I have to admit that I have a fairly one-track mind about holidays—I really like festive food. Whatever else happens, fine, so long as the food is good. This works for the big holidays as well as ones hardly anyone knows about. For instance, in my house we are practically religious about Lemon Meringue Pie Day. Over the years, certain things have become tradition, and I’ve grown to really enjoy Valentine breakfast. Other people call this Valentine’s Day breakfast, but my husband and I celebrate our anniversary in mid-February, so Valentine’s Day has never meant much for us… except for Valentine breakfast. In our house, this is a time for sharing nurturing food and laughter with the people we love and who love us. Whether or not they are romantic partners is immaterial. Lovers, family, friends, your favorite four-leggers—this is a day for just feeling the love.Read More
Have you ever looked at the ingredients list on a store-bought chest rub? When you’re congested, bleary-eyed, and feeling like death warmed over, reading ingredients is not high on the priority list, but it’s also not comforting to find out that you just rubbed a semisolid soup of petroleum products onto your skin in order to give your respiratory passages some relief. The classic over-the-counter chest rubs are often less than 10% herbal ingredients, and approximately 90% petrolatum in the form of petroleum jelly, which is generally combined with turpentine. When petrolatum is not refined properly or entirely, as is sometimes the case in the U.S., it can be contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which are known carcinogens particularly when used over a period of time. There are of course excellent petrolatum-free chest rubs on the market with all the herbal benefits and no carcinogenic ingredients. But why purchase something that you can easily make at home in 15 minutes and for less money?
As herbalists, we regularly combine a variety of healthful, supportive botanicals in infusions, extracts, elixirs, etc. With each herb bringing its own superpower to the mix and working in unison with the other ingredients, we ideally end up with a product that is greater than the sum of its parts. We use this wisdom in herb-based foods as well, stirring in a bit of herbal goodness here and supportive botanicals there to create a dish full to the brim with flavor, health, and healing. Homemade protein balls (or maybe we should call them energy balls? They’re both!) are a perfect example of this. With a base of healthy oats (which also happen to be gluten-free) and packed with nut-butter protein, they provide a good mix of protein, carbs, vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats, and are a perfect, oh-so-delicious vehicle in which to add the extra benefits of high quality herbal powders.Read More
I’ve been eating gluten free for nine months now and I’ve got to say it has been a serpentine journey to figure out how to meet my admittedly snooty standards for baked goods. Mediocre desserts are just not worth the calories if you ask me, but dessert is one of my two favorite “meals” (the other one being breakfast), and I refuse to give up the experience of a perfectly baked treat. I’ve taken the tactic of choosing a grain-based recipe that I love and reworking that recipe over and over again until I create a new gluten-free version that is at least as delicious. I’m lucky my husband and kids are good sports because sometimes this has meant days and days of eating slightly different versions of the same recipe. Lately it’s been crepes. Many batches of crepes later, the family and I agree that these coconut buckwheat crepes are so delicious, you would never guess they’re gluten free.Read More
Olfactory memories are powerful things. The other day I was at the feed store picking up cat food, and as I walked out, I caught a waft of chewing tobacco. Even before I could identify what I was smelling, my feet stopped walking and my Grandpa Albert—who is many years gone—popped into my head. There in my mind’s eye, he was in his overalls, with a plug of tobacco in his pocket, snuggling small-me in his lap, playing the penny counting game we used to play. This relationship between scent, emotion, and memory is hardwired in our brains—our olfactory bulb routes the smell information it receives to the limbic system, including the areas of our brain directly related to emotion and memory. This is why just a whiff of scent took me back decades and flooded me with the same warmth and comfort I experienced playing games with my beloved grandpa. These powerful connections are a fundamental factor in why aromatherapy can be supportive in managing mood and stress because what we smell literally impacts our brains… all of which brings me in a roundabout fashion to potpourri.
Candlelight is an element of winter holidays all over the world. Whether part of someone’s deeply held spiritual or cultural practices—as during Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and Diwali—or representative of age-old Winter Solstice and Christmas traditions, candles are, for many of us, a fundamental part of our winter festivities… which means it’s a perfect time to make easy homemade scented candles in preparation for the celebrations, decorating, and gift giving.Read More
In September of this year, after nearly three decades of amazing leadership, longtime Mountain Rose Herbs owner Julie Bailey announced that she was ready to retire and pass on ownership of Mountain Rose to her trusted partner, Mountain Rose Herbs co-owner and CEO Shawn Donnille. “On September 30th, I bought out my partner of 20 years, and most trusted friend, Julie Bailey,” said Shawn on the occasion. “Both Julie and I co-owned and successfully managed the company from 2000-2020 and with fond memories I wish her the best for her retirement.” As we pivot to look ahead at what is next for Mountain Rose Herbs, we want to take this opportunity to share news and let you know more about the direction we are heading as a company.Read More
Author Timothy Pina once said, “Philanthropy is not about money…it’s about feeling the pain of others and caring enough about their needs to help.” In other words, philanthropy, to effect real change, must go deeper than throwing funds at the surface of a problem; it must attempt to address the roots of an issue. But how does someone—whether an individual, a small business, or a corporation—find the act of giving that makes sense for them and effects the kind of change they would like to see in the world?
If you’ve scoured the pandemic-hit canning section at your local store for supplies this year, you know the pickings are slim. My favorite low sugar dry pectin, which was readily available and selling for just a couple dollars a box six months ago, is currently impossible to find here in Eugene, and when I finally turned to online options, I discovered it selling for between $8 and $15 a box…that is madness! And it’s terrible timing, too, because I was recently gifted with a whole pound of organic, dried hibiscus flowers, and I really wanted to make hibiscus hot pepper jelly. What’s a girl to do? Hearken back to the old days!Read More
Mountain Rose Herbs has been in a years-long process of shifting our procurement policies steadily away from wild-harvested botanicals. This policy shift is in direct response to the increasing impact of overharvesting on wild stands of some of the most beloved herbs and spices around the world. White sage (Salvia apiana) is one example. In the past few years, white sage has come under a dual attack. The arid regions that are home to wild stands of Salvia apiana have been badly impacted by climate change, which has caused wildfires and other devastation. At the same time, there has been a meteoric rise in the commercialization of smudging, which has created a lucrative market for illegally harvested white sage, much of it taken from public lands. It is for this reason that Mountain Rose Herbs made the decision in 2019 to procure 100% of our loose-leaf white sage from a special cultivation project in the rocky hills of San Diego County’s North County region. We consider ourselves fortunate to have the opportunity to support such an important project.Read More