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HOMEMADE LIVING: KEEPING CHICKENS


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Ninja Chicken Teas & Crafts (+Giveaway!!!)

nesting2tea prepgiveaway2
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!

63 Responses to Ninja Chicken Teas & Crafts (+Giveaway!!!)

  • Laura says:

    My favorite tea has got to be red raspberry leaf tea. I have had it during all my 3 pregnancies and afterwards as well because it’s a great hormone stabilizer, helps with milk production, and even helps with labor contractions!! Thanks for the opportunity!

  • Ashley says:

    I vary between teas, earl grey is a standard favorite but lately I’ve been having some darker assam blends.

  • This sounds amazing. I am a great lover of tea and find the days I go without it to be much less pleasant than the days I stick to my four cups a day! :)

  • Nicole says:

    What a lovely idea! I also loved red raspberry tea while I was pregnant and drank a lot of Yogi tea’s mother to be tea. My husband got addicted to it too and we joked that it was also called “daddy-to-be” tea.

  • Trish says:

    I am currently enjoying “fortifying mint” tea made locally. My daughter (who is 13) loves tea of all kinds and would be thrilled to receive tea in the mail!!

  • S. Alicia says:

    Passing around the mate gourd and thermos of hot water always reminds me of my travels and crisp Argentine mountain air!

  • a/k/a Nadine says:

    I would love to win this, as I’m a huge tea drinker. I drink a cup or two of English breakfast every morning and enjoy greens or herbals later in the day. I’m a big fan of throat comfort or throat coat (yummy licorice root) when I have a sore throat. I must say I am intrigued by this “Fertili-Tea” you mentioned…

  • Toyia Hatten says:

    I absolutely love chamomile tea with fresh ginger!

  • Sarah M says:

    My favorite tea is anything PEACHY!
    Sarah M

  • Stephanie says:

    Yipee! Her teas look so great. Anywho, currently I am alternating between a few on a pretty regular basis. I love ginger tea probably the most when im under the weather or have tummy issues (just adding fresh grated ginger to hot water… I know I know, not what is really thought to be tea but whatevs) I also will often drink a green bancha tea that is blended with toasted sesame (has wonderful caramel flavors). Then I also drink a tea thats a blend of rose, chamomile, and lavender – very comforting. Lastly, I drink a mate tea with steamed almond milk (latte style)…. actually thats not the last, but i love tea and cannot just pick few so I will stop there 😀 sdwelley@gmail.com

  • Michelle says:

    My favorite is my old stand by, chamomile! I love many teas and enjoy making my own blends from herbs but always go back to at least one glass of chamomile a day.

  • Rachael says:

    I love a good spicy chai!

  • Katie says:

    I love teas. Drinking one with fenugreek now as a nursing tea. Katiebearkate (at) hotmail (dot) com

  • Ouida Lampert says:

    I am learning to like teas. Being from the south, Iced Tea was our “house wine” and I love that. But it’s simply black tea. I want to expand my tastebuds a bit.

  • Melissa says:

    i’m a classic earl grey with milk and sugar kind of girl, but i love spicy herbal teas as well, as well as this delicious almond tea that i used to buy, but can no longer find.

  • Megan says:

    I have long been a tea lover and my husband is a fairly recent, but enthusiastic, convert. We love yerba mate, earl grey, rooibus, and guayusa teas, to name a few.

  • steph says:

    I’m a big believer in the healing powers of tea blends, but I must share that I have beautiful memories of drinking tea with my late aunt. I am so grateful for the time we had together…

  • tracy says:

    Oh how I need this right now! We are tea enthusiasts and I’m super pumped my six year old is getting into tea too! It makes for a sweet lil’ nighttime ritual – right now we are both digging a honey/cinnamon chamomile that reminds me of Autumn naps. Oh I’d love to win to share some new teas with my sweetness!

  • Jen says:

    What a wonderful giveaway! My favorite teas right now are an elderflower/green tea blend I bought in England and a homemade tulsi and rose petal herbal tea I made myself.

