CoffeeScapes – n. A word I made up to describe the landscapes I see (and paint) inside an Armenian coffee cup

Have you ever had a beautiful, fragrant cup of Armenian coffee, drank it down to the  dregs in the bottom of the cup and then flipped it over, turning it clockwise with the intent of having your fortune read – or just seeing what the inside of the cup held for you?  If you have, then you know about the beautiful landscapes that are created by the coffee as it flows slowly down the sides of the inverted cup.  Each cup holds a different treasure of positive and negative design.  And that is exactly what inspired me over 25 years ago to paint coffeescapes using Armenian coffee as my medium.

Let me backtrack a bit.  My name is Anush, and I am a 3x cancer survivor.  Seriously.  My first diagnosis of breast cancer was when I was only 34.  We didn’t have breast cancer in our family.  It just snuck up on me.  It was devastating and scary, especially since we had no health insurance and had two young children.  But this is not a post on my cancer struggles, but about my art.  I had surgery, and while I was recuperating my sister would come over every afternoon to visit me on her way home from work.  I would make us both a cup of Armenian coffee, and we would sit and talk, flip the cups, and my sister – who likes to read the cups – would explain the mean of the lines in my cup.  That’s where it all started.  Coffeescapes.

It was during one of these visits that I saw the cup as more than just “a fortune”.  I saw it as a whole beautiful and unique work of art.  And this is when I decided that I wanted to reproduce the design on canvas….only exploded many times.   I was so excited to do this.  I asked my husband if he would pick up wood for me to build a canvas.  I bought canvas and a staple gun, a backsaw and a mitre box, did my math calculations and came up with a 10x exploded view of the cup.  My original Coffeescape painting is 6’ x 18” (the 18” dimension allowed for some of the bottom of the cup as well).  And I didn’t want to paint just any cup, but one that was filled with a positive message.  A couple weeks into our coffee drinking/reading journey my sister read a beautiful cup.  One filled with angels and hope.  This was the cup I would paint.

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I set about creating a permanent pigment out of Armenian coffee and painted away.  I hung it up in our dining room and that’s pretty much all that became of that canvas, other than good conversation with friends over dinners at the house.  But it started an idea brewing in my head.  Someday I would have an art show where I would feature coffeescapes.  We would even have the opportunity for attendees to drink a cup of Armenian coffee and order a custom canvas of their cup.

Well, it finally happened.  It took about 25 years for the dream to become a reality, but just last month, (January 18-31, 2018) my show, Coffeescapes: From Cup to Canvas – The Unique Art of Anush Movsesian Avejic opened at Roslin Gallery in Glendale.  The show featured 26 works of art.  Coffeescapes as well as other painting using Armenian coffee as the medium along with some of my illustrations.

It was my very first showing of my work.  It was a dream come true for me.  We opened with a wine and cheese reception, and the closing featured an Armenian coffee reception where patrons drank a cup, had a reading done, and ordered their custom canvas!

Here are some of my pieces.  If you are interested in purchasing or a custom canvas, please email me at anush@essentiallyanush.com

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This is a double canvas set called “Coffee with Laura”.  It is a memorial to my dear friend Laura, whom I lost last year and the thousands of cups of coffee we shared over a lifetime of friendship.  I drank 2 cups of Armenian coffee…the top one intentionally for me and the bottom for Laura.  The canvases parallel a strong bond between two women.  Both have a wishbone, mine is intact, but Laura’s is broken.  This set is for sale.

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“Ride the Wave” (above) – SOLD – New friendships are forming.  Be wary of an older woman who is posing as a friend.  You are coming to terms with a past relationship and its sad ending.  Open your heart to new relationship and new beginnings.  There are many ups and downs on your journey.  Ride the waves and they will see you through.

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The canvas is titled “Inner Strength”.  The receiver is a strong woman, set in her ways.  She is trying to bring about change in her career.  In order to do so, she must put her priorities in the right place – which isn’t the current situation.  In order to succeed she must do something very difficult for her:  swallow her pride and allow her friends to help her.

