Homemade Lavender Shortbread Cookies (Plus a Giveaway!)

Check out these homemade lavender shortbread cookies with not a lot of sugar and a hint of lavender flowers!

Most of the time when I think of herbs I think of home remedies, or perhaps sprinkling oregano in my beef stew. But cookies?! What an awesome idea! I love finding new ways to use my stash of herbs and make herbs interesting and fun to my girls! I think herbs can and should be used in daily life and it’s a life skill that’s important to pass on to our children. Using herbs really is a lost art in our society, but it’s certainly something that can be brought back!

*If you think teaching life skills are as important as I do, check out the giveaway at the bottom of this post!*

Lavender happens to be an herb that I have a lot of on hand most of the time. I order this bag of organic lavender flowers and it lasts me a long time for several different uses, including making my tea for frazzled nerves during times that I’m super stressed or busy.

This was my first attempt at adding herbs to cookie dough and we had a lot of fun doing it! We really enjoyed the taste of the lavender. You can add more or less herb depending on how strong of a flavor you’d like. If you don’t care for the flavor of lavender, you could substitute dried organic rose petals.

When you use herbs, it’s always a good idea to teach/review with your kids how the herbs are good for us! Lavender helps you relax and calms the nervous system. It also has antifungal, antibacterial, and antiviral properties. [1]

Lavender Shortbread Cookies

One thing I like about shortbread cookies is that they are not super sweet!

Ingredients

2 cups flour (use your flour of choice whether it be whole white wheat, all-purpose, or a gluten-free variety)
2 sticks softened butter
2-3 teaspoons of dried lavender (buy here)
1/2 cup cane sugar

Directions

  • Place butter, sugar, and lavender into a food processor and blend until lavender is chopped into tiny pieces. Use a blender or mortar and pestle if you don’t have a food processor.
  • Place butter/sugar mixture into a mixing bowl.
  • Stir in flour until well mixed. You can also mix with a blender on low.
  • Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill in fridge for 30 minutes.
  • Roll dough on floured surface to 1/4 inch thick.
  • Cut dough out using cookies cutters of any shape or use the top of a glass.
  • Place the cut out cookies on parchment paper or something similar and place on a baking sheet.
  • Place back in fridge for another 30 minutes before baking.
  • Bake at 300 degrees for 10-20 minutes until the edges barely brown. Shortbread cookies are not supposed to be “browned” – they should be taken out while still white. My oven runs super hot so your cookies may take up to 25 minutes!
  • Sprinkle cookies with powdered sugar if desired. You can also mix powdered sugar with a tiny amount of water to make a quick icing to drizzle over. Or eat plain and enjoy that lavender flavor.

*Note: You can substitute the dried lavender with fresh lavender flowers if you grow them. Just double the amount of flowers in the recipe. Check out these homemade lavender shortbread cookies with not a lot of sugar and a hint of lavender flowers!

Lavender Shortbread Cookies
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Ingredients
  1. 2 cups flour (use your flour of choice whether it be whole white wheat, all-purpose, or a gluten-free variety)
  2. 2 sticks softened butter
  3. 2-3 teaspoons of dried lavender
  4. 1/2 cup cane sugar
Instructions
  1. Place butter, sugar, and lavender into a food processor and blend until lavender is chopped into tiny pieces. Use a blender or mortar and pestle if you don't have a food processor.
  2. Place butter/sugar mixture into a mixing bowl.
  3. Stir in flour until well mixed. You can also mix with a blender on low.
  4. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill in fridge for 30 minutes.
  5. Roll dough on floured surface to 1/4 inch thick.
  6. Cut dough out using cookies cutters of any shape or the top of a glass.
  7. Place the cut out cookies on parchment paper or something similar and place on a baking sheet.
  8. Place back in fridge for another 30 minutes before baking.
  9. Bake at 300 degrees for 10-20 minutes until the edges barely brown. Shortbread cookies are not supposed to be "browned" - they should be taken out while still white. My oven runs super hot so your cookies may take up to 25 minutes!
  10. Sprinkle cookies with powdered sugar if desired. You can also mix powdered sugar with a tiny amount of water to make a quick icing to drizzle over. Or eat plain and enjoy that lavender flavor.
Notes
  1. You can substitute the dried lavender with fresh lavender flowers if you grow them. Just double the amount of flowers in the recipe.
Adapted from A Garden For The House
Jill's Home Remedies http://jillshomeremedies.com/

Speaking of life skills…

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Parents, are your kids equipped with the life skills they need to be capable adults? Not sure?

