Katja Swift

Thoughts on Decolonizing, or, How to be a Good Houseguest

A while back, a person who listens to our podcast wrote me a letter asking, more or less, how do we get through a day…

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emergent responder

Emergent Responder

The skills you need to be confident and prepared to care for yourself, your family, and your community in an emergency or post-disaster situation. 68…

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herbal preparations

How to Pay for Herb School: Herbal Support Boxes!

Excited about the prospect of going to Herb School, but not sure how to pay for it? Why not crowd source your tuition? It’s not…

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Herbal Sugar Cookies

Holiday Treats 2018

Here are some of the delicious gluten-free, dairy-free, soy/corn/other things-free treats I made for the holidays this year: Herbed Sugar Cookies Start with the recipe…

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walking on a log

Thinking Holistically Can Change The World

This is an email I just wrote to our Advanced Students. I read several different things this morning that came together in my mind as…

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Red Clover: Herb of the Week

Red clover (Trifolium pratense) is this week’s herb of the week! Infused With Nutrients This red clover is growing right outside the Field’s Corner T…

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Reishi: Herb of the Week

Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum) is actually a mushroom and not a plant – but hey, the way we define “herb”*, it definitely counts. Acclimate to Altitude…

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Yerba Mate: Herb of the Week

This week’s #herboftheweek is yerba mate (Ilex paraguariensis)! A caffeine-bearing plant from South America, this is a particular friend for us “not-a-morning-person” people. Mindful Stimulation…

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Marshmallow: Herb of the Week

In honor of Clara, the awesome editor of our new book, this week marshmallow (Althaea officinalis) is our herb of the week! She was pregnant…

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Violet: Herb of the Week

Violet (Viola odorata) is one of the first plants up in the spring, and we’re always so happy to see it each year! Flower Art…

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White Pine: Herb of the Week

White pine is one of my very favorite herbal teas – it’s so delicious! “Like drinking a Christmas tree” might not sound super appealing, but…

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Solomon’s Seal: Herb of the Week

Next week is the Boston Marathon, and we’re prepping for a class on runner’s health at a local sports club – and that means, solomon’s…

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Centaury: Herb of the Week

Centaury (Centaurium erythraea) was Ryn’s very first “herb of the month” when he began studying herbal medicine, and now it’s our herb of the week!…

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Plantain: Herb of the Week

The common plantain plants – Plantago major & P. rugelii & P. lanceolata – are medicinially identical, so we’ll cover all of them together in…

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Meadowsweet: Herb of the Week

This week’s featured herb is meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria)! A Boon for Braces Meadowsweet has been one of my best friends on this whole orthodontics experience.…

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Basil: Herb of the Week

Garden basil (Ocimum basilicum) may seem like just an ingredient in pesto, but wait! There’s more to this week’s herb! Mood Lifter One of my…

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Calamus: Herb of the Week

Calamus (Acorus calamus) is this week’s herb of the week! There is so much amazing about calamus, but the reason I picked it for this…

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Linden: Herb of the Week

Also known as basswood, lime flower, and tilleul, linden – Tilia spp. – is our herb of the week this time. A Hug In A…

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Sage: Herb of the Week

Sage is the other plant in our logo – lavender for me, and sage for ryn. Sage was one of his very first herb-of-the-month plants…

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Lavender: Herb of the Week

Lavender is one of the plants in our logo, and has been since I began working as an herbalist. When I first started practicing, I…

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St. John’s Wort: Herb of the Week

The St. John’s Wort card in my oracle deck says: blooming at the height of summer, St. John’s Wort is like solar batteries, ready aid…

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fennel and beetle

Fennel: Herb of the Week

Winter is the Fennel time of year! Fennel is a warming herb that improves digestion and liver function, which is why you see it in…

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inula

Elecampane: Herb of the Week

If you listened to last Friday’s podcast, you know that Ryn was sick last week with what we affectionately called the “Lung Crud Plague”. If…

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ashwagandha seedling

Ashwagandha: Herb of the Week

Ashwagandha is one of my very favorite herbs: it supports the adrenals and other endocrine organs, improving the function of those organs and helping the…