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“A Blessed Change” (above) shows a couple coming together to discuss a direct change in their journey through life together.  They have the opportunity to make a 180 degree change from their current situation.  Reliance on friends is key to lead to their success.  Prosperity is there shown as a tower of birds which signify good luck and victory over challenge.  The presence of the number seven brings an extra blessing.

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“Believe in Love” (above) shows feelings of isolation and loneliness.  The receiver of the reading is standing tall, as a woman, her arms crossed over her chest protecting her heart.  There are opportunities to love again, but she is not ready.  Faith, introspection, and spirituality are needed to achieve openness.

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“Opportunities” (above) – SOLD – is the title of the above canvas. Reading: There are many opportunity, but you are creating roadblocks. While you have a great capacity to love and an open heart, be protective of your heart. There are many opportunities on many different paths. Trust your heart and follow your dreams. You can be your own worst enemy or your own best friend.

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“Soorj”. Armenian coffee painting on canvas – SOLD

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“God is Infinite” – Armenian Coffee on Canvas – SOLD

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“Aghavnie (dove) with Pomegranate – Armenian coffee on Canvas – SOLD

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“Through the Pomegranate Tree” – Armenian Coffee on Canvas – SOLD

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“In the Garden” – Acrylic paint and Armenian coffee on Canvas – SOLD

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“Pomegranate Peace” Acrylic paint and Armenian coffee on Canvas

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“Pomegranate Shadows” – pen and ink and prismacolor pencil illustration

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“ZenPom” – pen and ink with prismacolor pencil – SOLD

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“Wish for Peace” – pen and ink and Prismacolor Pencil

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“Forget Me Never” – pen and ink and Prismacolor pencil

 

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Natural Easter Eggs Dyed with Onion Skins – Traditionally Armenian

I grew up in Los Angeles, the granddaughter of Armenian Genocide survivors.  My grandmother lived on the corner of our block and we were very close.  She often called me to come over to help her cook.  One of the things I remember the most is her beautiful Armenian Easter eggs.  Always this rich brown color, dyed naturally with onion skins.  Her traditional eggs were not imprinted with leaves or flower like mine are.  Instead she would make them a solid brown and then use a cloth and some cleanser to rub crosses on the surface.  I loved the care and attention she put into these eggs.  And on Easter morning, we would have an egg challenge.  We would all pick the egg that we thought had the strongest shell.  We would take turns tapping our eggs against each other’s.  The winning egg would be the egg left untracked.

When my grandmother passed away, I started carrying on her family traditions.  I’m the one in my family that makes her delicious stuffed grape leaves.  And I’m the one that dyes my eggs the traditional way, with onion skins.

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We start collecting onion skins when Lent begins.  In the Armenian Orthodox tradition, we take on a vegan diet during these forty days.   The recipe has simple ingredients:  Eggs, onion skins, and if you want to imprint designs on them, you will need some small leaves or flowers, and some nylon stockings (I buy a couple from the dollar store).

So let’s start:  Take your eggs and DO NOT boil them ahead of time.  Put the onion skins in a large soup pot.   You will need a good amount of onion skins.  The more skins you have the deeper the color.  You can mix red onion skins and brown onion skins for a deeper brown, but the traditional color is achieved with brown onion.

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If you want the traditional solid egg with crosses rubbed on them, place your raw eggs on the onion skins, and cover with water.  Bring to a boil.  Boil for about 15 minutes with a medium flame.  Turn the flame off, and then let the eggs sit for several hours.  The longer they sit, the deeper the color.  So keeping them in the onion mixture for a short time will give you a light orange color….progressing to a deeper orange, to brick red, to a deep brown.  Remove from the onion bath and allow to cool.  Then use a Q-tip dipped in a little cleanser to rub crosses on the surface.  Rinse, dry, and rub with a little bit of vegetable oil for a glossy egg.

If you’d like to imprint your eggs with designs, you’ll need some small leaves or flowers.  I generally use parsley or cilantro, but this year I forgot to buy them.  So I opened the fridge to see what I could find and decided to use strawberry tops for my design this year.