I’ve recently started using a life skills program called Skill Trek that has me excited! As in excited like when I put herbs in my cookies!

As parents, we want our children to be prepared for the future with confidence, and yet it’s easy to not get around to teaching them those really important things.

For instance, do your kids know how to use wrenches? How about building a raised garden or replacing a wiper blade?

Or what about making an herbal oil?

Yes they do have a life skill that includes herbs! In fact, as we are speaking they are putting up a video and lesson on their website of me making an herbal oil! I’m so excited to be a part of Skill Trek! And there will be more herbal videos to come. 

Skill Trek is a brand-new online curriculum that fills in a gap that no other curriculum offers.  

Why do I love this program?

  • It’s completely customizable! They have age appropriate tasks like changing doorknobs and car batteries for the teenagers, and growing seeds in a bag and oiling a squeaky hinge for the younger ones. You can add or remove any tasks as you wish.
  • You can add tasks from other levels if you wish. I love this because there are tasks in the younger levels I want my teenagers to learn (like how to make an omelet) that I can add to their profile. And it works vise versa if I wish my younger ones to do a task assigned for an older age (like how to set a table).
  • Skill Trek offers over 500 skills!!
  • This program motivates me to make sure my kids learn important life skills that I likely wouldn’t get around to on my own. It’s easy to let the learning years slip by and realize you didn’t teach everything you wanted! For instance, we recently showed my girls how to check car engine levels because of Skill Trek, which is so important to know!
  • Being a follower of Jesus Christ, I love the Bible and spiritual options to encourage my kids in this area! If you are not of a religious belief, you can simply delete these tasks. It’s really customizable for each family!
  • The kids earn nuggets for completing each task and in the future can earn items in the Skill Trek store! This is still in the works but I know my kids will LOVE this when it’s available! 
  • They add new skills on a regular basis! They just added my herbal oil lesson, an eclipse lesson, and Survival Spanish for younger ones. So you never run out of skills to teach your kids.
  • The tasks are not super time consuming to teach. It normally only takes a few minutes a week of teaching time and then the child learns the life skill independently to bless the family on and on! 

Enter for your chance to win a year’s family membership to Skill Trek! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I also have more GREAT news! Save 10% off Skill Trek now through August 23, 2017! Enter code JILLSHOMEREMEDIES at checkout! Check it out HERE

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Resources
  1. Lavender Flowers Whole. (n.d.). Retrieved August 17, 2017, from https://www.bulkherbstore.com/lavender-flowers-whole-organic-1-2-lb

How To Make a Glycerite for Adrenal Fatigue, Anxiety, and Stress

Do you suffer from adrenal fatigue, anxiety, or stress? Here's an easy DIY glycerite for adrenal fatigue that can help you on your path to healing!

I’ve been talking about adrenal fatigue around here, and that’s because adrenal fatigue has been my companion far too often in my life. I’m going to share how to make your very own tincture for adrenal fatigue. That is what my blog is all about, right? I love helping others get to the root of their health problems and correct them naturally. I also love sharing how to save hundreds of dollars making your own herbal medicine instead of buying it!

Be sure to read this post to see if you may be suffering from adrenal fatigue! Even if you aren’t, this glycerite helps with stress and anxiety too!

 Before making an adrenal tincture, it’s good to consider the different herbs that are good for the adrenals.

A Few Herbs For The Adrenals

Ashwaghanda

Ashwaghanda is one of my favorite herbs for the adrenals. It can help restore energy, make you look younger, does a great job lowering cortisol levels, and helps the thyroid hormone. All of these are things I have needed in my adrenal fatigue journey. Most of the time if you’re dealing with adrenal problems you’re also dealing with thyroid troubles so this herb is a win-win! Buy ashwaghanda here. [1]

Rhodiola

Rhodiola is a very potent adaptogen. It fights excess adrenaline, increases mental endurance, elevates mood, and helps the body handle stress. [3]

Holy Basil

Holy basil is another one of those adaptogen herbs that are great for the adrenals and anxiety. It’s also useful for hypothyroidism, hormones, and blood sugar. [2]

Do you suffer from adrenal fatigue, anxiety, or stress? Here's an easy DIY glycerite for adrenal fatigue that can help you on your path to healing!


Astragalus 

Astragalus is great for the immune system and I love to add it to a variety of tinctures and teas for good health. It relieves fatigue and improves vitality and endurance. [3]

Eleuthero Root

Eleuthero root also is another great herb for adrenal fatigue recovery. It increases endurance and vitality and helps the body handle stress. [3] Buy eleuthero root here.

