Thursday, June 26, 2014

Cherie Bender's Glitter Book of Magical Cooking: Featuring the Feminine Healing of the Hibiscus flower

Hibiscus Flower: Photo by Cherie

The Queen Hibiscus is Feminine Healing and Fun!
For Healing:
Let's start with an infusion of this beautiful tropical flower, which can be found in the Summer and in the Tropical garden,where I live, we are blessed all year round to have this Queen of flowers in many colors, my favorite being the pink double flower pictured here.
Fresh is always best, but, alternatively,  dried organic Hibiscus may be purchased or dried yourself on a sunny day and saved.
It's much better to make your own homegrown dried flowers: feeling the magic of creating something  healing with love, loving yourself and loving Planet Earth at the same time.
You can make an infusion the same way you might make regular tea using the leaves and flowers: for dried 1 oz. or 2 oz. for fresh flowers and leaves, to 1 pint of boiling water.
Put the herbs in a warmed teapot, pour on boiling water, leave covered to infuse, about ten minutes, until the flowers lose their color, and then strain.
Honey and lemon may be added, with a touch of grated ginger to taste. This amazing Hibiscus flower tea helps heal sexual feminine traumas, balances the psyche and is a natural diuretic, which means good for cleansing and detoxing the body. In the summer heat, refreshingly iced, it soothes the feminine heart. A few cups daily either warm or as iced tea, helps balance and heal the sexuality of women.
The beautiful Hibiscus flower may also be made into a tincture, which is a concentrated extract of dried herbs and flowers: Use a ratio of 25% undiluted alcohol, such as brandy, gin or vodka, to water. Add one part herbs, to two parts of liquid.
Place the herbs in a large jar and pour the alcohol and water mixture over it. Leave to macerate, shaking daily for two weeks.
Then, using a wine press, or pressing with a wooden spoon, press out the liquid and discard the herbs, which make a very good compost! Store in labeled dark bottles, keeping away from sunlight. Save all dried flowers,herbs and tinctures in this manner.
The gorgeous Hibiscus flower as a tincture, is conveniently effective, is very concentrated and can be taken when traveling or away from home.
For Fun!
As an exotic drink, this Royal Hibiscus Margarita helps fight cholesterol and tastes delicious.
 Just Perfect for that "Thank God Its Friday" feeling. Here, in this recipe, paired with fresh squeezed Orange juice and agave nectar; sweetens and is good for you!
Hibiscus Reduction:
2 ounces dried hibiscus leaves, and petals.(double for fresh flowers & baby leaves)
3 ounces filtered water
warm the water slightly to lukewarm and add 2bl organic honey
Sour Mix:
4 ounces raw agave nectar
4 ounces fresh squeezed orange juice
6 ounces water
Margarita Hibiscus TGIF:
2 ounces tequila of your choice
2 ounces hibiscus reduction
2 ounces sour mix
To Prepare:
1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, mix the hibiscus, water and Truvia. Simmer for 30 minutes, or until the color has gone from the petals. Remove from the heat, adding more Truvia to taste. Strain and cool.
2.For the sour mix, combine the agave nectar, orange juice, and water
Finally, shake together the tequila, hibiscus reduction, and sour mix. Strain over ice and serve in your most enticing Margarita glass.
This should yield a tart and crisp flavor. You may add more agave nectar per cocktail for added sweetness, and garnish with squeezed lime and a fresh hibiscus, per glass. To be drunk in good health, a Nectar fit for the Gods!
Photograph of Hibiscus by Cherie Bender
Flower Power: by Anne McIntyre
Cooking Your Way To Gorgeous by Scott-Vincent-Borba

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Cherie Bender's Glitter Book Of Magical Cooking: Organic Fusilli Pasta

Organic Fusilli Pasta Dish iPhoto by Cherie
Pasta is food for the soul and spirit.
My dish is prepared with fusilli pasta but angel hair pasta is also delicious. Here's a traditional tri-colored pasta with oregano, basil, and chives from my garden; with organic tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil, asiago or Parmesan shredded cheese and loads of organic garlic. I like to add a little fresh red pepper flakes dusted on top together with the traditional black ground pepper: Garlic, besides tasting good, is also wonderful for your skin, as it stimulates collagen production and is a natural disinfectant for the whole system. Be sure to eat this dish with love for yourself and with love for the wonderful people you will share it with!
Ingredients: (All ingredients are recommended organic and/or home grown)

This recipe is for four to six people:
Fusilli Pasta: 1 package
tomatoes:  2 Heirloom   
fresh cut chives: 1/2 cup
fresh cut oregano: 1/2 cup
fresh basil: 1 1/2 cup, cut with scissors, saving one floret
extra virgin olive oil: 5 ~ 8 tbl 
garlic: 6 cloves crushed
Cooking time: 22 minutes 
First, set the pot of filtered water to a rolling boil. I never find it necessary to add olive oil, you may add a dash of Sea Salt.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, start to saute the crushed and minced garlic in the extra virgin olive oil on medium heat. When the garlic reaches a golden color add the tomatoes, chives, and oregano. Turning the heat down slightly, add the basil, reserving a floret for decoration. 
As these ingredients are sauteing, the water should now be at a rolling boil. Quickly add the fusilli pasta, using a wooden spoon stirring a few times to make sure none stick to each other or the bottom of the pot. Boil for approximately 10 minutes or until a taste test for al dente. Which means "to the tooth" with a slight resistance in the center when the pasta is chewed. 
Strain the pasta in a large colander, never, never rinsing with cold water: this is a popular misconception but only results in tasteless pasta! When the pasta is completely strained, turn the sauteing ingredients down to low heat, quickly toss the pasta evenly in the pan. Transfer to a decorative dish and top with grated pepper, a pinch of Sea Salt, the grated cheese and  the saved sprig of basil.  
Voila!  Food for beauty, health and longevity.
Food for all the angels in heaven and earth: enjoy!


Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Cherie Bender's Glitter Book Of Magical Cooking ~Azulene~

~Azulene~ Pastel with Swarovski Crystals by Cherie Bender
 ~Azulene~ the name of the essential oil extracted from Matricaria Chamomilla, or German Chamomile, is a wonderfully magical shade of deep, dazzling blue. Just gazing at this color induces relaxation. Combined with the delicious scent of the essential oil: magical wonders are created for soothing stress.
Our English word Chamomile originally stems from the Greek chamai-melon or "earth apple" because they thought it smelled like fallen apples.
In the language of flowers, Chamomile is a symbol of energy and patience in adversity. Given in a flower bouquet in the Victorian 1800's, the flower represented support and love.
The Chamomile flower was revered by the Egyptians for its medicinal virtues and dedicated the flower to Ra, the god of the sun.
 Today, the Chamomile flowers are taken as a relaxing and sleep inducing herbal tea, or they may be crushed and made into an aromatherapy sniffing ball to induce sleep. A netted bag containing dried or fresh chamomile flowers may be immersed in a warm bath to soothe tired and aching muscles and bring peace.
Azulene, the essential oil, is wonderfully relaxing as a facial. Just one drop on a warm facecloth, breathe it in, and all of the cares of the world drop away. Beautifully.
 In my drawing  ~ Azulene ~ pastel with Swarovski crystals, I wanted to capture all of the healing and soothing magical properties of the Beautiful Chamomile flower and the fragrant scintillating blue of the essential oil, Azulene.
Pastel Drawing of ~ Azulene ~ by Cherie Bender

References: Magical Aromatherapy, the power of scent, by Scott Cunningham;
Flower Power, flower remedies for healing body and soul by Anne McIntyre