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Heidi

Heidi is a native Oregonian and an award winning freelance writer with a passion for urban homesteading. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing, and has been honored to receive a number of literary prizes including the esteemed Pushcart Prize, and an Individual Artists Award in Creative Writing from the Oregon Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts. When she isn’t working in the garden, cleaning the henhouse, preserving food for winter, pruning the fruit trees, or writing and editing content for really fantastic small businesses, you’ll find her in her quilting room, or somewhere with her nose in a book, or up in the mountains alongside her husband and her terrier pup, Gracie Cakes.

Recent Posts

Best Herbs for Digestion + 3 Easy Recipes

I just returned from a three-week vacation, and while the trip was fantastic, it's been a challenge getting my body back into a healthy balance since I've gotten home. I’m playing catch-up with work, running late on gardening must-dos, and haven’t taken the time to plan ahead on how I’m eatingall of which have impacted my appetite and digestive health.

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Chai Spice Oatmeal Cookie Recipe+ Vegan Option

A slightly different version of this delicious chai spice oatmeal cookie recipe has been floating around Mountain Rose Herbs since at least 2012 when someone adapted it from a white chocolate oatmeal cookie recipe they found online. The first time I made these chai-inspired gems, I loved the spice mix and oat combination, and the amount of sugar was just right, but the texture was seriously off by my standards. Cookie texture is of course a matter of preference; by my taste, the cookies were dense instead of tender and they were too dry. I wanted the flavor of the chai spices, but also a moist, chewy cookie with great mouthfeel. I was trying to decide how I wanted to alter the recipe—cut back on flour, add more moisture maybe. There were a couple different ways to address this, but I wanted to stay as true to the original as I could, so I started to track the recipe history to find the right fix. Recipe detective work is one of my food-nerd joys.

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DIY Bath Fizz Powder with Lavender

I have to admit that, while I love crafting, I’m best at the practical crafts. If you need a salve, or a syrup, or an infused oil, I’ve got you. But if we’re talking about decorative, pretty sorts of crafting, I rely on my friends. I don’t know if it’s a lack of patience or a dislike of finicky details, but I find things like hand-forming perfectly round bath bombs to be an exercise in frustration and I live in a small home without space for lots of fancy soap-molds and gadgets to help me along. This is why I really like projects like homemade potpourri and this fizzing lavender bath powder for winter crafting projects—because I can easily and happily produce a wonderfully packaged and fully appreciated gift of herbal goodness.

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Benefits and History of Slippery Elm Bark + Tea Recipe

Slippery elm (Ulmus rubra) is one of the best known medicinal tree barks. It has a history of use that goes back thousands of years—North American First Nations people utilized slippery elm for a variety of health issues and introduced it to European colonists, who quickly incorporated it into their pharmacopoeia. As cited in Henry H. Gibson’s American Forest Trees, published in 1913, it became a household remedy which most families in the country provided and kept in store along with catnip, mandrake, sage, dogwood blossoms, and other rural remedies which were depended upon to rout diseases in the days when physicians were few..... Today, when physicians are more plentiful, it continues to be a profoundly effective mucilaginous demulcent that is a standard in western herbalism. Let’s take a moment to talk about this ancient ally. 

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Forgotten Cookie Recipe With Yaupon Tea

“Forgotten cookies” are an American classic and a perfect vehicle for America’s “forgotten” tea. If you’ve been reading along with my blogs here at Mountain Rose Herbs, you know I got seriously into yaupon tea this year. As a bonafide history nerd, I first became fascinated with the story of America's only native tea plant and then, of course, I had to try it. I’ll spare you the history lesson, but yaupon is an excellent caffeinated tea choice for me because it isn’t bitter, it can be re-steeped more than once without a change in flavor, and it provides a gentle caffeine boost and increased focus without the jitteriness I sometimes get from coffee or Camellia sinensis based teas. It’s also loaded with theophylline, theobromine, and a plethora of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, etc. I’ve been experimenting with multiple ways to bring it into my diet to replace other caffeine. This summer I brewed it with cooling hibiscus, sweetened it with a little honey, and kept it in the refrigerator to have delicious hibiscus-yaupon iced tea on hand. And then, one evening when I was in a cookie baking mood and perusing some of my favorite recipes, I thought of forgotten cookies and had the quintessential lightbulb moment: forgotten cookies + forgotten tea = pure joy.