Licorice Root

Licorice root boosts levels of the DHEA stress-fighting hormone. It restores normal cortisone levels. [4]

DIY Glycerite For Adrenal Fatigue

You can take these herbs in tea or capsule form, but another way to take these herbs is in the convenience of a tincture. You can also take them individually or combine them like I have. Many herbs compliment each other and make a more potent medicine together, but they are effective on their own too! What I did was chose 4 top adaptogenic herbs that I had on hand and made a quick and easy glycerite. (An actual tincture is made with alcohol but I made this one with vegetable glycerin.)

Because we are dealing with mostly roots, these herbs will swell to about double their size, so we will only fill the jar 1/4-1/3 of the way. You will notice below that I used 1/4-1/2 cup of astragalus because I like to fill my jar 1/3 of the way instead of just 1/4. You can use your own judgment. There really isn’t a definite right or wrong way!

Adrenal Fatigue Glycerite

Ingredients

1/4 cup Ashwaghanda root(buy here)
1/4 cup Eleuthero root (buy here)
1/4 -1/2 cup Astragalus root (buy here)
1/4 cup holy basil (buy here)
Vegetable Glycerin (buy here)
Boiling water

 Directions

  1. Place herbs in a quart jar.
  2. Pour boiling water over the herbs, just barely covering them.
  3. Fill jar the rest of the way with vegetable glycerin, leaving a 2 inch head space.
  4. Cover jar with a lid and shake well.
  5. Place a dish towel in the bottom of the crockpot.
  6. Place jar on towel.
  7. Fill crockpot with water up to the rim of the jar.
  8. Turn crockpot on low and let jar steep in water for 3 days.
  9. Check water level every day and add more water as needed to keep the level to the rim of the jar.
  10. After 3 days, strain the herbs from the liquid and compost herbs.
  11. Pour herbal liquid into a clean jar  or smaller tincture bottles and label with name and date.
  12. My glycerites keep in the cabinet for a year or two.

Note: Take 1/4 teaspoon 1-3 times a day.

DIY Adrenal Glycerite
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Ingredients
  1. 1/4 cup Ashwaghanda root
  2. 1/4 cup Eleuthero root
  3. 1/4 -1/2 cup Astragalus root
  4. 1/4 cup holy basil
  5. Vegetable Glycerin
  6. Boiling water
Instructions
  1. Place herbs in a quart jar.
  2. Pour boiling water over the herbs, just barely covering them.
  3. Fill jar the rest of the way with vegetable glycerin, leaving a 2 inch head space.
  4. Cover jar with a lid and shake well.
  5. Place a dish towel in the bottom of the crockpot.
  6. Place jar on towel.
  7. Fill crockpot with water up to the rim of the jar.
  8. Turn crockpot on low and let jar steep in water for 3 days.
  9. Check water level every day and add more water as needed to keep the level to the rim of the jar.
  10. After 3 days, strain the herbs from the liquid and compost herbs.
  11. Pour herbal liquid into a clean jar and label with name and date.
  12. My glycerites keep in the cabinet for a year or two.
Notes
  1. Take 1/4 teaspoon 1-3 times daily.
Jill's Home Remedies http://jillshomeremedies.com/
You may be interested in my other adrenal fatigue posts, How to Know If You Suffer From Adrenal Fatigue, and How to Heal From Adrenal Fatigue.

 

Resources

  1. Axe, D. J. (2017, July 21). Ashwagandha Benefits Thyroid and Adrenals. Retrieved August 11, 2017, from https://draxe.com/ashwagandha-proven-to-heal-thyroid-and-adrenals/
  2. Dr. Josh Axe and Eric Zielinski. (2017, July 20). Holy Basil Balances Cortisol and Hormones – Dr Axe. Retrieved August 11, 2017, from https://draxe.com/holy-basil-benefits/
  3. J. (n.d.). Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome: The Adaptogenic Herbs You Need to Know About. Retrieved August 12, 2017, from http://www.foodrenegade.com/adrenal-fatigue-syndrome-the-adaptogenic-herbs-you-need-to-know-about/
  4. Sep 10, 2013 Jack Challem. (n.d.). Fight exhaustion with adrenal-support supplements. Retrieved August 12, 2017, from http://deliciousliving.com/conditions/fight-exhaustion-adrenal-support-supplements
  5. H., About HeatherHi, I’m Mommypotamus. My mission is to help you put delicious, healthy meals on the table, find effective natural remedies for common complaints, make your own fuss-free personal care and home products, and save time and money in the process., K., J., L., A., . . . Good, A. (2017, August 11). Adrenal Support Tincture Recipe. Retrieved August 12, 2017, from https://www.mommypotamus.com/adrenal-support-tincture/

Let’s Balance Blood Sugar With Cinnamon!

