, like decomposing bodies.

Modern day versions of four thieves vinegar include various herbs that typically include sage, lavender, thyme, and rosemary, along with garlic. Additional herbs sometimes include rue, mint, and wormwood. It has become traditional to use four herbs in the recipe—one for each thief, though earlier recipes often have a dozen herbs or more. It is still sold in Provence. In Italy a mixture called “seven thieves vinegar” is sold as a smelling salt, though its ingredients appear to be the same as in four thieves mixtures.

RECIPE: The Legendary Four Thieves Vinegar

The Legendary Four Thieves Vinegar
 
One of the main reasons I wanted to make this vinegar is because I have all of the following herbs growing fresh in my garden! If you have your own herb garden, this is a great way to use your harvest.
Author:
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lavender, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh sage, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh marjoram, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh anise hyssop, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
  • ½ teaspoon black peppercorns, crushed
  • 3 whole cloves, crushed
  • 16 oz raw apple cider vinegar
Instructions
  1. Combine chopped herbs, spices and garlic in a quart size mason jar and cover with the apple cider vinegar.
  2. Allow to infuse for 7-10 days in a sunny location then strain into a clean jar. Store at room temperature.

RECIPE: The Legendary Four Thieves Vinegar

Uses

Natural Cleanser – The herbs used in this recipe posess strong antimicrobial effects and vinegar, in any case, makes an excellent natural cleanser. Fill a spray bottle with the vinegar and use it to clean and sterilize kitchen counters and bathrooms.
Astringent – Dilute some vinegar with water and use as a cleansing agent or astringent for the skin.
Insect Repellant – Fill a spray bottle with 1/4 cup of vinegar and top with filtered water. Spray on skin, clothes, etc. to deter pesky bugs.
Seasoning – Use as a seasoning for braised meats and vegetables or make a vinaigrette dressing for salads.
Immune Booster – Use like Fire Cider and take a teaspoonful several times a day to prevent cold/flu.

RECIPE: The Legendary Four Thieves Vinegar

RECIPE: Two Bloody Mary Vodka Infusions

RECIPE: Two Bloody Mary Vodka Infusions #cocktail #party

In my last post, I mentioned that my 31st birthday is coming up and I am planning to celebrate by hosting a Bloody Mary themed party. I’ve been craving a good Bloody Mary ever since we got hit with our first heat wave in Portland. It felt too hot to cook or really eat much in 95+ degree heat and a cold Bloody Mary with all the fixings sounded like the perfect dinner on a hot summer night. (Un)lucky for me, the weather forecast for this coming weekend says the heat will be back on with another 97 degree high so I guess I’ll finally get exactly what I’ve been craving.

In preparation for the party I decided to infuse some vodkas. I chose two recipes, a special Bloody Mary Infusion (think garlic) and Bacon Habanero (think spicy).

RECIPE: Two Bloody Mary Vodka Infusions #cocktail #party

5.0 from 1 reviews
Bloody Mary Infused Vodka
 
Author:
Recipe type: Cocktail
Ingredients
  • • Garlic, crushed
  • • Tomato, sliced
  • • Olives
  • • Bell Pepper, halved
  • • Cilantro
  • • Dill
  • • Vodka
Instructions
  1. Fill a large mason jar with garlic, tomato, bell pepper, olives and herbs. I filled my jar about ⅓-1/2 of the way. Next add the vodka, filling the jar. Allow to infuse in the refrigerator for at least three days (I infused for a full week). Strain and discard the veggies, then pour infused vodka back into a clean jar or bottle.

RECIPE: Two Bloody Mary Vodka Infusions #cocktail #party

The Bloody Mary Infusion can be made up any way you want so feel free to try different combinations. Other ingredients to consider adding are: celery, cucumber, jalapeño, peppercorns. Now on to the bacon….

RECIPE: Two Bloody Mary Vodka Infusions #cocktail #party

5.0 from 1 reviews
Bacon Habanero Infused Vodka
 
Author:
Recipe type: Cocktail
Ingredients
  • 6 slices pepper bacon, cooked
  • 3 habanero peppers, halved and seeded
  • 2 serrano peppers, halved and seeded
  • Vodka
Instructions
  1. Place bacon and peppers in a large mason jar and cover with vodka, filling the jar. Let infuse in the refrigerator for up to one week. Give it a taste test after 3-4 days. The longer it infuses the spicier it will become.

