Vintage Recipes

Hildegard’s Essentials: Essential Oil Tips from a Saint

Saintly Tips

Who better to get essential oil tips from than a Saint?  Right? Hildegard’s Essentials are herbal remedies from Saint Hildegard adapted for modern-day essential oil use. Hildegard of Bingen was a 12th century nun, composer, author, herbalist, healer, and visionary.  Her visions from God inspired her to become a herbal healer and to write extensively about the subject throughout her life.  It is for these visions and writings that she was granted Sainthood by the Roman Catholic Church.

In her works she discusses the healing properties of 17 plants that are commercially available today in essential oil form; I’ve highlighted 10 of them here which I’ve named “Hildegard’s Essentials”.  Hildegard didn’t use essential oils.  She used the whole plants (steams, leaves, bark, or resin), which is the traditional way herbal medicine is practiced.  With today’s amazing distillation technology we are blessed to be able to use essential oils in our herbal remedies.  Oils are much more potent than there whole plant counterparts; and less oil is needed to be effective; making oils a natural choice for herbal remedies.  So, I’ve substituted essential oils for her herbs.

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Vintage Christmas Wine~ Smoking Bishop

smoking bishop collage

Christmas time is the time for festive cocktails.  I always find myself craving something warm (even though it’s hardly ever cold here) and the past few years I’ve been giving mulled wine a try.  Mulled wine is an old drink- it dates way back; definitely to the Middle Ages and some sources say even to Roman times.  It’s a European concoction and has traveled with European settlers around the world.  In a nutshell mulled wine is red wine that is simmered with spices and sometimes sugar is added.  It is served warm, and will quickly warm the body from the inside out.  English versions are called mulled wine, the German version is called glow wine, and the Scandinavian version is called glogg.  There is also a drink called Wassail- which is sort of related- but not the same thing.  Mulling spices usually include: cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, and all spice.  Oranges are included as well, being a winter fruit they are the perfect addition.  The inclusion of oranges also gives us a clue that (until the mid 20th century) the drink would have been considered extremely special and expensive, as oranges were expensive to import from Spain.

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1945 Spanish String Beans

vintage green beans

I was tasked with preparing the green beans for Thanksgiving this year.  I love green bean casserole; but I have been gluten free since March and the casserole contains gluten.  It’s in the soup and the french fried onions.  I thought about making a gluten free version, but decided I would go a different route entirely.  I looked in one of my vintage cookbooks The Household Searchlight Recipe Book and came across the yummy recipe for “Spanish String Beans”.  I’m not sure why they are called “Spanish” there doesn’t seem to be anything particularly Spanish about them, but this recipe is from 1945.  I’m thinking its the garlic, green pepper, catsup (ketchup).  They were a hit at our house!  Enjoy!!

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How to Make Sugared Oranges

how to make sugared oranges

Sugaring oranges is an easy way to add sparkle to a traditional fruit centerpiece.  You can sugar any fruit really, but oranges are my favorite, especially at Christmas.  My grandmother used to sugar oranges at Christmas when my mom was growing up.  She shared the tradition with me.  I loved it so much we had them in the centerpieces at my wedding.  Although, for the wedding we used spray glue and glitter.  To make the real thing you use egg whites and sugar and it is insanely easy!

What you need:

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Pie is for Pumpkin!

pumpkin pie

When you think of Thanksgiving you think of Pumpkin Pie!  Okay, maybe you think of turkey or green bean casserole or Jello- but I’m sure pumpkin pie is pretty high on the list.  Pumpkins are the symbol of Fall.  In early September they start appearing everywhere.  Pumpkins in the grocery store, pumpkin patches on the corner, craft pumpkins, pumpkin recipes, pumpkin wreaths, pumpkin spice lattes, pretty much pumpkins galore!  They are a major part of Halloween and Thanksgiving, and are sort of a national seasonal obsession.  I for one am part of the obsession!  I LOVE pumpkin spice candles and admit to lighting them in August!!  Pumpkins decorate my home from September to December;  and I make Pumpkin Pie almost every year.

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Pass the Vintage Jello Please!

vintage jello recipe The Orange Tree orangetreefla.comOne of my most memorable Thanksgiving memories is the moment when my grandmother, Mama Ialeene, would let me dig into her red, fruit filled jello salad.  It was one of those jiggly, molded ones with the fruit suspended inside of it- chunks of pineapple and little sliced cherries.  I’m sure your grandmother probably made something similar.  I don’t have Mama’s original recipe- but I do have one of her cookbooks.  It’s a lovely old book, published in 1945; called The Household Searchlight Recipe Book.  My grandmother wrote her new married name on the inside front cover (how cute is that!).  I think it might have been a wedding gift or maybe a shower gift.  I found it when we were cleaning out her house after her death.  I kept it, mostly because of her name in it.  I felt drawn to it- she was a new bride and giddy to start cooking for her new husband- thinking about it now makes my heart smile!

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Surprising Uses for Saffron

SaffronSaffron is not just a spice that can used to flavor and  add rich color to food.  It also has a rich history of medicinal uses.  These days it is not particularly known for it medicinal properties, but in the ancient world it was highly prized for those qualities.

It is derived from a flower- the crocus sativus– or Saffron Crocus.  When purchased it is almost always found in dried, thin thread-like pieces.  These threads are actually the stigmas of the Saffron Crocus flower.  The flower is a lovely lavender color with the vibrant red stigmas in the center.  Because the threads are hand picked, and each flower only produces four, Saffron is the worlds most expensive spice.

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