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Coffee SubsGinger DrinkKahluaHot Weather SlurpeeOrange Drink
EggnogHerb TeaMochaMock Champagne PunchSwitchel

menuCoffee Substitutes

BOTH dandelion and chickory roots can be used as a coffee substitute. They can also be added to coffee in order to stretch the coffee over the week. They can be used alone or blended together.

Method 1

Can be used for both dandelion and chickory roots. Harvest the roots and wash them gently, then slice and allow to dry. A dehydrator is a good tool for this as roots take longer to dry than other plant parts. Place the dried roots on a cookie sheet in a 200°F oven and roast till a deep brown. Store in glass jars as-is and, when ready to use, grind into a fine powder using a coffee mill. For each cup of beverage, add a cup of boiling water to each tsp of the powder.

Method 2

For Dandelion root: You will need to improvise a steamer. I use a large mesh screen spatter shield that will fit over a skillet of boiling water. It is inexpensive, easily available and comes in handy in the kitchen. Harvest the roots and wash them, being careful not to bruise them. Get the water boiling in the skillet because the next step must be done quickly. Slice the roots and place immediately on the screen placed over the water. Continue to steam slices till the root stops seeping its milky substance. At that point remove the slices and allow to cool till they can be handled easily. Cut them into smaller pieces and dry them using a dehydrator or else air dry them, but it will take much longer. When dry, roast them lightly at 200°F to 225°F till a deep brown. They may be stored in this form and then powdered in a coffee mill when desired for usage. For optimum taste, grind fresh for each use. To use, add one level tsp per iron-close teabag (available from herbalware retailers) or use the same amount in a diffuser. Allow to steep for 5 min or till desired taste is reached.

Serves 1
1 egg
2 tsp sugar
dash of salt
½ tsp vanilla
2/3 cup cold milk

Beat egg, sugar and salt until evenly mixed. Slowly stir in vanilla and milk. Sprinkle with nutmeg.

menuHot Weather Slurpee
Serves 2Tools: Blender

NOTE: You can make your own variations using other fruits such as peaches, papaya or coconut milk if you desire a tropical taste. The essential ingredients are banana, strawberries and some juice.
½ cup orange juice (or other juice)
1 large banana
½ can peaches, drained
1 cup whole frozen strawberries
½ cup pineapple, drained

Combine ingredients in blender and blend till smooth.

menuGinger Drink
Serves 4
2 quarts water
2 cups brown sugar
12 slices ginger root (scrape skin off 1" section, wash and cut into 1/8" slices)

Place all ingredients into a saucepan and cook over a low flame for 40 minutes. Pour the liquid into warm cups and serve hot.

menuHerb Tea

Great culinary teas can be made using combinations of herbs, fruits and spices. These same combinations can be added to the real thing (tea- that is) for a tea lover's change of pace. Invest in a good tea infuser unless you plan to take up reading weed leaves in your spare time. Another excellent option is a product called "iron-close tea bags" available through the catalog resources (email me for names of suppliers).

Here are a few guidelines regarding herbal tea.
Tea made from:
Dried leaves = 1 tsp to 1 cup boiling hot water steeped 5 minutes
Dried flowers = 1 tsp to 1 cup boiling hot water steeped 7 to 8 minutes
Bark, roots or seeds = 1 tsp steeped 10 minutes

A simple way to develop your own blends is to read the labels of herbal teas on the supermarket shelves and then duplicate them in your kitchen. When an herb is used alone to make a tea, this is referred to as "simpling". The following herbs taste good on their own: Anise, Anise Hyssop, Cinnamon Basil, Lemon Basil, Beebalm, Chamomile, Red Clover, Costmary, Dill, Fennel, Ginger, Sweet Goldenrod, Labrador tea, Lemon balm, Lemon grass, Lemon verbena, Lime balm, Mints, Rosemary, Pineapple sage.

Dry fruit slices and berries on a dehydrator to add to your herb blends. Some combinations to experiment with are: lemon slices, lime balm, orangemint and allspice; orange slices, rose hips and cinnamon; dried cranberries, lemon or lime balm, mint and cinnamon; dried apple peels, dried cranberries, cinnamon and cloves; dried stawberries, lemon balm and spearmint; dried pineapple, dried orange and blue balsam tea mint; dried peaches, rose hips and allspice. Determine which will be the predominant flavor and then balance the remaining ingredients to suit your own taste. This is one drink you can definitely use to toast to your health.

Herb Tea Blends from Doris O'Connell

Doris has spent a lifetime helping people to get a handle on their finances and live within their incomes. Along the way she's practiced the frugality she teaches. These recipes are quite frankly the best I've come across in my years as an herbalist.

All ingredients are used in their dried form. Purchase hibiscus flowers at a health food store to insure edibility. All fruits, except strawberries and raspberries are cut or chopped into fine pieces. Herbs and spices are either crumbled, rubbed or as with cloves and allspice used whole, but a small amount of ground spice could be used instead of the whole form.