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Open the packs for nylon stockings and cut off the toe.  Then cut each leg into five or six 4” tubes.  (Does that make sense?)  Place the flower or leaf on the surface of the egg and stretch the nylon over the egg, securing the leaf to the surface.  Knot the excess in back of the egg.  Place the egg on the onion skins in the pot.  Continue wrapping your eggs until you’ve done them all.  I dyed 24 eggs with 2 pairs of nylons but I used all parts of the nylons.

Once you’ve got them all done, fill your pot with water to cover the eggs.

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At this point, I invert a small luncheon plate over the surface of the eggs just to keep them all submerged while I bring the eggs to a boil and while they steep.  As outlined above, boil them for about 15-20 minutes, turn off the flame and just allow them to sit there submerged until the desired color is achieved.  Once you like the color, drain the eggs and remove the nylon (discard).  You can then rub the surface with a little vegetable oil if you like a glossy egg, or leave them matte.

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Here is a photo of eggs I dyed last year using flat leaf and curly leaf parsley.  This also shows the result of rubbing oil on the eggs for a glossy finish.

Wishing you all a very blessed Easter!  Crisdos Haryav E Merelotz!  Ornyal eh Harootiunun Crisdosee!

Christ has Resurrected from the dead.  Blessed is the Resurrection of Christ.

Easter Eggs Dyed with Brown Onion Skins

There’s No Place Like Home

I work from home.  I am an artist, a jewelry designer, and I teach people how to manage their health and wellness naturally with essential oils.  But I am also caregiver to my almost 85-year-old mom who lives with us.  When I quit my desk job last May to follow my passions, I thought I’d have a lot more free time, or not even free time, but quiet time for sure.  This is hardly the truth as our home is small, and my mom is hard of hearing, and the TV is on all day tuned in to some type of shock- or reality-TV show.

I have this romantic idea in my head.  This is how it plays out:  Maybe once a week or so, I take some time out for myself to go to a local coffeehouse with my iPad, enjoy a cup of something and an hour of quiet time to sit and blog, or catch up on my emails, or whatever and just enjoy the quiet.  Just some downtime.   I think of this often, but there are always appointments, or meals to plan, or stuff that needs getting done.

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But today of all days, I decided to make it happen.  I just finished a busy weekend of painting a utility box in Glendale that took two-and-a-half days in the cold and sun.  And as I painted the sealant on the box this morning,  I decided to treat myself in celebration.  I packed it all up and headed to Montrose Village with the plan that if the Starbucks was busy, there was always Coffee Bean across the street.  I got there and both looked really busy which doesn’t really bother me, but there was absolutely no parking.  So I decided to keep driving and head up to La Crescenta.  Surely, the Starbucks there would be peaceful.

I pulled into the parking lot, found parking without a problem.  I went in and scoped it out.  A padded bench seat with 4 round tables – each a table for two.  Three tables were open with just the one by the window occupied by two young women.  I ordered an iced coffee, gave my name, and sat down at the table furthest from the women with two tables open between us.  I was finally doing it!  I thought of Elmer Fudd always teased by Bugs Bunny… “A westful weetweet and no dweaded wabbit!”  IPad out, I decided to blog about the weekend with the utility box project, all the while listening for my name.  I mean how long does an iced coffee take, right?

Five minutes go by and I decide to go see if maybe I missed my name.  There was a group of five kids in their young twenties talking loudly.  My drink wasn’t there.  I went back to my table.  And right after I sat down, they came over and occupied the two empty tables next to me.  They were nice enough, but loud.  Talking about drunk St. Patrick’s day weekends, hangovers, calling out sick, etc.  I couldn’t concentrate.  And where was my iced coffeee anyways?

Another 10 minutes went by so I got up to check again.  Still nothing.  I sat down again this time deciding to check email and social media.  One of the kids decided they should move to the table outside!  Yay! Thank you.  I went up for my drink and the barista mumbled something to me about a cart.  I’m new to this, remember.  turns out my drink was sitting not at the pick up window, but at the cart.  No one called my name.  Okay, doesn’t matter.  I have my drink….and relative quiet.  And it’s gonna be good.  Back to the blog.

