Ninja Chicken Teas & Crafts (+Giveaway!!!)
I first met Maria Muscarella in 1991. She was a senior and I was a junior at Owen High School in Black Mountain, NC (technically, Owen might be in Swannanoa, come to think of it…I digress…). Maria was tight buddies with some of my friends, including Eric Schweitzer, a close pal and confidant during those turbulent days of mid teenager-hood (and currently, a magician!). Even then, I knew she was an old soul, possessed of a joyful heart, a quick wit, a kind spirit, and a keen intellect.
Several years ago, I signed up for a free class on creating a winter herbal apothecary that was being offered for free by the local technical college, AB-Tech (GREAT programs are regularly offered in their Continuing Education department!). I walked into the classroom to find that Maria was the instructor! That auspicious encounter rekindled our friendship after years out of touch with one another. I came to learn that since we last hung out, Maria had become an R.N., working as a labor & delivery nurse at Mission, Asheville’s big area hospital. She’d also studied herbalism and had an established practice as an herbalist. On top of that, she’d birthed two babies at home, and was now homeschooling them. Righteous lady, right? Right!
While she’s no longer practicing medicine with the hospital, she is always, always passionate about herbs, as well as crafting (there is quite literally nothing in the craft, food, and homesteading arena that she can’t do). Maria recently took the leap and started an Etsy store selling her handcrafted herbal blends and other homemade items. Ninja Chickens is offering a tea club as part of its wares, featuring tea blends (many of them based around the seasons) handcrafted by Maria herself. In her own words, here’s a description of what Ninja Chickens is all about:
I’m a craft-happy Nurse-Herbalist who has always loved DIY. Before my second child was born, I crafted tea blends and herbal products for Doctor’s offices, herbal businesses, apothecaries, and individuals for over 15 years. This allowed me to do what I loved and provided a fabulous outlet for selling my wares. After Leif’s birth, I decided to close my business and homeschool my children. Unfortunately, this forced me to make my friends and family the guinea pigs for all my new creations. Once my daughter became interested in serious crafting, we decided to open Ninja Chickens. There will always be something new and different at our store. Herbal teas and remedies, knitting and felting, and making beautiful things helps us keep our hands busy and our days happy.
Maria has graciously offered to giveaway a 3-month tea club subscription to one small measure reader. Hooray for you! What’s a tea club subscription? Read on….
A hot cup on a cold winter’s night;
A gentle blend to soothe away your worries;
A calming sip to relax your mind before sleep;
A deep breath of rejuvenation;
A cup of tea is full of so many emotions. Is there any wonder that the ceremony of having tea goes back over 1300 years? There is something very special about the simple act of sipping herbs infused in hot water.
At the start of each month I will send you 2 ounces of my newest blend of herbal teas. Often the blends are coordinated with the seasons. Sometimes I have the urge to concoct something new and delicious. Either way, you will be enveloped in luscious aromas and flavors when you sip your monthly blend.
Your first month’s tea will ship when you place your order. It will include a large, reusable muslin tea bag to use when steeping your herbs as well as information on making herbal teas, infusions, and decoctions. Each month you will also get to learn a bit about the culinary, medicinal, and traditional uses of some of the herbs that are in your blend.
The teas in the above pictures are examples of what you may receive each month. They are all organic and gluten-free. Whenever I visit Maria, she’s always got bottles and jars on her kitchen counter, with something decanting, or fermenting, or otherwise infusing. Her bathroom shelves are laden with hundreds of homemade tinctures. Point being, she really knows her stuff. Whenever Huxley comes down with a health concern, it’s to her I first turn, then to his doctor, if necessary. Simply put, she’s amazing. May we all be so lucky to have wise women like Maria in our lives.
So, TEA! Let’s do this! To enter the giveaway, simply leave a comment here telling your favorite tea to sip and savor, or a tea memory. I’m a huge fan of my “Fertili-Tea” (the recipe will be in Quench, my beverage book due next year). It’s a mixture of red clover, red raspeberry leaf, and nettles. I drank a quart of it every day for a year, before trying to become pregnant, as the herbs in it are all known for balancing the hormones. Considering that I got pregnant on the second try, and that I’d never been pregnant before, it quickly became my go-to green concoction for all things hormone related.
Now it’s your turn. Leave your comment below. I’ll run the giveaway for one week, concluding next Wednesday, October 30th, midnight EST. The giveaway is open to US residents only (sorry international buddies!). In your comment, please be sure to leave a means of contacting you in the event that you’re the randomly selected winner. You can do this by either leaving a link back to your own blog or website, or by leaving your email in the comments.
Even if you don’t win, do check out Ninja Chickens. Maria’s got loads of goodness brewing there that you don’t want to miss!