Recipe Roundups, Recipes

30+ Lovely Lilac Recipes

Delicate and aromatic lilacs are one of my favorite flowers. For the first two and a half decades of my life, their sweet blooms were a yearly herald of warm weather, longer days, and an abundance of fresh fruits & veggies.

While I’m not living where lilacs grow anymore, my love for this plant has only deepened. Absence does indeed make the heart grow fonder— in this case anyway.

Lilacs (Syringa vulgaris) aren’t just gorgeous and enchantingly aromatic, their flowers are also edible, adding spring magic to drinks, baked goods, desserts & more.

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Plant Wonder Collective, Recipes

Lilac Syrup

May has always been my favorite month. In the Midwest, it’s when the fields & forests begin to burst with life, offering lots of fungi & flora to forage.

It’s also when the lilacs bloom. Such a magical, yet fleeting time that urges us to slow down and be present — to stop and smell the lilacs.

Lilac syrup is a lovely way to enjoy this gorgeous flower. It’s a quick & simple to put together and is as versatile as it is lovely! Add it to spring cocktails, sparkling water, & lemonade or drizzle it over cakes.

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Herbal Remedies, Natural Beauty, Plant Wonder Collective

Springtime Infused Witch Hazel

Witch hazel extract infused with spring plants makes for a lovely skin tonic. Crafted with herbs that are wonderfully nourishing and soothing to the skin, it can be used as a daily facial toner or utilized to ease a number of skin woes.

Dab on to spot treat acne or pour into a spray bottle and spritz on insect bites & stings, sun burns, rashes, and other inflamed, itchy skin conditions. It’s a wonderful herbal remedy to have on hand as the weather warms and you’re spending more time outside and are thus, more likely to experience some of these skin issues.

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Condiments, Recipes

Dandelion Vinaigrette

Though it’s the bane of many a lawn-lover, this cheery weed deserves appreciation. All parts of this nutritious plant are edible. It has also been used traditionally for various health conditions. Herbalists commonly utilize dandelion to support the liver and boost digestion.

Dandelion has long been cherished as a nourishing, revitalizing spring tonic. It also lends itself wonderfully to various culinary applications. A caffeine-free, bitter drink that tastes somewhat like coffee can be made from the roasted roots. The greens are wonderful sautéed with a bit of vinegar drizzled over them (though admittedly some folks will find them unpleasantly bitter). I’ve lacto-fermented the flower buds for a caper-like treat. The blossoms are also popularly used to make wine. 

One of my favorite ways to use an abundance of fresh dandelion greens is to make large jars of dandelion infused vinegar so I can whip up a tasty vinaigrette whenever I please.

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Plant Wonder Collective

TMJ Relief Roller

Temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMJ for short, causes pain in the jaw, face, & ears and can make chewing and opening your mouth painful, or even difficult.

I’ve dealt with TMJ pain on and off for years. I’ll have periods where my jaw doesn’t bother me at all. But, as soon as I’m in a phase where I’m not sleeping well and my stress levels are increased, reliably, my jaw and teeth will start to ache and I won’t be able to open my mouth without my jaw joint clicking painfully.

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Plant Wonder Collective

A Look at Comfrey as Animal Fodder

Comfrey (Symphytum spp.) has a long history of use in animal husbandry, as well as folk medicine, and is cherished for its high nutrient content and ability to aid the repair of skin and bones.

Indeed, comfrey is a source of an impressive array of nutrients, including thiamine, riboflavin, nicotinic acid, pantothenic acid, vitamin B12, vitamin C, vitamin E, iron, manganese, calcium, and phosphorus. It also contains allantoin, a chemical compound which promotes the healing of tissues, as well as soothing mucilage.

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Fermented Foods, Plant Wonder Collective, Recipes

Dill Kraut

Research has shown that maintaining a healthy balance of bacteria in the gut is not only crucial for proper digestion, but also plays an important role in modulating immunity & inflammation, and preventing chronic disease. Eating probiotic-rich lacto-fermented veggies is a simple and flavorful way to promote a healthy gut flora.

Probiotics balance the gut microbiome, inhibit pathogenic bacteria that cause digestive issues, and help to lessen the negative health effects of environmental pollutants and other toxins that are present in food.

The addition of dill (Anethum graveolens) seeds further boots this kraut’s benefits for digestion, as they have carminative, stomachic, and digestive effects. Which means that they help to relieve gas & bloating and to help boost the digestive process.

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Dill Seed Soda Bread

Growing up, my mom baked soda bread every St. Patrick’s Day to accompany the corned beef and boiled potatoes & cabbage she made for dinner. Now that I have my own young children, when I look back at these sweet, seasonal rituals I can appreciate the extra effort she put in to bring a little magic to the everyday moments in a whole new way. This year, as a nod to my momma, I decided to make a soda bread loaf for my own little family.

Because it’s dill month for the Plant Wonder Collective, I’ve been finding a whole new appreciation for dill seed. I’ve never been inspired to work with this spice much, but now that I have, I’m totally enamored with the complex and delightful flavor it imparts.