The door opens.  In walks a mom and two kids (around 5 and 9).  The mom is holding a pizza box.  The little girl sits at the table next to me with the pizza.  Big Brother is begging mom for $16 to buy some type of toy while is eyes are glued to an electronic device.   Mom gets in line.  I’m not paying attention now and trying to work.  Next thing I hear something fall on the floor and the little girl is crying, “It’s hot! It’s hot!”  Apparently she tried to get a piece of pizza without mom there, the cheese was hot, she dropped it on the bench and the floor.  Mom came back, so did brother. Mom was cleaning up the child, the bench, the pizza.  Her son was still nagging her for the $16.  I decided to move outside.

It was quieter there….except for two women gossiping about their “friends” and how terrible they looked at some function they had gone to.  Reviews about hair and makeup.  I had enough.  It wasn’t meant to be.  I packed it up.

I got home, said hi to mom.  The TV was on.  The show “My 600-pound-life” was blaring loud.  But peace at last!  I could sit down, collect my thoughts, and write.  There’s no place like home.

I Paint With Armenian Coffee

If you’ve ever experienced drinking a small cup of Armenian coffee, you know that it packs a punch.  We pulverize/powder our coffee beans.  Even the “espresso” or “Turkish coffee” setting on the Trader Joe’s grinder isn’t fine enough.   I have found that it creates a beautiful and rich pigment that I love painting with.   What sparked my interest in painting with coffee happened years ago with a diagnosis of breast cancer and recovery.  But that story will happen when I show you my coffee landscapes.  But for today, I’m happy that I finished up four of my 12” x 12” paintings.  This is a final photo as I’m packing and storing them til my show in January.

8F08A156-00F5-460E-9E04-5ABBF3870A36I have the two coffee cup paintings…one says “Soorj” written in Armenian, and the other “coffee”.  The peace dove with pomegranate and the Armenian infinity symbol within a pomegranate.   I have this thing for pomegranates, which are not only the symbol for my Armenian culture but is also symbolic of abundance, prosperity, creativity and fertility.    To see some of my metal silver and copper pomegranate jewelry, please visit my shop at www.pomegranateandeye.etsy.com

Seven Months Later…

Unbelieveable how quickly time flies.  Here we are rounding the corner into the new year.  It’s December and two weeks until Christmas.  I last posted about taking this giant leap of faith in myself.  I said goodbye to my job of 14 years and took the jump. Both feet.  No looking back.  No more steady income.  Poof!  Finito!  And since that initial jump, seven months have flown by.

It’s been a productive seven months.  I started painting a series of paintings using Armenian coffee and recreating the landscapes that are the “fortune” in the cup.  These abstracts are 1’ x  3’ (exploded view 5x the cup dimension) and still hold the reading of the drinker of the coffee.  And then this lead to the painting other subject matter with coffee and doing smaller canvases.

I have wanted to create my own line of blank greeting cards, and that has also come to light in these past seven months.  I’m in love with pomegranates and so I created a 6 card pomegranate assortment from my illustrations…kind of like a “pom for all seasons” pack.

The most exciting thing that’s happened is that I’m going to have a show!  Roslin Gallery in Glendale is going to show my works in January, so I’m kind of in the home stretch as I’m dealing with both Christmas coming and producing work for my show.    Having a gallery interested in showing my works has been super validating and everyone needs a little validating, right?  I’ll have a collection of my works at the show:  coffee abstracts as well as subject paintings; pen and ink and colored pencil illustrations as well as my silver and copper jewelry.

Here are some of my pieces that have happened over these past seven months:

 

And finally, one of the reasons I haven’t posted in so long is that I was hoping to develop my website but it just hasn’t happened yet.  I was under construction for a long time and one evening, whilst at a Holiday event I was discussing my site (or lack of one) with a friend and he said, “Well, maybe you don’t need that right now.  Maybe all you need is your blog and to have it point to your etsy shop.”  And it was like an ah-ha moment.  He was so right.  Why complicate things.  And so here I am.

I don’t have my artwork on my site because I am getting ready for the show in January.  However, I am available for custom work.  My greeting cards are on my site along with my handmade jewelry.  Please pay me a visit:  www.pomegranateandeye.etsy.com

It feels good to be back here.  I hope to keep it regular.

