Category Archives: Natural Beauty, Health, and Home

Our First Garden

We decided to make our very own garden this year, now that we have the space to do it.  The cold weather and rain have created some obstacles for us but we our on our way to our having our very own garden!



These are some of the vegetables that we plan to plant in our garden.


The beginnings of our garden.


My husband moving the topsoil from our driveway to the new garden.


This was actually me who knocked over the wheel barrel…



There’s still a lot to be done but we are on our way! 🙂



Natural Flu and Cold Remedy

IMG_9625I love this time of the year but it is also a time that I usually get sick.

No matter how hard I try to keep myself healthy and avoid catching a cold it seems like I always catch one a few times during the year.  But this time I found something great!  It is a natural remedy that you take when you feel like you are about to catch a cold and it actually stops you from getting a cold!  I tried Quantom Cold and Flu the other day on the onset of my cold and by the next day I already felt like I was getting better! I went into Whole Foods looking to buy goldenseal tablets but the lady recommended me this formula, Quantom Cold and Flu. It was about $18 and I wasn’t sure if it was worth but I figured I would try it anyways. It’s definitely not cheap but it will last a very long time. I only needed to take two doses of it for it to work. You can order Quantom Cold and Flu online or find it in your local health food store or Whole Foods.

I also recommend this tea made of Echinacea and Goldenseal.  It also works as a great preventative. The trick is to keep it in hot water for 10-15 minutes so that the tea is very potent. You can also find this tea at your local health food store or you can buy it at (Alvita Echinacea and Goldenseal). While you’re there you can use this code to save money on your order at

DIY Chalk Paint

I decided that I really wanted to change the look of this table.  Black really doesn’t go well in our apartment and this table is getting really old.  I wanted to give it an antique/distressed look so after some research I found out that I needed chalk paint.  But when I went to the store to buy it I found out that it was really expensive!  So I decided to make chalk paint by myself by mixing flat paint with with un-sanded grout. After that I just sanded the edges and put a finishing wax on it.  It only took about an hour for the whole project!


Chalk paint:

1 cup flat pain: 1 tbsp Un-sanded Grout








Organic Dried Shiitake Mushrooms

These days it is easy to find a variety of Japanese products all over New York City.  You don’t need to go to a Japanese supermarket to buy soy sauce, mirin, and sake anymore.  Places like Whole Foods and other supermarkets carry these items.  Shiitake mushrooms are one of the items that you can find almost anywhere.  However I had been finding it difficult to get dried organic shiitake mushrooms.  Most of the dried shiitake mushrooms sold in American and Japanese supermarkets are imported from China.

However, the other day when I was in Whole Foods I found a brand of Organic Shiitake mushrooms that are produced in the U.S..  These organic dried mushrooms are made by the brand Fungus among us.  They are sold at Whole foods but you can also purchase them online along with many other dried organic and non-organic products.  I used them to make dashi (soup stock) and the flavor that came out of them was very strong and delicious.  You can make vegetarian soup stocks from these dried shiitake mushrooms.  Try it for yourself!

Renkon-Japanese Lotus Root: Where does it Come From???

Renkon or ” lotus root ” is a root that is  popular in many Japanese dishes such as nimono ( braised vegetables), kinpira ( sautéd in sugar and soy sauce) and tsukemono ( Japanese Pickles). It is a popular root used in macrobiotic cooking and it is starting to become familiar in the US as well.

The Japanese character for renkon is “蓮根” 蓮 (ren) means lotus while 根 (kon) means root.  Renkon is said to be good for people who suffer from respiratory problems such as asthma or tuberculosis. It is also good for colds. There are a few macrobiotic remedy drinks that use the liquid from raw lotus root combined with arrowroot powder or other ingredients.  This is supposed to help people suffering from asthma or the common cold. However, in my experience, people suffering from eczema (atopy) should be careful when drinking raw lotus root juice as it may cause eczema to worsen.

What I find most interesting though, is how renkon is harvested. I have been buying it in the stores and using it in my cooking but until now, I had no idea  how it was grown or harvested. This video shows how they are harvested. Although it is in Japanese, I don’t think you need to understand what they are saying in order to get the picture. Check it out:

An all natural lip cream for sensitive skin! – Union Square Farmer’s Market

Every Saturday the Tweefontem Herb Farm has a booth at the Union Square Farmer’s market.  They carry a wide selections of herbal tinctures, salves, lip creams and even herbal iced tea.

I have only had the opportunity to try their herbal tea (which was really interesting and delicious) and I also tried (and have continued to buy) their lavender lip cream (or chap stick).  The ingredients are all natural and are great for people who have sensitive skin or lips!

They also have a really nice website and blog about their farm. Check it out!

In search of inexpensive organic food… 4th Street Co-op

Yesterday I made a visit to the 4th street Co-op. I had read about it online and since they allow non-members to buy food at their store I thought I would take a trip.  I figured anything would be cheaper than whole foods.  The 4th street Co-op is a pretty small store selling organic grains, produce, and even health and beauty products.

What I really liked about the coop was that they sell a lot of organic or locally grown Japanese products. For example this konbu which comes from Maine.

They also had Japanese vegetables like eggplant, daikon radish (only $1), and burdock root.  It was actually the first time I saw burdock root that was locally grown (gobo) but it was rather small so I have to see how it is when I cook it.

They had a variety of miso from brown rice to chickpea miso!  I had never heard of this brand before “miso master” but when I checked it out online, this company actually has an online store that sells a lot of macrobiotic food.

They sell hijiki by Mitoku which is a Japanese brand that sells many Japanese food products.  Most of the things in the store are in bins and you need to scoop them and put them into bags which cost about 10 cents.  Being my first time I wasn’t aware that there weren’t any shopping bags either.  I guess people bring their own bags and containers to put the products in?

They sell organic buckwheat flour.  I wonder if this can be used to make handmade soba?

They sell a bunch of looseleaf teas and herbs.  They have a very unique and large collection of these items so I think this place might be good for people who are looking to make their own health remedies or beauty products.  I bought loose leaf rooibus tea and made cold rooibus tea yesterday!

They sell their grains and beans by the pound and you can serve yourself!  I stocked up on brown rice, millet, and barley!

Conclusion:  For what it is, the 4th street coop isn’t bad.  It’s hard to find a coop that will let non-members shop at their store.  If you are walking in with Whole Foods in your head, you will be very disappointed.  The vegetables could be fresher and I have a feeling that some of them may be the ones you can’t sell in the store because they didn’t get big enough.  But the dandelion greens were delicious and some of their veggies looked pretty good like carrots, onions, oh and especially their Japanese sweet potatoes!!  I guess if you are looking for a cheaper alternative for buying organic food, it is worth a look!

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