Peppermint Oil

Are you feeling tired, overtaxed or suffering from headaches?  Peppermint oil just may be the cure that you need.  Peppermint oil is distilled from the leaves of the peppermint plant.  Peppermint oil is refreshing to the mind, body, and spirit.  A person’s concentration and focus can be improved just by the distinctive scent of this oil.

The scent of the peppermint oil triggers the hippocampus, a part of the brain linked to memory.  Mental fatigue is not only relieved, but also nausea and dizziness.  It is also effective in fighting respiratory infections from colds to bronchitis and sinus conditions.

Dilute and apply to the skin for a soothing and cooling effect. Mix a base oil, such as sweet almond oil, with the peppermint oil and rub a few drops on the nape of your neck and on your forehead or temples.  This has been known to relieve migraines and headaches.

For fatigue place 8 drops of peppermint oil and 5 drops of lemon oil in an aromatic lamp. This can reenergize your mind and memory also.

Children should not use peppermint oil due to the high menthol content.  This could irritate sensitive mucosa.  I hope you enjoy the healing effects of peppermint oil.

Herb of the Month “Marjoram”

Marjoram is a low growing herb that has clusters of purple flowers and does not like cold weather. Marjoram can be used both medicinally and culinary. Marjoram tea has been used for relief from symptoms of hay fever, sinus congestion, indigestion, asthma, stomach pain, headache, dizziness, colds, coughs, and nervous disorders.

It is a fragrant, calming herb that does have mild antioxidant and anti-fungal properties. Externally, Marjoram leaves can be ground into a paste and used for the pain relief of rheumatism and for sprains. The leaves can be made into oil for relief of toothache pain.

Marjoram has a wide variety of culinary uses. It can be used in herbal vinegars, and with a variety of meats and vegetable dishes. Leaves, flowers and stems can be added to stews, poultry, dressings, seafood, omelets, pizza, and salads. Sweet marjoram enhances the flavor of vegetables and meats. It is a must in Italian foods.

Italiano Butter for Hot Breads

Soften 1 cup of Margarine
Add 1/4th Tbsp. Mix Italian Herbs 1/8th of oregano, marjoram, basil, and
rosemary . Blend. Spread on slices and sprinkle with Grated cheese.

Herb of the Month “Peppermint”

Peppermint is an herb that grows to 1-3 feet tall. Like other varieties of mint, it can be very aggressive. It will easily take over your garden if given the opportunity. It’s best to grow it in a container. Peppermint is highly aromatic. Peppermint’s Aromatic properties help relieve a stuffy nose and break up congestion. Taking 3 deep breaths of peppermint oil can relieve headaches immediately.

Peppermint is valuable for a wide variety of medicinal uses: relieves digestive problems, soothes muscles and the lining of the colon, and relieves headaches and colds. When taken internally peppermint may relive pain of both chronic and acute inflammations in the intestinal walls and relieve diarrhea, gas, and nausea.

Peppermint may also counteract nerve pain, migraine, and inflammation in the gums. Despite peppermint’s vast uses medicinally, it has culinary uses as well. Peppermint is most commonly found in teas, candies, and is used as a garnish.
Try this delicious recipe and see for yourself.

Peppermint Patty Chocolate Cake

Servings/Makes: 16
Ready in 1-2 Hours

Ingredients:
CAKE:1 package (1 lb 2.25oz) devils food cake mix, such as Duncan Hines
2 cups sour cream
2/3 cup oil, preferably canola
3 eggs
2 tablespoons peppermint liqueur, such as Peppermint Schnapps, or water
1 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips

FILLING & FROSTING: 6 tablespoons butter or margarine, at room temperature
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
2 cans (16 oz ea) milk chocolate frosting.
Mini chocolate covered peppermint cream candies, such as Peppermint Patties, quartered, optional

Directions:
CAKE: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Butter and flour 2-8 inch round cake pans. In bowl at low speed, beat cake mix with sour cream, oil, eggs and liqueur until just combined, about 1 minute. Increase speed to medium, beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Stir in chocolate chips. Divide batter between pans. Bake 30-35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on racks 10 minutes remove from pans; cool completely.

