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!

20170403_212434 (1)
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.

Tabouli-esque Salad with Quinoa and Chick Peas

tabouli

I love traditional tabouli salad made with bulghur and with the traditional ingredients, but as a vegan, I try to incorporate plant-based proteins in my diet, and quinoa is a good one for that.   I’m also following Bright Line eating and grains are only allowed in the morning BUT quinoa (albeit a grain) is counted as a protein which means I can make this tabouli salad for lunch or dinner and still stay on track!  YAY!  So it’s Tabouli-esque… or tabouli inspired.  I added a few other non-traditional ingredients too, and the result was great.

 

 

 

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 c. quinoa
  • 1 large bunch parsley, finely chopped (no stems)
  • 3 roma tomatoes, diced
  • 3 large green onions, thinly sliced
  • a handful of shredded carrots (for color and crunch)
  • and a 1/2 can of chick peas, drained
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • Juice of one large lemon
  • salt and pepper
  • Romaine lettuce leaves (optional)

In a saucepan, add 2/3 c quinoa with 1 1/3 c water.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, cover with a lid, and lower the flame to low.  Allow the water to absorb into the quinoa.  When the water is almost all absorbed, turn off the flame, keep the lid on and allow the quinoa to finish cooking by steam.

Prep your veggies.  In a large bowl combine the finely chopped parsley, diced tomatoes, shredded carrots, green onions.

Using a strainer, add water to your cooked quinoa and pour it all into a metal strainer, rinsing with cold water (gently) to cool your quinoa for immediate use.  Add the quinoa to the veggies.  Add in the drained and rinsed chick peas. Mix it up.  Add the olive oil and the juice of one large lemon, salt and pepper to taste.  You line your serving bowl with romaine lettuce leaves (the middle leaves (not too large, not too small) and use the leaves to scoop and eat the tabouli salad.  That’s all there is to it.

I’d love to hear how you liked this recipe so feel free to leave me comments.  Enjoy!