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DIY Cutting Board Oil: Maintain Your Cutting Boards & Wooden Utensils

I am a wooden utensil and cast iron kind of cook. These reliable, wonderful tools don’t require electricity and they last a remarkably long time if cared for correctly. I especially love the butcher block, cutting boards, and wooden spoons my husband has made over the years, and it’s important to me to take care of them so they last. My dilemma for a long time was how to condition them. Vegetable oils like olive oil, grapeseed oil, etc. are wonderful, but are not shelf-stable and can experience “rancidification” over time, which can make wood smell funky and leave a bad flavor on chopped foods. The standard go-to oil is food-safe mineral oil, sometimes called liquid paraffin. But mineral oil is generally a petroleum product and I don’t care how “food-safe” it is; I don’t want to cut my home-grown vegetables on a board coated with a petroleum-based oil. So, obviously, I had to figure out a DIY way to get around this dilemma and take proper care of my wooden kitchen utensils.

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DIY Herbal Bath for Babies

Baby bath time can be a wonderful bonding experience that offers both parent and child the opportunity to relax and focus on the circle of love between them. Adding gentle, skin-nourishing herbs to baby’s bathwater is a beautiful way to bring not just the soothing comfort of warm hydrotherapy to bath time but can also add scents that your child will come to associate with safety and peace. Organic calendula and chamomile are gentle and skin-nourishing, and when combined with the aromatics of soothing, calming lavender or roses, they make a perfect herbal bath for your precious child.

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Fungus-Fighting Nail Oil with Tea Tree

Nail fungus is a common condition and people who struggle with it know that it is difficult to treat and requires consistency and perseverance to manage. Many medications will seem to clear it up, only to have it come back shortly after. I wish I could say there was a miracle cure. However, since I am obligated to tell the truth here, what I can say is that by committing to some simple daily nail care that involves a good fungus-fighting nail oil, you can make steady progress and, if you stick to your daily care, you can ultimately keep nail fungus at bay. This DIY nail oil recipe brings the fungus-fighting powers of roses and essential oils to the battle and simultaneously delivers vitamins and essential fatty acids to strengthen and moisturize your nails and cuticles.

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How to Make Natural Dog Shampoo with Soothing Tea Base

The 4-leggers in my household are not entirely pro-bath. Our terrier mix loves life after a bath; she runs madly about the house with pure joy. During the bath, however, she looks like we’re torturing her. We’re just grateful she stands still for it because her “little brother” is a corgi-mix built for escape. He is slippery and wily when wet and groans out his woes the entire bath time. And then there is the big queen-to-rule-them-all kitty who needs regular brushing and occasional “spot cleaning” assistance with her thick double coat because one cat tongue is simply not enough to manage it all. This crew loves to sleep on the foot of our bed, so whatever dirt and smells they’ve tucked away throughout the day end up on my handmade quilts. Simple answer: regular baths, right? The double-conundrum is that good pet shampoo is ridiculously expensive, and I am also on a quest to stop buying plastic packaging (apparently, there is a rule somewhere that dog shampoo must be sold only in plastic bottles that I cannot recycle here in Oregon). Fortunately, it’s easy and inexpensive to make good homemade dog shampoo with gentle, sustainable ingredients I always have on hand.

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Smoke Cleansing Around the World

Smoke cleansing—burning botanicals, resins, wood, etc. for health and/or spiritual purposes—is an ancient practice that is common in a wide variety of cultures and faiths around the world. For instance, I was introduced to smoke cleansing through the practice of “fire saining,” a Celtic tradition that resonates well with my cultural and personal history. However, the form of smoke cleansing that most people are familiar with today is “smudging.” The commercialization of smudging is unfortunate on multiple fronts—it is cultural appropriation of North American indigenous practices, it has created serious issues around illegal and/or irresponsible wildharvesting of traditional smudging herbs, and it disregards the wealth of other forms of smoke cleansing that are just as ancient and powerful. Many times, looking to our own culture, faith, community, or heritage in our relationship to the botanical world can help us identify herbal allies that are particularly aligned with us as individuals. Our ancestors had personal relationships with these plants; they have been part of our people—our DNA—for time immemorial. Smoke cleansing can be a powerful, renewing, and healing practice for many people, particularly when they are embracing a form that resonates with their genuine self.

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