LOCAL SPOTLIGHT: Elderberry Elixir

Elderberry Elixir was started by a Fort Myers mom, Lenny, when her son started having health issues.  After jumping between doctors and specialists, Lenny decided to take matters into her own hands.  She started making elderberry syrup as a way to help boost her son’s immune system.  And it worked!  So well in fact, that family and friends started asking for bottles. And soon, a small business was born.  

Health Benefits of Elderberry:
-supports the immune system
-lessens the symptoms and duration of viruses
-effective against respiratory infections
-reduces inflammation

Lenny makes her tasty concoction in small batches using all high-quality organic ingredients.  You can buy her products online or find them at local shops and farmers markets.  Visit her website for more information and follow her on Facebook and Instagram!

Here’s what Lenny had to say when asked about the three pillars of WellHome:

What does luxury mean to you?  Luxury means sourcing the very best and purest ingredients to create a premium elderberry syrup that is delicious and accessible to everyone we know!

What are your wellness goals?  To help others find ways to incorporate our product into their daily health regimen.

How do you incorporate sustainability into your daily life?  We are very intentional about the products we use.  Our bottles are glass, our caps are metal, and all the materials we use at in-person events are biodegradable or recyclable.  For us, having a green footprint is of utmost importance!

Get yourself a bottle of Elderberry Elixir and cheers to good health!

Mushroom Madness

I have had a long-standing love affair with medicinal mushrooms – like maitake, shiitake, reishi and chaga- and have been incorporating them into my & my son’s diet for years now.  When I first started learning about the different types of mushrooms and their health benefits, I was in college working at an herbal medicine clinic where they were used in herbal tinctures and teas.  Now that medicinal mushrooms have become more mainstream, I am thoroughly enjoying the variety of products on the market.  Here are some of my fave’s:

—> Check out this recipe for *homemade* Chocolate-Chaga Almond Mylk! <—

While different mushrooms have different healing properties and support different systems in the body, some of the primary benefits include:

  • Immune system support
  • Loaded with antioxidants
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Support memory and focus
  • Increase energy and stamin
  • Support the nervous system and reduces stress

Check out these sites to learn more:

Chocolate-Chaga Almond Mylk

Yield:  about 1 quart

1 cups raw almonds
1 quart fresh water + more for soaking
1 tablespoon chaga powder
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoon cocoa powder
¼ cup maple syrup, or to taste

1. Place almonds in a container and cover with 2 to 3 inches of water. Place in the fridge to soak overnight. The next day, drain and rinse well. Set aside.

2. Bring the 1 quart of water to a boil.  Remove from heat and add chaga powder.  Cover and steep for about 20 minutes. Let cool to room temp.

3. Place drained almonds in a blender.  Add cinnamon, cocoa powder and chaga tea mixture.  Puree for 1-2 minutes, or until very smooth.

4. Strain almond mylk through nut mylk bag or cheesecloth into a clean pitcher.  Sweeten with maple syrup to taste. Store in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.

Reusable Shopping Bags by Envirosax

I am LOVING my new tropical print reusable shopping bags from Envirosax. How fun are they?!? Envirosax totes are a great environmentally-friendly alternative to plastic shopping bags. They are strong, durable, machine washable, and roll up into a tight little bundle that fits easily in your car or purse. They are the perfect accessory for the farmers market, grocery store, beach, boat, travel, or any outting. And they make great gifts!

Quick Pickled Jalapenos

The pepper plants have been prolific this year! Far too many to eat at once. So I started making pickled jalapenos to preserve the harvest. Don’t be thrown off by the sugar in this recipe. It is just enough to cut through the bite of the vinegar and turn these jalapenos into an addictive condiment.

10-15 jalapenos
2 garlic cloves
1 cup white vinegar
1 cup water
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon kosher salt

Thinly slice the jalapenos and garlic and place in a mason jar. You can also leave the garlic whole if you prefer.

Combine vinegar, water, sugar and salt in a small sauce pot. Bring to a boil and simmer until sugar and salt have dissolved.

Pour the brine into the mason jar with jalapenos and garlic.

Place lid on jar. Let pickles cool at room temperature and then store in the refrigerator.

Creamy Butternut Squash Soup with Ginger & Turmeric

Serves 6-8 (makes about 2 quarts of soup)

2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 medium onion, diced
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
2″ knob of fresh ginger, peeled & chopped
2″ piece of fresh turmeric, peeled & chopped
1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, chopped
1 quart chicken or veg broth
1/2 cup coconut milk
Salt to taste

1. Heat coconut oil in a medium sized stock pot. Add onion and saute, on medium high heat, until translucent.
2. Add garlic, ginger and turmeric. Saute for 1-2 minutes, until fragrant.
3. Add butternut squash and broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for about 45 minutes, or until the squash is falling apart.
4. Remove soup from heat and let cool. Transfer soup to blender and puree until smooth (or use an immersion blender to puree the soup in the pot).
5. Stir in the coconut milk and season to taste with salt.
6. Serve with a squeeze of fresh lime juice, fresh cilantro and pumpkin seeds. And an extra drizzle of coconut milk for more creaminess if desired.

Negative Ions for Positive Vibes

If you can’t hit the beach to soak up the negative ions, then bring the negative ions into your home!

Certain natural environments, like mountains and beachs, contain an abundance of negative ions. When we breathe in these negative ions and they enter our blood stream they produce biochemical reactions that are said to help relieve stress, increase serotonin production (the “feel good” hormone), boost the immune system, clean the lungs and neutralize free radicals. They also help purify the air of allergens, germs and dust.

Himalayan Salt Lamps are a convenient way of bringing these health benefits into your home as the salt particles contain negative ions. And I am particularly loving these miniature plug-ins right now. Not only do they double as night lights, but they give off the most enchanting glow.

Washable Bamboo Paper Towels

I feel like I’m on a secret mission to find the most common items. Like paper towels. Stores are sold out within an hour of opening, and online stocks seems to be non-existent. At least for the moment. Going back to my eco-friendly tree-hugger roots, I’m reminded that paper towels really aren’t a necessity. They are a luxury. Buy hand towels! Or alternatives like these reusable bamboo paper towels, which I just ordered.

Spicy Cilantro Kale Pesto

Here is a fun twist on the classic basil pesto. Serve this spicy cilantro kale pesto as an accompaniment to grilled meats and vegetables or spread generously on warm crusty bread. I used cotija cheese, which is a salty dry cheese similar to parmesan. Feel free to use parmesan if you can’t find cotija.

1 bunch kale, stems removed & leaves chopped (about 4 cups, packed)
1 bunch cilantro, chopped (about 1 cup)
1/2 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup grated cotija cheese
2-3 cloves garlic
1 jalapeno, seeded
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Place the kale, cilantro, seeds, cheese, garlic and jalapeno in a food processor.

Start processing the mixture. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil until it has all been incorporated.

Continue processing until the pesto has reached the desired consistency.

Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Quick Guacamole

Quick Quacamole

4 avocados, pits removed
1/2 small red onion diced
1 small tomato, diced
1/2 jalapeno, seeded & minced
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
Juice of 1 lime
Salt to taste

Scoop the avocado flesh into a mixing bowl.  Add the remaining ingredients.  Use a fork to mash the ingredients together to desired consitency. Serve guacamole with tortilla chips.