  • Kat says:

    Tea is wonderful. Cures many ails and always reminds me of my grandma and mom. This ‘Fertili-tea’ sounds interesting! Thanks for introducing us to Ninja Chicken-what a great name!

  • Lauren says:

    I used to live and work in Edinburgh, Scotland, and my office-mates made the BEST morning tea. It was so thick and dark you could practically stand a spoon up in it. I had a pint glass from the pub across the alley behind the office that I kept in the kitchen so I could drink a PINT of tea every morning. It was such a happy (and productive!) time. I’ve never been able to come close to recreating that morning pint (Turkish Gold? PG Tips? Shoe leather? Nothing!) so now I sip on herbals and stare wistfully out the window.

  • I really love all teas, but my favorite is a good chai.

  • Tina A says:

    My tea of choice varies with the time of day and/or the season. As we head into the cooler days of autumn, I find myself craving heavily spiced chai or rooibos with a bit of milk and honey!

  • Courtney Perry says:

    We love mint tea in our house. So soothing. But happy to try new concoctions too.

  • Alicia Sisk-Morris says:

    My favorite tea memory ws drinking earl grey on a cild rainy day in Hollabd when I was 16. Been hooked ever since

  • Harper Leich says:

    Maria! I hope I get to try your tea blends- I have no doubt they’ll be delicious and magical.
    My favorite tea blend these days is a mix of holy basil, passion flower, skullcap, and lemon balm made from herbs I grew in my garden!
    harperleich.wordpress.com

  • Kelsie says:

    My evening is not complete without my old reliable, tried and true, peppermint tea.

  • bren t says:

    A good spicy chai with a splash of almond or rice milk.

  • Melissa Deakins says:

    I love the feel and comfort from a hot cup of tea in my hands! My favorites would have to be chai of course, black tea and blueberry pomegranate! Thank you for the giveaway Ninja Chicken! That’s an awesome name!

  • karina says:

    Thank you for the opportunity! I have been drinking lots of homegrown chamomile, lemon verbena and holy basil infusions in the evening. The morning always starts with a few cups of hearty black or green tea.

  • ellis says:

    Tea is a daily ritual for me and I would love to include some of Maria’s greatness in those treasured moments. I love trying new teas. My tea drawer is ridiculous! It has to be re-stuffed every time I close it again. Thank you for this giveaway chance!

    fullheartsfarm.wordpress.com

  • KJ says:

    Lovely! Lately we have been enjoying elderflower tea with honey in the evenings. Delicious!

  • Margot C says:

    I like a mixture of peppermint, oat straw and lemon balm with a bit of decoction of mallow root added,

  • Jenice says:

    A friend of mine from India used to make me a chai tea he brought home with him that he flavored with cardamom. We since moved away from each other and I have tried multiple others, but none have come close to the one he used to make me.

  • Veronica says:

    I love sipping on a mint blend (spearmint and peppermint) after eating. It is refreshing and helps me relax while digesting.
    I also love mixing green tea with a bit of mint and a bit of hibiscus and drinking it iced on a hot day while reading a good book in the shade : )
    I can be reached at sqztmptd@yahoo.com

  • Patty says:

    My favorite teas are English breakfast and white/peach tea.

  • Amy P. says:

    Right now my favorite is an Irish breakfast with a splash of cream.

  • Erin says:

    My favorite tea is ‘Tension Tamer’ from CS. I randomly tried it once as it was complementary after a yoga class and have been hooked ever since. Such a nice flavor.

  • Cindy says:

    It’s funny – I grabbed a cup of tea – oolong – and sat down to check my favorite websites. And here it is, a tea giveaway!! I am a teacher, and after every incredibly busy day, I sit down with some tea – hot or cold, depending on the weather – to regroup for the rest of the day. I enjoy the slightly bitter teas, mostly what I can find in my favorite chinese grocery store.

  • KC says:

    My favorite tea this amazing concoction from Tevana called Lemon-Lime Campai. It’s basically lemongrass, orange, dried passion fruit and some other good citrus.

    My favorite tea memory was walking around chinatown in San Francisco and having this lady invite me in for a free tasting. I tasted like 15 teas and walked away with a lighter wallet but heavier purse!