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Condiments, Plant Wonder Collective, Recipes

Dill Mustard

Handcrafted condiments are a serious level up from store-bought renditions that are far less tasty, and are full of highly-processed ingredients like preservatives, food dyes, artificial flavors, and high fructose corn syrup. When I first started making my own mustards many years ago, I was delighted by how simple and truly delicious it was to whip this flavorful condiment at home. I haven’t bought mustard since!

Dill (Anethum graveolens) adds an interesting depth of flavor, reminiscent of anise and celery. It also improves the health benefits of this mustard. Dill seed is rich in antioxidants. It promotes digestion and helps ease stomachache. It is said to help boost the milk supply of lactating mothers.

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Drinks, Plant Wonder Collective, Recipes

Bone Broth Hot Cocoa

The Aztecs and Mayans revered cacao as sacred long before 18th century Swedish botanist, Carl Linnaeus, named the cacao tree Theobroma cacao —which means “food of the gods” in Latin.

In modern times, cacao is well-known as a flavoring in sugary desserts and chocolate candies. However, this herb actually has numerous health benefits when not heavily adulterated by processed sugars and other additives.

Cacao (Theobroma cacao) is rich in minerals and anti-inflammatory flavonoids. It provides mood-boosting, anxiety reducing effects. It helps to boost energy levels, mental clarity, and focus. Cacao has also been shown to boost heart health and lower blood pressure.

Combine cacao with bone broth for a decadent and deeply nourishing drink that is a far cry from the hot cocoa you made from pre-packaged packets as a kid. This delightful warming beverage tastes like a guilty pleasure, but packs a health boosting wallop.

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Condiments, Plant Wonder Collective, Recipes

Lacto-Fermented Cacao Hot Sauce

This hot sauce is reminiscent of mole poblano, a savory Mexican sauce made with cacao, chiles, and other spices. Authentic versions of this tasty sauce include 20+ ingredients and can take hours to put together. This rendition is much simpler. Lacto-fermenting the peppers adds depth of flavor without a lot of effort and after the initial wait for the peppers to ferment, the whole thing comes together in just a few minutes.

Cacao (Theobroma cacao) is rich in iron, magnesium, potassium, and antioxidants. One study showed eating cacao boosts mood. It may also be beneficial to brain and heart health.

Lacto-fermented peppers are naturally rich in probiotics, which help to boost gut health and and help to lessen the negative health effects of environmental pollutants and other toxins that are present in food.

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Seasoned Salt Blends

Seasoned salts make it quick and easy to add extra flavor to a meal. While there are plenty of pre-packaged blends you can buy at the grocery store, many of these mixes contain artificial flavorings, colorants, and preservatives that are not optimal for health. Additionally, most store-bought seasonings are not made with fresh, high-quality herbs, and as a result, are nowhere near as flavorful and potent as a blend you can make yourself with well-sourced ingredients.

Buy herbs in bulk or grow your own for more affordable homemade seasonings. Powdering your herbs will also save you money, as herb powders are typically more expensive than dried herbs. 

Seasoned salts blends are simple to put together, but are quite versatile and incredibly useful to have on hand. They also make an lovely gift and may be particularly appreciated by the busy moms or foodies. Store them in pretty little jars and decorate them with handmade labels for an extra special touch.

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Plant Wonder Collective, Recipes

Flor de Jamaica Popsicles

Flor de jamaica (Hibiscus sabdariffa), also known as roselle, is often enjoyed in a tasty, tart tea. It has long been utilized in folk medicine as a laxative, and as treatment for heart disease & nervous system disorders.

Modern research shows that this hibiscus species does indeed have many positive health effects. It is rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, which may be helpful in preventing various diseases. It also has anti-inflammatory properties.

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Natural Beauty, Plant Wonder Collective

Hibiscus & Peppermint Herbal Hair Rinse

There are more than 300 species of Hibiscus that grow throughout the world, ranging from tropical to temperate regions. These Malvaceae family plants almost all have showy flowers and are appreciated for their ornamental value, as well as a number of culinary and medicinal uses.

Flor de Jamaica (Hibiscus sabdariffa), also commonly known as roselle, is a type of hibiscus that produces large, deep red calyces. They are rich in anthocyanins, which give them their vibrant color. In Mexico and parts of Central America, these calyces are commonly made into a tea that is enjoyed for its tart flavor and health benefits.

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Natural Beauty

Soothing Facial Mask & Scrub

Our consumer culture would like us to believe that the newest gadgets, designer clothes, and expensive accessories make the best holiday gifts. However, there is something truly special and timeless about handmade presents.

Handcrafted, natural personal care products make wonderful gifts for friends and family. They can easily be customized to meet the recipient’s preferences, giving them a personal touch. Homemade products don’t contain any of the toxic additives that are found in their conventional counterparts – which can have various negative health and environmental effects. Personal care items also promote self-care and wellness, which is a truly beautiful thing to give the ones we love. 

This facial scrub is a quick and simple to put together and is perfect as a last minute gift. You’ll likely want to make a smaller batch if you’re just crafting it for yourself or one other person, as the recipes will makes a good amount so that you have enough to give as gifts.

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