RECIPE: Two Bloody Mary Vodka Infusions #cocktail #party

RECIPE: Candied Jalapeños

RECIPE: Candied Jalapeños by Adventures In Making

My 31st birthday is coming up and I’m planning to celebrate with a Bloody Mary themed party. To get ready I decided to make some creative garnishes including these candied jalapeños. I first discovered these sweet and spicy gems years ago when my friend Lindsay gifted me a jar. I can’t wait to try them on my fully loaded garnish skewer floating atop a spicy bloody mary cocktail!

RECIPE: Candied Jalapeños by Adventures In Making

Candied Jalapeños
 
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This recipe makes four 8 oz canning jars.
Author:
Recipe type: Garnish
Ingredients
  • 1½ lbs jalapeños
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3 cups white sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon celery seed
  • 1½ teaspoons garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
Instructions
  1. Cut off the stems of the jalapeños and slice into ⅛-1/4 inch rounds. Set aside.
  2. Combine cider vinegar, sugar, turmeric, celery seed, garlic powder and cayenne pepper in a medium pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the jalapeños and simmer for exactly 4 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the peppers in to sterile canning jars. Turn up the heat on the pot and bring the syrup to a rolling boil. Boil hard for 6 minutes.
  3. Use a ladle to pour the syrup over the the jars covering the jalapeño slices. Insert a chopstick or butter knife in to the jars to release any air bubbles. Wipe the rim of the jars clean with a damp towel and secure lids.
  4. Place jars in refrigerator to mellow for 2-3 weeks (you can also can your jars using a hot water bath method).

RECIPE: Candied Jalapeños by Adventures In Making

I plan to eat these candied jalapeños with everything! They’d be perfect added to a charcuterie board, in a grilled cheese sandwich, on a pizza (with pepperoni and pineapple), or even on nachos instead of pickled jalapeños.

RECIPE: Candied Jalapeños by Adventures In Making

RECIPE: Homemade Banana Bread

RECIPE: Homemade Banana Bread
I’ve felt the urge to bake these past few weeks, but haven’t brought myself to turn on the oven with our 90+ degree heat wave here in Portland. It’s finally starting to cool down (to the 80’s), so I decided I was finally ready to use up my over-ripe bananas and turn on the oven. The best time for baking during the summer is either early in the morning, or late at night (the ‘cool’ hours of summer). Since I’m more of a night owl, I decided to stay up late and bake a yummy loaf of banana bread while watching a movie. I have to say, the best part of late-night baking is waking up the next morning to a fresh slice of banana bread and coffee for breakfast!

RECIPE: Homemade Banana Bread

Homemade Banana Bread
 
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Recipe type: Breakfast
Serves: 8 servings
Ingredients
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2-3 ripe bananas
  • 1½ cups flour (I used 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour + ½ cup all-purpose)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ cup walnuts, crushed or chopped
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a small loaf pan and set aside.
  2. Using an electric mixer, cream together butter and sugar. Add in the eggs, beating well after each one. Then add the vanilla and bananas, beat until just combined.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Use a whisk to stir well. Slowly pour flour mixture into the electric mixer and beat on low until combined. Stir in the walnuts.
  4. Pour batter into greased loaf pan and bake for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Enjoy with coffee or tea in the morning or as an afternoon snack. Yum!

RECIPE: Homemade Banana Bread

RECIPE: Mango Salsa With Garden Cilantro

RECIPE: Mango Salsa with Garden Cilantro #homegrown

Mango salsa is one of my all-time favorite dishes to make. Loading up a bowl of it with chips is one of my favorite summer-time meals. This year I planted some cilantro seeds in my garden and couldn’t wait to harvest it and try out a recipe from Doreen Shababy’s book, The Wild & Weedy Apothecary. Doreen’s book is a wonderful resource for any budding herbalist as it’s bursting with herbal recipes and remedies.

RECIPE: Mango Salsa with Garden Cilantro

About growing cilantro…

This was my second attempt at growing cilantro from seed. Cilantro can be a little tricky as it tends to bolt (spring up flowers) rather quickly, especially in hot weather. Cilantro thrives is cool, moist weather, so with our recent heat wave here in the Pacific Northwest there was nothing I could do to prevent my cilantro from sending up it’s long, spindly flowers. So instead of fretting over it, I just planting some new seeds to begin another crop.

