Today is my birthday. I am 31 years old. For such a long stretch of my adolescence, birthdays were something I dreaded. I would always allow myself to get over-excited about the day, build up an unrealistic idea of what wonderful, magical, things would happen
(insert fantasy of flying unicorns here. No not Pegasus, because in my mind they had horns and wings - very different) all to feel let down when it was over. Classic Charlie Brown syndrome.
I distinctly recall my seventh birthday, when I must have invited the entire class to my party. My sweet, patient father had hand-cut 25+ wooden birdhouse for everyone to build (knowing my parents, they were probably for some native + endangered species of bird too). Yet all I remember from that day is not the fun or sweet acts of my family + friends, but myself crying alone in the goat barn singing It's my Party and I'll Cry if I want to. Talk about a drama queen!
As the years progressed, birthdays got better and better. I remember the first birthday I loved just like it was yesterday. It was my 18th birthday. My dad and I had travelled to Japan for the first time to see my brother. We spent the entire day in the shrine town of Nikko, just the two of us. Everything was so overwhelming for a girl who hadn't strayed very far from home. The scale of the temples was like nothing I had ever seen before and I was bowled over by the sheer beauty and magnitude of it all.
After a long day of hiking and eating sweet potato ice cream, we spotted a snow monkey in the wild, a very exciting sight for a teenage girl (or sensible human) to say the least. On the way back to the train, exhausted and spent, my father proceeded to find me a little ceramic monkey to commemorate the day. My own special birthday monkey which still sits on my shelf today.
Long story short, I have grown over the years to come to love my birthday. The less I seem to do the more and more the day means to me. I had originally planned this post to be all about a killer exciting cake I was going to make myself - I even bought a special cake pan, adorable cake stand, and all-natural bees waxed candles to go with the bunting I was going to make. But the world had other ideas for me. Ideas such as getting a migraine the day before my birthday.....this is classic Sophie behaviour here.
So after spending the last two days in bed (and watching nearly all of season one of Gilmore Girls), no cake was made, no party was had, but I had a beautiful day re-coopering, re-living the '00, and breaking my two day long (not by choice) fast with my favourite vegan pizza. It was pretty good all in all.
In place of cake this week, I am instead sharing a very exciting recipe for herbal medicine that we could all use this time of year - Fire Cider!
What is Fire Cider
Fire cider is an infused apple cider vinegar drink that was first made in the 80's at the California School of Herbal Studies, by the school's creator Rosemary Gladstar*. Based on traditional home remedies, the fire cider recipe uses the power of apple cider vinegar (which I believe will cure nearly everything) and potent medicinal herbs to create a tonic that's spicy, pungent, and sweet. Historically tonics like this have been used to ward off colds + flu, help solve sinus issues, aid in digestion, and help increase circulation.
Made out of a combination of ginger, horseradish, garlic, and turmeric, this concoction is anti-viral, immune-strengthening, and a decongestant. The ingredients can vary depending on what you have on hand, but I like to stick fairly close to the original by adding onion, garlic, horseradish, ginger, + cayenne (or pepper) along with a few other additions for fun. Stay healthy, friends, and good luck warding off those nasty colds this season!
* Fire cider has since been trademarked by a company who now owns and sells the product (and sues others who use the name), which is a gross exercise in the commodification of traditional knowledge. More can be found out about keeping fire cider free here.
How to use Fire Cider
Fire cider can be taken a couple of different ways, but my favourite would be in the form of those cute little health shoots you get from fancy juice stores - just down a shot all in one. But if that doesn't strike your fancy, here are some other ideas:
- Drink a couple of Tablespoons on first sight of a cold or flu.
- Mix with warm water and drink in the morning as you would lemon juice
- Add to salad dressings and Buddha bowl sauces as you would lemon juice
- Sprinkle over steamed veggies
- Add to spicy cocktails like Bloody Mary's
- Make a hot toddy with hot water, fire cider, and rum or whisky.
- 1/2 Cup Peeled and Diced Horseradish
- 1/2 Cup Peeled and Diced White Onion
- 1/2 Cup Peeled and Diced Garlic
- 1/4 Cup Peeled and Diced Turmeric
- 1/4 Cup Peeled and Diced Ginger
- 1 Jalapeno, Chopped
- Peel and Juice of one Lemon, Pith removed
- 1 tsp Black Pepper
- 2 Sprigs Rosemary
- 2-3 Cups Raw Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar
- Honey / Maple Syrup as needed
- Place all the vegetables, herbs, and spices, in a clean 1 Lt mason jar. Top with the apple cider vinegar, and using a clean knife, make sure there are no air pockets where bacteria can grow. Apply a layer of waxed paper or parchment to the top of the jar before placing the lid onto it to prevent any corrosion.
- Store your jar in an area you'll visit daily (I keep ours by the tea and coffee) and shake once daily or as often as you can remember. After anywhere from 3-6 weeks the vinegar will be ready.
- Simply strain out all the vegetables (compost them) until you are left with just the infused vinegar. At this step, you can either sweeten the vinegar with honey or maple syrup or if you prefer just to leave it as is and sweeten it as needed. Store in the refrigerator for up to a year.
*****As a disclaimer, I should probably say I am not a doctor and if you're really ill please go see a medical professional and get the medicine you need. *****