French Onion Soupvolunteer firefighters in Colorado

Recipe courtesy Tyler Florence  from the Food Network


  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 4 onions, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 fresh thyme sprigs
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup red wine, about 1/2 bottle
  • 3 heaping tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 quarts beef broth
  • 1 baguette, sliced
  • 1/2 pound grated Gruyere


Melt the stick of butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, bay leaves, thyme, and salt and pepper and cook until the onions are very soft and caramelized, about 25 minutes. Add the wine, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the wine has evaporated and the onions are dry, about 5 minutes. Discard the bay leaves and thyme sprigs. Dust the onions with the flour and give them a stir. Turn the heat down to medium low so the flour doesn’t burn, and cook for 10 minutes to cook out the raw flour taste. Now add the beef broth, bring the soup back to a simmer, and cook for 10 minutes. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.

When you’re ready to eat, preheat the broiler. Arrange the baguette slices on a baking sheet in a single layer. Sprinkle the slices with the Gruyere and broil until bubbly and golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes.

Ladle the soup in bowls and float several of the Gruyere croutons on top.

Alternative method: Ladle the soup into bowls, top each with 2 slices of bread and top with cheese. Put the bowls into the oven to toast the bread and melt the cheese.


Some comfort food for a cold winter’s day.

Leek Potato Soupvolunteer firefighters in Colorado

Recipe courtesy Alton Brown, 2005 – From The Food Network



  • 1 pound leeks, cleaned and dark green sections removed, approximately 4 to 5 medium
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Heavy pinch kosher salt, plus additional for seasoning
  • 14 ounces, approximately 3 small, Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced small
  • 1 quart vegetable broth
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 tablespoon snipped chives


Chop the leeks into small pieces.

In a 6-quart saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the leeks and a heavy pinch of salt and sweat for 5 minutes. Decrease the heat to medium-low and cook until the leeks are tender, approximately 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the potatoes and the vegetable broth, increase the heat to medium-high, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and gently simmer until the potatoes are soft, approximately 45 minutes.

Turn off the heat and puree the mixture with an immersion blender until smooth. Stir in the heavy cream, buttermilk, and white pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning if desired. Sprinkle with chives and serve immediately, or chill and serve cold.

metaphysicalPeppermint is a fragrant healing herb that is extremely safe when infused as a tisane (an herbal tea). This herb is known for strengthening the heart and nerves, as well as aiding in digestion. It calms an upset stomach, even helping with symptoms of morning sickness during pregnancy.

Peppermint is also useful in treating headaches. Two to three cups of peppermint tea can help alleviate a headache and has no known side effects. The essential oil of mint can be inhaled, or small drops rubbed on the skin on the forehead or the base of the skull to relieve pain

In general, peppermint is a stimulating herb that causes dilation of the capillaries, increasing blood flow and hence affecting digestion and headache pain. It also aids in detoxification of the liver and has been used throughout history for fever and chills. If you’re feeling under the weather, a cup of peppermint tea could be just the thing you need.

If you’re a gardener, peppermint is extremely easy to grow. It’s so easy, it becomes invasive, so if you want to add it to an herbal garden, plant it in a large container with drainage holes in the bottom and sink it into the ground.



metaphysicalIf you are going to plant a cold and flu themed garden, or simply have an herbal medicine cabinet in your home, Rosemary is a ‘must have’ herb. Not only can Rosemary be used therapeutically, it smells lovely and tastes delicious.

Rosemary can easily be brewed like tea to make an herbal infusion. Drinking this tisane can bring about a feeling of well-being and increase your energy, because Rosemary is known as an anti-depressant. It works as a soothing tonic for those with anxiety or tension headaches, too.

Using Rosemary alongside meditation can amplify its effectiveness and help one achieve internal peace and harmony. The bonus here is that Rosemary is extremely easy to grow and therefore always have on hand. If gardening isn’t your thing, dried Rosemary is available in bulk at many health food stores. So, if you’re feeling stressed, fill a tea ball with Rosemary and brew yourself a cup of relaxation.

metaphysicalEchinacea is an herb that is particularly well known because of its ability to lessen the symptoms and duration of a cold or the flu when taken at the onset. The best way to take this herb is in liquid form, such as in a tea, or one can take the dried herb in capsules. This flower is actually anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory. Besides treating colds and flu, echinacea is also useful for a variety of other ailments. Brew the herb into a tisane (herbal tea) to help with symptoms of sore throat, enlarged lymph nodes, stomach cramps and urinary tract infections. Additionally, echinacea can be made into an ointment to treat skin issues, such as, cold sores, insect bites, and mild burns.

This herb should not be used by people with allergies to plants in the daisy family.

Look for echinacea preparations in the herbal section of your local natural grocer. If you are a gardener, you can create a cold and flu themed garden including thyme, garlic, cayenne pepper, yarrow, echinacea, peppermint and rosemary. Peppermint becomes invasive, so plant it in a large container with drainage holes, separated from the other plants. As an added bonus, echinacea and yarrow will draw butterflies to your garden.

Both ginger and garlic have been used extensively in traditional Chinese medicine for their antibacterial properties. Both are additionally classified as adaptogens, or herbs which heal gently. During flu season especially, these two foods are perfect to incorporate into your diet.

This infusion is a great cleanser, and works well helping the body to remove toxins. The subtle flavour of the ginger is just enough to balance out the garlic making this an incredibly refreshing tea.

Garlic & Ginger Tisanemetaphysical

4 cloves of garlic, minced (allow to rest about five minutes before infusing)

1-inch piece of ginger, grated

1 lemon, juiced

a small dash of cayenne pepper

Prepare all ingredients, and put into small teapot.

Cover with 2 cups boiling water and infuse for 15-20 minutes.

Strain and drink ~ sweeten with honey if desired.

** Receive 10% off on all orders placed through the month of December at Purple Sage. Enter keyword Holiday11.

metaphysicalElderberries are full of antioxidants and extremely beneficial for boosting the immune system during flu and cold season. The following recipe is for an elderberry remedy that can be taken daily to ward off viruses during this season.

Elderberry Infusion

1 cup dried elderberries (available at Vitamin Cottage)

4 cups water

honey to taste

Bring water to a boil in a non-reactive pan. Add elderberries, turn off heat, and cover. Let steep for at least an hour. Strain.

Add honey to taste to elderberry infusion. Store in a bottle with a cork stopper, or cover loosely with wax paper. Do NOT use a screw lid.

Store in refrigerator. Take 1-2 teaspoons daily during flu season.

** Receive 10% off on all orders placed through the month of December at Purple Sage. Enter keyword Holiday11.

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