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Best Herbal Books and Mason Jar Products

If you’re an herbalist, there are two things you probably love: Mason Jars and Herbal Books! So on our YouTube channel, we’re reviewing our favorite…

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hawthorn berries

Hawthorn: Herb of the Week

Hawthorn is often categorized as an “exhilarant” in old herbal literature – strongly uplifting to the spirit. Along with Rose, Vanilla, Vetiver, and others, Hawthorn…

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pecan pie bars

Pretty Paleo Pecan Pie Bars

OMG, these are delicious! This all started because I saw a recipe for Paleo Pecan Bars, and I was excited! Delicious, I thought! But there…

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prunella in iceland

Self-Heal: Herb of the Week

Self Heal, Prunella vulgaris, is one of those plants that seems able to do everything. Writing in the 16th century, Gerard said that no herb…

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garden variety thyme

Herbs for Colds and Flu

Winter’s coming here in the Northeast, and along with that comes the standard “seasons changing” illnesses: the flu, colds, ear infections, sore throats, and lung…

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ground ivy Charles River

Ground Ivy: Herb of the Week

Ground Ivy, Glechoma hederacea, is a small, unassuming little plant. You might know it as “Creeping Charlie” or “Gill-Over-The-Ground”, or (if you’re from England) as…

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icelandic angelica

Angelica: Herb of the Week

I didn’t really understand Angelica until I went to Iceland, but since then, I can’t get enough of it! Angelica LOVES Iceland, and it grows…

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burdock seeds

Dying Back

as herbalists, we are closely tied to the plants, and to the cycles of the year. it’s appropriate to take time to contemplate those cycles…

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Rose: Herb of the Week

A lot of people think of Roses when they think of Valentine’s Day, but there is so much more about Rose to love! Let’s start…

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Nettle in Flower

Nettle: Herb of the Week

Nettle is one of the most-loved herbs – and there’s so much to love! For starters, Nettle is one of the most super of all…

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mullein flowers

Mullein: Herb of the Week

Mullein is a fuzzy plant that starts out small, but in its second year can grow over six feet tall! Mullein is a good friend…

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arctic thyme

Thyme: Herb of the Week

Thyme remains one of my very favorite herbs for colds, the flu, and other respiratory gunk. Thyme has a very high volatile oil content –…

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ginger slices

Ginger: Herb of the Week

There’s so much to say about Ginger, so I’ll start with something unexpected: believe it or not, Ginger is one of my favorite herbs to…

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Yarrow: Herb of the Week

Yarrow, Achillea millefolium, is a warrior’s plant. Named for Achilles, the mythological Greek hero of the Trojan War who was nearly invulnerable in battle. And…

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chamomile bunch

Chamomile: Herb of the Week

I once had a client who said, “and don’t you go telling me I need something stupid like Chamomile! this is a serious situation!” And…

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Goldenrod: Herb of the Week

Goldenrod, Solidago spp., is a super important herb in our apothecary. It’s delicious and so helpful in so many ways!

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Elder: Herb of the Week

Elder, Sambucus canadensis, nigra, is one of our favorite herbs. You may have heard that elderberry syrup can help with the flu. You may have…

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Purple Loosestrife: Herb of the Week

Purple loosestrife, Lythrum salicaria, is an under-appreciated herb, and it’s been villianized with the tag “invasive”. That label in general is really problematic for me,…

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Calendula: Herb of the Week

Calendula is the herbal (and botanical) name for pot marigold: Calendula officinalis. It’s not only good at keeping pests off your tomato plants, it has…

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Boston for West Virginia

Last year Ryn went to Coal River Valley, West Virginia as part of an Herbal Medics team doing free clinic and community education work for…

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I Can’t Believe I’m Getting Braces

I recently told a friend that I’m getting braces and I thought she’d make some comment about how braces are for kids and I’m too…

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Herbs for Passover: Horseradish, Parsley, and Chicory!

Check out the whole Herbal Holidays video playlist here!

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Ostara and Nettles: An Herby Holiday Video!