 

Taking the Giant Leap of Faith

18723602_1850488221878310_8856108507200487424_nI have been thinking about it for months….years even.  After 14 years at my desk job in the corporate world of insurance, I had reached a point where I just wasn’t fulfilled.  Each day was met with “what am I doing here?” and “how did I get here?”  But the truth is, I was in it because of the money.  A steady paycheck.  Regular vacations to nowhere too extravagant, but getaways nonetheless.

I’m an artist.  I do illustrations and I make metal clay and eye bead  jewelry.  I love helping people, and when I learned about essential oils and how we can empower people to support their wellness, I was sold.  I started an oils business along with my already established jewelry business.  I have been juggling a full-time job, taking care of our mom who lives with us, teaching oils classes, and then, in the late hours of the day, doing what is most fulfilling to me – creating either jewelry or art.  Even though I’d have to start my day at 4:30 to be at the bus stop by 5:45 a.m., those late night hours of creativity were the only things that kept me going.  Without creating, I am not happy.  Pair the lack of sleep with the hour-plus bus commute and work-drama/personalities and it just added fuel to my fire.  I needed out.

It seemed that each time I showed my artwork or my jewelry, I would get supportive comments that helped fuel me.  I knew I was good…but am I good enough?  Good enough to make a living with my art and oils?  That little voice inside me would say YES! but the louder voice of self-doubt and limiting beliefs would reign me in.  “What are you thinking?”  “How will you pay the mortgage?”  “What about steady income.”

Still, as the time went by this dream kept surfacing.  “Quit your Day Job,” it said.  So I started by talking about it.  I discussed it with my big brother, who is my voice of reason, yet a limitless dreamer as well.  “Do it!” he said.  “Your health is not worth the stress if you’re not happy.”  We are both cancer survivors and working on decreasing the toxic loads of our lives.  I had his vote.

I discussed it with my husband.  “I’m not happy, ” I said.  He was worried.  We discussed the obvious:  the mortgage, what if we lose the house?  It’s scary when you think about it, right?  But when it came down to it, he didn’t close the door on my dream.  For that I am grateful.  And so it was back in November that I made the decision.  In six-month’s time, I would be done.

I discussed my exit with other artists, life coaches, and family.  I created a “Countdown tounnamed Freedom” in my bullet journal “x”ing out the days as they went by.  My best friend was in on my plan.  Each day she’d call or text asking me, “how many more days?”  The months went by.  I prayed for doors to open to me that would allow me to succeed at supporting myself with my art.  The prayers continued.  And then, shortly before Easter I decided  it was time to give notice for an end-of-May departure.

It wasn’t as hard as I had imagined.  Simply said, I had been at this job for 14 years.  A job that was never meant to become a career.  I was grateful for all it afforded us, but it was time to move on.

It seems that since I made the announcement of my intention, suddenly jobs have been popping up.  I was commissioned to make bracelets for a charity fundraiser and posted them online.  A friend asked if I could make bracelets for her organization.  I received a commission to draw a portrait.  I found a builder – a massage therapist –  who wants to build an essential oils business under me.  It’s like all of a sudden, the stars have all aligned.

On Friday, May 26, I left my job in the world of insurance.  I left the security of steady paycheck.  I have taken this giant leap of faith in myself/my ability and a creative, fulfilling future.  I have realized in this last month that I had been praying for these doors to open for me, but that the doors had always been open.  It was me who was afraid to step through to the other side.  I’ll be honest.  It’s still scary, but in an exciting way.   And prayer is nothing without faith and a belief that those prayers are being heard… so I have decided to put the limiting beliefs aside, work hard while enjoying the ride, and JUMP in with both feet!

Welcome to the  beginning of a my journey!

Follow me on Facebook and Instagram as “Essentially Anush”.

 

 

Soft Blue Eggs using Purple Cabbage as Dye

Although onion skins are the traditional Armenian easter egg dye, I do like discovering natural dyes of other colors.   I’ve achieved this pretty mottled soft blue using purple cabbage.  The way to wrap to get the leaf patterns is in my Onion Skin blog post.

It’s pretty simple but takes time.