 

Much to my delight it actually felt like fall yesterday! Right at the beginning of what is supposed to be one of the hottest months of the year! After weeks of unbearable heat here in the Midwest, it was a welcome relief. I pulled out my Doctor Cinnamon Tea and made a whole pitcher of it for us to enjoy. Something about cooler weather puts me in the mood for warming herbs, and cinnamon is definitely one of those! 

As I made the tea I was reminded of how you can balance blood sugar with cinnamon! In fact, just 1/2 teaspoon a day can help! However, if you actually struggle with blood sugar balance or diabetes, a slightly larger amount would likely be necessary. [1]
 
Most people enjoy the taste of cinnamon, so it’s easy to use it to lower blood sugar. You can take cinnamon before eating that sugary dessert, and not suffer as much from the side effects! Research shows that cinnamon improves those with type 2 diabetes by helping them respond to insulin, which helps normalize blood sugar levels. [1] It stimulates insulin receptors, thus improving the cell’s ability to use glucose. It also lowers cholesterol and triglycerides.

One study was conducted using apple pie. The scientists expected the pie to have an adverse affect on sugar levels, but found the blood glucose levels to be actually lower! Why? Because the pie contained cinnamon! [2]

Another study was conducted with 60 patients that had type 2 adult diabetes for several years and were taking anti-diabetic drugs. They were given cinnamon for 40 days. They found that the cinnamon reduced blood sugar levels and increased the natural production of insulin.  It also lowered their blood cholesterol. [3]

Cinnamon also helps boost brain function by boosting brain activity. [1]

You want to buy quality cinnamon – not the seasoning at the store for 50 cents. :)  Fresh, good quality cinnamon is the best way to go if you want to help your sugar levels.

How much cinnamon to take?

It’s recommended to take 1/2 tsp. – 2 tsp. a day.  Start out with the smallest amount and increase if needed.

Are you looking for a safe and easy way to help balance blood sugar? Here are 4 ways you can balance blood sugar with cinnamon!

4 Ways to Balance Blood Sugar With Cinnamon

1. Powdered Cinnamon

Buy it in powdered form to use in foods or sprinkle on oatmeal, cereal, applesauce, toast, etc.  A yummy toast is to put butter, honey and cinnamon on whole wheat bread!  Buy organic powdered cinnamon here.

2. Cinnamon Sticks

Buy cinnamon sticks to stir hot chocolate (YUM) or tea with.  The hot beverage will pull the properties out of the cinnamon stick for your benefit. Kids can also chew on cinnamon sticks or use them for straws to get healthy benefits including manganese, iron, calcium and dietary fiber. Buy organic cinnamon sticks here.

3. Cinnamon Tea

Buy a tea mixture like Dr. Cinnamon Tea that contains not only cinnamon, but also orange peel, red raspberry leaf, ginkgo and green tea for extra health benefits.  This is the tea I made just yesterday and we love it! The herbs in this tea will help blood sugar levels, and also varicose veins, inflammation, fight cancer, plus many other benefits!  Drink 2-3 glasses a day.  Buy organic Doctor Cinnamon Tea here.

4. Cinnamon Capsules

Take in capsule form. If you don’t care for the taste of cinnamon or you would like the convenience of a pill, you can buy the cinnamon in capsules or buy powdered cinnamon and put them in your own capsules to save money and to be sure that you’re using a capsule without any added fillers (that a lot of companies use). Buy the capsules and capsule machine here.  

I personally struggle with blood sugar problems from time to time, and greatly enjoy the benefits of cinnamon!  Cinnamon is good for those who are pre-diabetic too.  It will reduce your chances of becoming a diabetic.

So, whether you have blood sugar problems or would like to prevent them, start making cinnamon a part of your diet, and live a better quality of life!

Do you struggle with blood sugar problems? How do you control it naturally?

Resources

  1. Axe, J., Dr. (2017, July 07). 13 Health Benefits of Cinnamon & Nutrition Facts. Retrieved August 05, 2017, from https://draxe.com/health-benefits-cinnamon/
  2. Cinnamon spice produces healthier blood. (n.d.). Retrieved August 05, 2017, from https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn4413-cinnamon-spice-produces-healthier-blood/
  3. (n.d.). Retrieved August 05, 2017, from http://www.thyroid-info.com/articles/cinnamon.htm

This post has been updated from its original publishing on May 23, 2011.