FILLING: In bowl with mixer on medium speed beat batter until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add sugar, 2 Tbsp water and peppermint extract. Beat until fluffy, about
2 minutes; refrigerate until ready to use.

ASSEMBLY: Place 1 cake layer on serving plate; spread filling over cake to within 1/2 inch of edges. Top with remaining cake layer. Spread top and side with frosting. Garnish with peppermint candies, if desired.

Recipe provided by: http://www.cdkitchen.com

How to Dry Herbs

  1. Cut only healthy branches from your plants.
  2. Take any dry or diseased leaves off of your herbs.
  3. Make sure there are no insects on them.
  4. If needed, rinse with cool water and pat dry with paper towels. If the herbs are wet, they will mold or rot.
  5. Take the leaves off the bottom inch or two of the plant.
  6. Bundle a few branches together and tie into a bunch with a string or rubber band. The higher the water content of the herbs, the smaller your bundles
    should be.
  7. Hang upside down in a room with some ventilation, such as a closet.
  8. Wait 2 weeks, then place dried herbs in a jar with a lid and keep in a
    cool, dry cabinet away from sunlight.

Storing Dried Herbs

  1. Throw away any moldy herbs
  2. Zip lock bags or air tight containers should be used to store herbs.
  3. Label and date
  4. Leave the leaves whole and crush them before using for more flavor.
  5. Herbs are best if used within a year.
  6. When substituting dried herbs for fresh, use about 1 teaspoon dried herb
    in place of 1 tablespoon of fresh

Herb of the Month “Ginger”

Ginger is a tropical plant with aromatic flowers. It grows up to the height of 2-3 ft. tall and it requires moist, fertile soil and light shade. Today ginger is grown throughout the world. Ginger is an important ingredient in Chinese and Japanese cuisine and has become one of the main ingredients in making all–American pumpkin pies.

Ginger is not only a spice for culinary uses but it also aids in digestion of fatty foods and other medicinal uses, such as: treating motion sickness, relieving earaches, spinal, joint pains, congestion, gout, and arthritis.

Ginger is known as a warming herb that stimulates circulation and promotes sweating, reduces fevers, relieves colds and alleviates pain. Drinking a strong ginger tea may provide relief from varicose veins since ginger acts as an anti-inflammatory and it stimulates blood flow.

Garlic Ginger Pork Roast Recipe

Boneless pork loin roast is studded with garlic and then marinated in a fresh garlic, onion, ginger and honey mixture. Prep time: 10 minutes Cook time: 1 hour, 45 minutes. This recipe makes 4-6 servings.

What You Will Need:

  • 2 large cloves garlic, Divided use
  • 2½ to 3 pounds of boneless pork loin roast
  • ¼ cup minced onion
  • ¼ cup of lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1½ teaspoons of spicy hot mustard or Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon fresh-grated ginger
  • Kosher salt and fresh-ground to taste

Preparation: Cut 1 clove of the garlic lengthwise into thin slivers. Use a skewer to poke holes all around the garlic. Then set aside. Force the remaining clove of garlic through a garlic press into a large zip-lock bag. Add the onion, lime juice, honey, Worcestershire sauce, and ginger to the garlic. Squish the bag to combine the marinade ingredients.

Add the garlic-studded pork loin roast to the marinade in the bag. Squeeze out all the air and seal. Turn the bag over and over so the roast is surrounded by the marinade. Refrigerate for 8 hours or over night. Remove pork roast from the Refrigerator 1 hour before cooking and let it come to room temperature in the bag.

Preheat over to 350 F. Line a roasting pan with heavy foil. Place pork roast in the prepared pan. Top with the marinade and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake uncovered, for 1 hour and 45 minutes. Remove from oven, cover with foil, and let rest for 30 minutes before slicing and serving.

Recipe provided by www.homecooking.about.com