Items Needed:

  • Eggs
  • 1 large head of purple cabbage
  • White vinegar

How to:  Chop up your cabbage and place it in a large pot.  The mottled arawppearance of the eggs is achieved because of crowding in the pot.  So if you want a more solid egg color, use a very large pot with less eggs.  I personally like the mottled look.

waterAdd your eggs into the pot and cover with water.

Turn flame to medium heat and bring your eggs to a boil.  You’re going to boil the eggs and cabbage for a long while…about a half an hour, so turn the flame to low.  Make sure all your eggs are submerged.

Once the flame is low, then add about 1/2 cup of white vinegar.  You’ll see the color change.  At this point, the color of the water will be so pretty, you’ll be all excited to see your eggs….and then you’ll put up an egg with a spoon and be super disappointed because the color will not have absorbed yet.  It’s okay.  It takes time.

water2In the photo on the left, you’ll see that the cabbage leaves have lost almost all their color, which has now gone into the water.  After simmering for about a half an hour, just turn off the heat and let it sit there.  You can cover your pot and just leave it.  Go about your day.  The water will cool…the eggs will be fine.  Give it several hours.  The longer you leave it, the deeper the blue.

I put my eggs on the stove at night.  By 11 p.m. I turned off the flame and left them overnight.  And I had blue eggs in the morning.

That’s all there is to it.  One thing to note:  because there’s vinegar in the dye and the eggs are submerged for a long time, this softens the surface a bit.  Once you pull your eggs out of the water, give them a rinse in cool water and then just let them air dry, either on paper towels or kind of suspended horizontally over your egg carton.  If you try to dry them, you’ll rub off some of the dye.  (live and learn).

Have fun…and Happy Easter.

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Armenian Easter Eggs – dying eggs naturally using onion skins

yellowMy daughter made a funny observation:  “All year long you buy brown eggs, and then at Easter, you buy white eggs and dye them brown.”  I never thought of it that way, but it’s true.  My family enjoys eating eggs, and once a year at Eastertime, I LOVE dying them naturally.

In my tradition, you save your onion skins throughout the period lent.  Our orthodox religion asks that we observe Lenten tradition by following a vegan diet.  The use of onions to flavor and complement meals is escalated, so by the end of the 40 day period, you have quite a few onion skins.  But if you would like to try this and don’t have a stockpile of skins, you can ask your local produce person if they will save the skins for you when they clean onions…or just go buy an onion and fill the rest of your bag with skins.

I used red and brown onion skins.  Although the result is still a warm brown color, the red skins produce a more coffee brown color, and the brown onions a deep brick red/brown.  Both are beautiful.

I’ve experimented with other natural dyes , but the beautiful and rich color of the onion skins is my favorite.   Unlike dying colorful eggs, you do not dye these eggs one by one but in a batch.  The eggs are prepped and then boiled in the skins….so once your prep work is done, but rest is just cooking and sitting time.

Here’s what you’ll need:  IMG_20170411_195317_260

Red or Brown onion skins (or both), enough to fill a soup pot loosely

Eggs (2-3 dozen…it’s up to you)

Leaves for imprints – I used parsley (flat and curly leaf), and mint.  Rose leave look really beautiful too.  I’ve also used small daisies.

Nylon stockings!  – I buy cheap nylons from the dollar store in my area.  If you have old clean stocking you want to cut up, that works too.  and of course, water and large soup pot or two.

The way my grandmother would dye the eggs is to just boil the eggs in the onion skins and beautiful solid reddish brown eggs would emerge.  She would then use a q-tip and some cleanser and rub off the dye in cross patterns over the surface of the egg.  I always remember my grandmother at this time of year because I would go help her dye the eggs.  She took a lot of pride in her beautiful creations as do I.  Through the years though, I’leafve started imprinting my eggs with leaf patterns, experimenting with different leaves and flowers, but I always make some of my grandma’s traditional eggs with cross patterns as well.