Some growing tips:

– For a continuous crop all season long, plant cilantro seeds every two weeks.
– Plant in a container at least 18 inches wide and 8-10 inches deep.
– Follow the planting instructions on your seed packet. Seeds should germinate in 7-10 days.
– Place containers in full sun, or if you live in a hot climate, light shade.
– Harvest at least weekly to keep leaves coming.

RECIPE: Mango Salsa with Garden Cilantro

Now on to the salsa recipe. I made up a double batch so that I could take some to a friend’s birthday party and save some for myself 🙂

Mango Salsa With Garden Cilantro
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: Mexican
Serves: Approx. 4 cups
Ingredients
  • 2 ripe mangos, ripe, coarsely chopped (about 3 cups)
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, minced (remove seeds if you like it mild)
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 3 scallions, sliced
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Juice of 1 orange
  • Cayenne pepper, optional
  • Salt, optional
Instructions
  1. Peel and chop up the mangos (if you've never cut open a mango before, the pit is large, long and flat, so you basically cut around the pit). Combine all ingredients and refrigerate at least 30 minutes. Then taste and add a dash of cayenne and salt if needed.

RECIPE: Mango Salsa with Garden Cilantro

Serve this yummy salsa as an appetizer with chips, over fish or shrimp tacos, or even use it to garnish chicken dishes.

RECIPE: Mango Salsa with Garden Cilantro

RECIPE: Oven-Roasted Chickpeas, The Nut-Free Snack Sensation

IMG_9398
I have never been a big fan of tree nuts (and I despise peanuts) so it wasn’t a big deal when I noticed that I was allergic to them; but it does make vegetarian life a little more complicated. Nuts seem to be the go-to protein rich snack, and I’ve spent years trying to find the perfect replacement.

One day Safety Husband brought home a pouch of oven-roasted garbanzo beans, and I had an aha moment.

Oven roasted beans! Crispy! Crunchy! Fulfilling! Portable! Amazing!

So I set out to make my own. I decided to start with dry beans to ensure maximum crunchiness, but there are also recipes online that use canned chickpeas/garbanzo beans. I found directions from America’s Test Kitchen, but have made several changes to better suit my taste (and experience. The hour suggested by ATK is way too long, in my experience.)

RECIPE: Oven-Roasted Chickpeas
 
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These oven-roasted chickpeas are salty, crunchy, and keep for days in a sealed container. Perfect for road trips, camping trips, or any other time you need a protein rich snack. *Plan a day ahead- you will need to soak the dried beans overnight.
Author:
Recipe type: Snack
Cuisine: American
Ingredients
  • 1 pound dried chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans)
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt
  • Dried spices to taste
Instructions
  1. The day before cooking, place the dried beans in a bowl and cover with water. The beans will absorb a lot of the water, so make sure to cover by at least an inch of water.
  2. After the beans have soaked for at least 12 hours, drain and rinse them well with clean water.
  3. Spread the beans out on a towel, and dab them with another towel until they are quite dry.
  4. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  5. Place the beans back into a dry bowl, and slowly pour olive oil over them. You want to use the oil quite sparingly. Mix the beans with your hand ensuring each bean has a light coating of oil.
  6. Lightly sprinkle with salt (to taste). You will be adding additional salt and spices at the end.
  7. Lay the beans out in a single layer on a lined cookie sheet. Don't pack them too tightly on the pan, you will need space to stir. Place on middle rack in pre warmed oven.
  8. Every 5-10 minutes you will want to check the beans, and stir to redistribute. The beans near the outside of the pan will brown more quickly.
  9. Watch for them to turn a rich medium brown (about 35 minutes), then remove them from the oven to cool. (You can also taste-test cooled beans from time to time to check if they are crunchy.) While they are still warm, sprinkle your favorite spice mix, and more salt to taste. (I kept these simple with just a little garlic powder.)
  10. When the beans have cooled, place them in an air-tight container. They will keep for at least a few days before getting stale (less crispy.)

 

Step by Step Instructions

IMG_9287
The day before cooking, place the dried beans in a bowl and cover with water. The beans will absorb a lot of the water, so make sure to cover by at least an inch of water.

After the beans have soaked for at least 12 hours, drain and rinse them well with clean water.

IMG_9316
Spread the beans out on a towel and dab them with another towel until they are quite dry.Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

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Place the beans back into a dry bowl, and slowly pour olive oil over them. You want to use the oil quite sparingly. Mix the beans with your hand ensuring each bean has a light coating of oil.