  • Tara says:

    I drank plenty of red rasberry leaf mixed with nettle during my pregnancy, but as of late I’m enjoying mint tea. So soothing after a meal.

  • krystal says:

    I cycle through favorite teas, but lately it’s been a super spicy homemade chai with oat milk. When I need to focus, as with homework or a big project, I love sage and cinnamon.

  • Carrie Rock says:

    I love English Breakfast tea. I like to drink it with milk and honey, the way my Grandma taught me to drink tea. I also love a brisk Peppermint tea, or a lemon tea, oh I guess I just love tea!

  • Sarah Hargrove says:

    Love my teas on a cool fall day… although we may have snow tomorrow if we believe WNCW?

  • Meg says:

    Sounds wonderful! A cup of tea is always in my hands from October to March here in chilly Minnesota. Would be great fun to mix it up a little, and learn in the process!

  • Jamie says:

    Great giveaway! My favorite tea is peach blossom mixed with oolong or vanilla spice. Peppermint is always a winner too.

  • Ellen Smith says:

    Evening in Missoula is a combination of 18 herbs and the tea I turn to on a cold snowy day, curled up by the fire.

  • Maggie says:

    my favorite tea is anything with mint…Trader Joes has a Mint Melange that is delicious…thanks for the chance to win: mim.6363@yahoo.com

  • Jennet says:

    I love a good orange spice tea! Thanks for the chance to win.

  • christi says:

    I like a raspberry ice tea in the summer and a hot peppermint tea, thank you !

  • Casandra says:

    All I really drink is tea, so its difficult to select a favorite. I used to be more of a coffee drinker, but I find myself more relaxed after a hot cup of tea. I definitely drink a lot of Earl Grey. I also drink a lot of mint mixes. This is such a fun giveaway, thanks!

  • Jess says:

    These teas sound amazing, and as we get closer to winter the timing for this giveaway is perfect.

  • Lisa says:

    I love a strong apple cinnamon tea! Hmmm…fall weather perfect for the perfect fall tasting tea.

  • oukay says:

    Years ago my mother, sister and I went to England. While in Lincoln, we went to a shop selling tea and I bought some tea called Bay of Rainbows. It had lovely bits of flowers in it and tasted wonderful. Alas, after I used it up, I was never able to find it again.

  • Kim Stewart says:

    My new favorite tea is the Cinnamon tea I brought home from my mission trip to Nicaragua. It is amazing and since I’m almost out I consider I a real treat!

  • Megan M says:

    A friend gave me some ‘evening in missoula’….that is by far my favorite herbal tea!

  • Katia says:

    Love ginger tea! It’s the best!

  • Savannah says:

    My favorite tea right now is either a spicy cup of fresh ginger and osha honey, or my own “Flower Child” blend. I love all things tea!

  • Kem says:

    I love the idea of a tea-club subscription! I am a huge lover of all kinds of teas. In the morning, a cup of Earl Grey has been a recent staple, but my most favorite is chamomile tea made with fresh flowers from my garden. A completely different experience than using dried chamomile!

  • Jessica Burnham says:

    I have been in LOVE with a tea that someone got me as a gift…it’s called Youth Berry. It’s delicious and grapefruity! I pretty much like and kind but it’s black tea I prefer it cold and sweet! (I am from GA after all y’all!) 😉

  • Kathleen says:

    my husband has been teasing me that i must be writing a book called “3 million cups of tea” because when I sit down to work after the kiddos are in bed, i drink a seemingly bottomless cup of tea while writing. i think my Irish blood predisposed me to loving the ritual of tea, but since I’m working at night, I stick to herbal blends–right now it’s a jasmine tea.

  • Kacey says:

    When I was a child, I went to spend a few days with my eldest sister and I ended up getting really sick. To try to calm my stomach, my sister made me some fennel tea. The licorice-like flavor definitely calmed my stomach, and to this day it’s one of my all-time favorite teas.

  • Heidi says:

    I love drinking English Breakfast every morning. I have just recently yearned to be more adventurous in my tea drinking. If I win, I will have a good excuse to buy a new tea pot with a built in strainer.