Let’s start:  Cut the nylon stockings into about 4″ tubes.  This can be done by cutting off the toe of the stocking and then just cutting up toward the waist.  Place a sprig of parsley or leaf of your choice on your egg and stretch the nylon over the leaf pressing it tight against the egg.  Pull it toward the back of the egg, stretch so it’s as tight as possible, and then knot the back.  Do this with all your eggs.  If you’d like to leave some just plain, then don’t wrap them.

redPlace the eggs in your soup pot with the onion skins.  You don’t want to stack your eggs on top of each other.  That will create a more mottled appearance when the dye doesn’t get into contact with the egg.  So allow room in your pot, but you can have them close to one another.  Add water to cover the eggs.  Boil over medium heat turning the flame down once it starts to boil.  wrapped

 

You want to make sure that the eggs are submerged in the water, so use a wooden spoon from time to time to gently push them under and to cover more onion skins over the top of them.  Boil your eggs for 15-20 minutes and then turn off the heat and allow them to sit in the water for about an hour.  You can check on the color and see how deep they’ve gotten before removing them.  If it’s the color of your choice, they’re read.  Note:  If you’re using brown onions, they can range from pale yellow (very little time in water) to orange to reddish brown.  Just make sure your eggs have cooked before removing your eggs from the water.

soak2

This is how they look once the onion skins have released their color.  In this picture on the left, the egg is a light orangey tan color.

Traditionally, we go for the darker version of color, so let my eggs soak for about an hour.  Once done, gently take your eggs out of the water and pull off the nylon and leaf and gently rinse with cool water.  Place on a paper towel to dry.  One dry, I use a little coconut oil (or you can use olive oil) on a paper towel and just polish them to give a little shine.

They’re now readybrown to enjoy!  The eggs on the left were dyed using the red onion skins, flat leaf parsley and mint leaves.

The eggs below were died with brown onion skins using flat and curly leave parsley.

yellow

Have fun with it!  Please let me know if you try this recipe and how it turned out for you.  : )

Happy Easter everyone!  Kristos Haryav ee Merelotz!  Ortnyal eh Harootiunuh Kristosi!

 

Managing Arthritis Pain…Naturally? I’m giving it a try!

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my father’s mortar and pestle

I have never liked taking medication.  We didn’t grow up that way.  My father was a very wise man, a pharmacist.  And just as you’ve heard that the shoemaker’s children have no shoes, so it was with us.  The pharmacist’s children had no meds.  We’d try.  We’d call dad up at the pharmacy and let him know we weren’t feeling well.  Be it cramps, a cough, congestion, an ear ache.  Instead he’d come home and take us down to the herb shop in Chinatown.  We were lucky to live on the edge of downtown Los Angeles, so Chinatown was about 20 minutes away.  Once there, my dad would ask for a few ounces of this root, or that flower or leaf and off we go back home.  Once there he would do one of three things:

  1. He would boil the herbs/flowers and have us breathe and steam
  2. After boiling, he would have us drink the “tea”
  3. He would put the plants in his mortar and pestle, grind them up with an ointment or oil and apply it to our bodies topically.

I always was in awe of how he knew which plant was good for what.  But he knew.  Sadly, my father died young.  And though I don’t possess the knowledge that he had, I do share his desire to learn.

Two years ago, I was introduced to essential oils to support my health and wellness.  When I learned that DoTerra’s essential oils can be used aromatically, topically, and even internally, I felt that I had been giving this “gift” from my father.   I plunged into building a business with these beautiful gifts from the earth and I have to say it’s been so rewarding because I get to help people and empower them with knowledge on how to help themselves.

Okay, so as I was saying, I don’t like taking medication.  But my arthritis in my knees has gotten so bad.   My doctor says knee replacement is somewhere in the future.  And along with the xrays and the diagnosis came a prescription for NSAIDs one every 12 hours.  And for several months I didn’t take them regularly…just here and there “as needed” until the need was pretty great.  So I started taking them as prescribed.  And guess what?  They really work well!   The pain was manageable with the meds.  All was good.  Until…

Last week I had my annual endoscopy.  I knew something was up because my stomach has not been feeling well.  The endoscopy revealed multiple stomach ulcers, biopsies were taken, and I was advised to immediately discontinue use of my medication.  Just three days after, once my system had gotten rid of the meds, my knees were complaining…seriously.  And not good timing, I might add, because I just started training to walk the 39.3 mile Avon walk for breast cancer (my 12th year).