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Lightly sprinkle with salt (to taste). You will be adding additional salt and spices at the end.

IMG_9342
Lay the beans out in a single layer on a lined cookie sheet. Don’t pack them too tightly on the pan, you will need space to stir. Place on middle rack in pre warmed oven.

IMG_9358
Every 5-10 minutes you will want to check the beans, and stir to redistribute. The beans near the outside of the pan will brown more quickly.

IMG_9370
Watch for them to turn a rich medium brown (about 35 minutes), then remove them from the oven to cool. (You can also taste-test cooled beans from time to time to check if they are crunchy.)

IMG_9378
While they are still warm, sprinkle your favorite spice mix, and more salt to taste. (I kept these simple with just a little garlic powder.)
When the beans have cooled, place them in an air-tight container. They will keep for at least a few days before getting stale (less crispy.)

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Or, you know, just eat them before someone else does.

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DIY: Homemade Allergy Relief Balm

DIY: Allergy Balm #LLP #EO #essentialoils #natural #health
I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that I am a seasonal allergy sufferer. It seems like every time the weather/season changes I start sneezing, my eyes get itchy and my nose gets runny and congested. Since I’ve begun learning more about essential oils, I’ve been looking for more and more ways to make my own home remedies rather than heading to the drugstore. I discovered this Allergy Balm while browsing Pinterest and knew I found an idea I wanted to try.

Lavender, Lemon + Peppermint (LLP)

What makes this balm so effective against allergies are the blend of essential oils lavender, lemon and peppermint. Together these three oils create a natural antihistamine which helps to reduce inflammation in the body and eases allergy symptoms.

I purchased the doTERRA introductory kit a while back which just happens to include LLP!

DIY: Allergy Balm #LLP #EO #essentialoils #natural #health

Here’s a little more info about these 3 oils:

Lavender: Helps eliminate nervous tension, relieves pain and respiratory problems. It’s also anti-bacterial and anti-fungal.
Lemon: Is a natural anti-biotic, antiviral, antiseptic, and disinfectant.
Peppermint: Contains menthol which helps clear the respiratory tract and has a cooling effect on the body. Because it is an expectorant, it provides instantaneous, though temporary, relief from nasal congestion, asthma, cold and cough.

DIY: Allergy Balm #LLP #EO #essentialoils #natural #health

You can use the LLP combination in a number of different ways. You can take it internally using gel caps or make a body oil. I decided to try making a balm to rub into the bottoms of my feet and apply to any irritated areas.

Supplies Needed

• 3 tablespoons candelilla wax (or 1/4 cup beeswax)
• 1/3 cup almond oil
• 1/3 cup virgin coconut oil
• 1/2 tablespoon vitamin E oil
• *25 drops each of lavender, lemon and peppermint essential oils
• Popsicle stick
• Small tins or glass jars

*Note: Peppermint has a much stronger scent and overpowered the lemon and lavender. Next time I will try using less. Maybe only 15 drops instead of 25.

DIY: Allergy Balm #LLP #EO #essentialoils #natural #health

Combine the almond, coconut and vitamin E oil in a mason jar. Fill a saucepan halfway with water and place it on medium-high heat. Place mason jar into the water to create a double boiler. Bring water to a boil, turn down heat and let simmer. Once the coconut oil is completely melted, add in the wax. Let wax melt and add in the essential oils. Use a popsicle stick to stir mixture.

DIY: Allergy Balm #LLP #EO #essentialoils #natural #health

Pour into small containers and let cool completely.

DIY: Allergy Balm #LLP #EO #essentialoils #natural #health

How To Apply:

Whenever you feel the allergy itch coming on, rub this balm into the bottoms of my feet, the base of my skull/neck and apply to any irritated skin areas like around your eyes and nose.

Optional: Decorate your tin/jar with some pretty wash tape!

DIY: Allergy Balm #LLP #EO #essentialoils #natural #health

RECIPE: Lemon Thyme Shortbread Cookies

RECIPE: Lemon Thyme Shortbread Cookies #dessert #herbs #spring #treat
Last week I harvested some fresh thyme from my garden to make a seasoning salt. What I’ve been waiting until now to tell you is that I also made cookies! While researching different things I could make with the flavors of Lemon and Thyme I came across salad dressings, cakes, and even a bruschetta recipe. While I can’t wait to try all of these ideas, I decided on a simple shortbread recipe since I already had the ingredients on hand. The result was a light, refreshingly sweet cookie perfect for enjoying with a cup of tea.