Preheat teapot with boiling water. Measure herb tea into the hot teapot and fill with boiling water and cover for 5 to 10 minutes. Serve by pouring through a fine tea strainer.

For iced tea allow to cool to lukewarm then strain into glass jars and refrigerate.

Measure "parts" by weight. Use a kitchen scale.

Thyme should be used only in tiny quantities. Violets can also be used. Dried cherries, dried apple and any dried citrus fruit or peel, but be careful of grapefruit peel which is very bitter. Dried pineapple, dried wild grapes (Fox grapes), dried kiwi, dried strawberries, dried gooseberries, dried currants, dried cranberries or almost any fruit except bananas will work fine. Also 2 parts stawberry leaves, dried and crumbled in 1 part strawberries and ¼ part lemon slices (chopped). Also 1 part dried peaches ground fine or chopped small, ½ part lemon and ½ part spearmint.

Lemon Refresher: 1 part dried sliced lemon (chopped), 2 parts dried mint. Add 1 to 2 whole allspice to each pot of tea. Drink hot or cold.

Orange Spice: 2 parts chopped dried orange slices (or dried orange peel), 1 part dried hibiscus flowers (or rose hips), 1 part lemon verbena (or lemon mint). Put 1 to 3 whole cloves in each pot depending on size. Drink hot or cold.

Cranberry Delight: 1 part dried cranberries (cut in half before drying), 1 part catnip, 1 part lemon mint (or orangemint), 1/3 part dried lemon slices (or lemon peel cut in small pieces). Best cold.

Hibiscus Cooler: 1 part dried hibiscus, ½ part orange peel finely cut or chopped, ½ part to 2 parts rose hips, ½ part dried chopped sliced lemon or dried lemon peel, 1 part spearmint. Drink hot or cold.

Apple and Spice: ½ part dried lemon slices chopped fine, 2 parts dried apple peels, 2 parts dried applemint or peppermint, 1 part chamomile. Break one cinnamon stick into tiny pieces with a hammer per quart of dry tea mix.

Mint Medley Tea: 1 part dried peppermint, 1 part dried spearmint, 1 part dried catnip or chocolate mint, ½ part dried chopped lemon slices. Drink hot or cold.

Anise Tea: 1 part anise seed or dried anise hyssop leaves, 1 part rose hips or 1 part dried lemon slices chopped fine or dried lemon peel cut very fine. Drink hot or cold.

Pineapple Tea: 1 part dried pineapple chopped very fine, 2 parts dried pineapple mint or spearmint, 1/8 to ¼ part of dried lemon peel or dried lemon slices chopped fine. A few pieces of rosemary in the pot is optional. Drink hot or cold.

Yield: 58 oz.
2 cups boiling water
3 cups sugar
2 oz instant coffee
2 cups brandy
2 tsp vanilla extract

  1. Dissolve coffee in boiling water, add sugar and stir till sugar is dissolved - set aside to cool.
  2. Add brandy to cool liquid (if still hot, alcohol will vaporize) and add vanilla extract.
  3. Pour into bottles; add label, give as gifts or drink.

Pans: Double boilerYield: Serves 4
NOTE: 4 tbsp cocoa can be substituted for chocolate squares. Goes good with cheesecake.
2 squares of unsweetened chocolate
½ cup sugar
1 tbsp cornstarch
2 cups black coffee
1 tbsp powdered cinnamon
1 piece of vanilla bean
¼ tsp salt
3 cups hot milk

  1. Melt chocolate with a little water in the top of the double boiler over low heat.
  2. In a cup, mix sugar and cornstarch together; add sugar-cornstarch and coffee to chocolate, stirring constantly till smooth; simmer for 5 minutes.
  3. Add cinnamon, vanilla bean and hot milk to chocolate mixture; cook 30 minutes.
  4. Whip to a froth; remove vanilla bean and serve.

menuOrange Drink
Serves 2Tools: Blender
1 cup orange juice
1 cup water
1 egg white (from a large egg)
¾ tsp vanilla extract
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 heaping cup of ice

Combine all ingredients in a blender set on high speed for 15 to 30 seconds.

menuMock Champagne Punch
2 bottles white grape juice
1 bottle club soda
2 bottles (56 oz. each) 7-Up

Mix ingredients and serve well chilled.


Before there was Gatorade, there was switchel. Before there was mechanization of farm machinery, there were men slaving under the hot summer sun in the fields. The women would haul gallons of switchel out to the fields for the men to restore lost body fluids and hopefully give the men a second wind. Although this recipe calls for apple cider vinegar, you can actually use any herbal flavored vinegar as well....basil vinegar, dill vinegar, etc. One version given in the book Bountiful Sweet Basil by Tanya Jackson, calls for opal basil vinegar and it is probably the most elegant of them all.
1 gallon cold water
1 cup apple cider vinegar
½ cup sugar
a pinch of ground ginger

Combine and chill.

©1998 & 2004 by Ernestina Parziale, CH