So now what?  How am I going to manage this pain without meds?  Well, I’m going the natural route.  And I wanted to post this today because I want to log the journey because I know there are others that are suffering with this pain as well.  I’m planning on reporting back in on this post and updating it with my progress (or lack thereof).

There are four things I’m going to try to help me manage my arthritis pain:

  1.  High dose curcumin (turmeric) supplements as anti-inflammatory.  Thankfully, my GI doctor is open to natural solutions.  He took me off the Naprosyn and told me to start taking 3000 – 5000 mg of curcumin daily.  I found a good quality Curcumin supplement.  Two pills are 1800 mgs.  I’m taking a dose in the morning and evening.  3600 mg to start.
  2. He also told me to take Frankincense, which is a natural anti-inflammatory.  I already take DoTerra’s Lifelong Vitality supplements daily along with their DDR Prime soft gels.  Both have frankincense as well as other essential oils/vitamins/minerals which my doc is happy with.
  3. Use essential oils topically to help me manage pain and inflammation.  I am using a carrier oil and then layering Marjoram (antiflammatory and good for circulation); White Fir (cartilage inflammation, muscle soreness and fatigue); and Peppermint to bring heat and blood flow to the area.  white fir marjoram peppermint
  4. Lose weight.  This last one is the most difficult of all and something that I have been working on for a long time.

I have started with all four at this time.  I took a 3 mile training walk on Saturday morning and I have to say that yesterday my knees were very painful and sore.  Today, I am much better, and I’m not sure if it’s just time, or the curcumin/frankincese and oils….but I’m hoping that tomorrow will be even better.

I am following Susan Peirce Thompson’s Bright Line Eating plan because it’s structured and unlike most diets, there are plant-based vegan options.  I am committing my food the night before, staying on plan…and acknowledging that I am human and not perfect….so I’m not going  to give up if the unexpected comes up.

So there you have it.   I wanted to put it out there so I can commit to myself and to you as well.  I’m hoping to check in weekly and report my progress.  Wish me luck!

 

P.S.  If you are interested in learning more about essential oils and how to use them to support your health and wellness, please email me at anush@esssentiallyanush.com

 

 

 

 

Lentil & White Bean Salad

lentil saladIn my Armenian Orthodox tradition, the period of lent is one of simplification of life and introspection.  Our church fathers set the lenten guidelines to observe a vegan diet for the 40 days of lent.  There are so many Armenian vegan recipes because of this.  Growing up with this tradition and observing the peace and respect toward life was stepping stone to becoming a vegan.

This is a simple salad that is easy to throw together.  It’s filling and nourishing.  And really, who doesn’t love a good bean salad?

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 box Steamed Lentils (I buy these from Trader Joe’s.  They are in a box, vacuum sealed in the produce section (refrigerated).  You can certainly cook your own lentils.  I always have these on hand.  17.6 oz
  • 1 can white canellini beans (or white kidney, or northern beans), rinsed and drained
  • 1 pint box of grape tomatoes, cut in quarters – or – 3 tomatoes chopped
  • A handful of shredded carrots (I realized I put these in everything now.  I like the color and crunch – but they’re optional)
  • 1 bunch parsley, choppped
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced
  • Olive oil
  • Juice from 2 fresh lemons
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • A splash of rice vinegar (optional)
  • a little cayenne pepper (optional — but it adds a nice heat)

Before opening the pouch of lentils, kind of massage them loose so it doesn’t all come out in a big ol’ brick.  This will save them from being mashed when you try to free the clump in your bowl.  Just loosen, cut open the pouch and put in the bowl.  You’ll still have clumps…but just gently de-clump with the back of a wooden spoon.

Add all your ingredients.  Except the white beans.  Mix together gently, and adjust your seasonings.  I found that adding a splash of rice vinegar gave it the right acid…but the lemon on it’s own is fine too.  At the end, add your white beans.  I add them last because they can be fragile and too much mixing around breaks them up sometimes.

Serving suggestion:  This bean salad looks nice and tastes great served on a bed of arugula.