Add a little something extra…

Unfortunately I was in the midst of a flair up while baking these (I suffer from chronic neck and back pain), which meant that I wasn’t able to make the earl grey glaze I was planning on. So I invite you to try it out and let me know how it tastes!

RECIPE: Lemon Thyme Shortbread Cookies #dessert #herbs #spring #treat

5.0 from 1 reviews
Lemon Thyme Shortbread Cookies
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: Approx. 24 cookies
Ingredients
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1¼ cups flour
  • Course sugar or granulated sugar
Instructions
  1. In a large mixer, beat the butter and sugar together on high until combined. Next mix in the thyme, lemon peel, lemon juice and cardamom. Slowly add the flour a little at a time and mix until a dough is formed.
  2. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to cool for about 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
  3. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to ¼ inch thick and cut out with your favorite cookie cutter (or you could simply use a knife to cut small squares). Sprinkle cutouts with sugar and place onto an ungreased cookie sheet.
  4. Bake 12-15 minutes or until edges are just lightly brown. Transfer to wire racks to cool. Makes approx. 24 cookies.

 

RECIPE: Lemon Thyme Shortbread Cookies #dessert #herbs #spring #treat

RECIPE: Lemon Thyme Salt

RECIPE: Lemon Thyme Salt #seasoning #homemade
Earlier this week I shared a sweet recipe for infusing sugar. Today I’m going to share a savory recipe for one of my favorite seasonings, salt! My thyme plant has become a bit unruly in my garden so I decided to prune and harvest some to make a seasoning salt. Lemon has become one of my favorite flavors and it pairs perfectly with fresh thyme so I knew I had to try this recipe from Have Cake, Will Travel.

RECIPE: Lemon Thyme Salt #seasoning #homemade

Lemon Thyme Salt
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Seasoning
Serves: Approx. ½ cup
Ingredients
  • ½ cup fine grain sea salt
  • Zest from 2 medium organic lemons
  • Leaves from approximately 20 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1½ teaspoons onion powder
Instructions
  1. Combine ingredients in a food processor or clean coffee grinder and pulse several thymes until well blended. The more you pulse, the finer your salt will become.
  2. Store in an airtight container. Will keep at room temperature indefinitely.

I love using this salt to season chicken, fish or spring veggies. You can use it instead of normal salt anytime you think the flavors of lemon and thyme would enhance your dish.

RECIPE: Lemon Thyme Salt #seasoning #homemade

RECIPE: Flower Infused Sugar

RECIPE: Flower Infused Sugar #diycraftchallenge #herbs #infusion #diy

While out and about last week, I slipped into a local bookstore to browse for a few minutes. With no intention of buying anything, I of course walked out with a new book, Herbal Goddess by Amy Jirsa. The book is filled with gorgeous photos of herbal remedies, recipes and potions. Amy discusses 12 of her favorite herbs, how they effect the mind, body, spirit and pairs each one with a yoga pose. I was hooked!

I’ve been looking for new ways to incorporate some of my favorite herbs into my cooking, particularly roses. So I decided to try out Amy’s recipe for infusing sugar. For fun, I chose three different (edible) flowers to try: rose, lavender and chamomile.

RECIPE: Flower Infused Sugar #diycraftchallenge #herbs #infusion #diy

Flower Infused Sugar
 
Author:
Recipe type: Infusion
Serves: 2 cups
Ingredients
  • • ⅓ cup dried herbs or edible flowers
  • • 2 cups organic sugar (white or brown)
Instructions
  1. Pour herbs into a quart size mason jar. Cover with two cups of sugar and close with a lid. Give it a good shake and let sit in a cool, dry place for two weeks (giving it a good shake every day).

 

RECIPE: Flower Infused Sugar #diycraftchallenge #herbs #infusion #diy

More infusions to try:

Vanilla, citrus (lemon, lime, orange), ginger, rosemary, mint

Use your infused sugar just like you would regular sugar! Sweeten your tea or coffee, use it to bake cookies and cakes, and have fun experimenting!

RECIPE: Flower Infused Sugar #diycraftchallenge #herbs #infusion #diy