An herbal tribute to the Spring Equinox! There are more free videos for you at our YouTube channel!

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Not Everything Is Going To Be Perfect.

For those of us who are actively experimenting and taking action to improve our health, who are carefully noticing that what we eat or how…

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My Favorite Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Substitutes

Even if you avoid gluten and dairy products, sometimes you still want a bagel and cream cheese. Obviously, gluten free/dairy free substitute treats are still…

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Fun Free Videos!

This year, we’ve been making short herbal videos to celebrate every holiday we can think of! We pick one or two herbs for each one…

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plant escaping

Trauma and Story

As an herbalist in these times, the reality is that we deal with trauma, and the effects of trauma on people’s lives. Herbs play a…

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A Tea for Change

Ok, you guys. I’ve been eating WAY too much sugar lately, and it’s time to reign that in. So this morning I woke up, made…

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De-stigmatizing Self-Harm

If the first thing we think when we hear the words self-harm is something like cutting, or drug or alcohol abuse, especially if those are…

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Harm Reduction for Everyone

Usually, when you hear the words “harm reduction”, you’re thinking about illegal drugs or perhaps alcohol abuse. Needle exchange is a good example: if someone…

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notCoffee

notCoffee is notBad!

As promised in the post about moving your body in spite of body issues, here is my recipe for notCoffee. No, it’s not coffee. But…

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Movement for People who Hate to Move

I LOVE Katy Bowman. Like, a lot. Like, I wish I could buy a house next-door to her so we could be besties. Instead, we…

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Ginger Chamomile Cookies

Ginger Chamomile is my favorite after dinner or bedtime tea. Today I decided to try it as a cookie!

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N’Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Yesterday, we were really craving oatmeal raisin cookies, but I typically avoid oats, even gluten free oats. So we made them with no oats at…

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Paleo Apple Fritters

OMG. This morning I was getting some groceries, and there were apple fritters for some reason in the produce section. Probably to tempt people who…

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Raspberry Cream Cheese Danish. Really.

Gluten free? Dairy free? Paleo? Yup! These Raspberry Cream Cheese Danishes are exactly what you need. Because I wanted to stay as low-carb as possible,…

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First Aid Kits For Everyone!

Why should you carry a first aid kit? Think about the places you go every day – the grocery store, a restaurant, the subway, a…

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You’re a Trainwreck.

Hi. My name is Katja. I’m a total Trainwreck. Hi, Katja…

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Farm Food February: The Wrap Up

Well, the February Farm Food project is over. Our meat still comes from Chestnut Farms, like it does every month, and we still receive our…

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Varicose Veins: The Updated Post

The original varicose veins post is by far the most popular thing on this blog. Which makes me really sad – I would so much…

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Don’t Just Stand There!

Standing desks are all the rage, and we love ours. Recently I’ve seen several Kickstarter campaigns for standing desk toys – things to stand on…

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Farm Food Update #2

Well, it’s the middle of the month, and this project has been quite a project so far! With all the snow, things have gone not…

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Coconut Treats

I was just writing to a client about ways to increase coconut oil in her diet, and I thought I should share with the class.…

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February Food Project Update: Week One

The first week of our Farm Food February project has been very successful, and very enlightening! Also, challenging.

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Farm Food February

Each year, our students do projects related to food, lifestyle, sleep, and more. All of our students do these projects, though they vary slightly from…

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Motivation to Succeed

Whether you’re an herbalist or a parent (or a teacher, or anyone who works to educate and motivate people!), motivating the people you work with…

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Phoenix Cookies

Tonight, we’re teaching our Food Allergies for the Holidays class – we teach it every year, but every year the recipe list gets longer as…

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Tapeworm? No problem!

Our dog… You know, some people love fine wines. Some people appreciate fancy truffle oil. Our dog, she loves goose poop. I don’t know what…

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Tea of the Month: April

You can tell a lot about a person from what’s in their teacup. Here’s a peek into ours!

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Muffin Madness!

Love muffins? Tired of eggs and bacon for breakfast? Committed to sticking to your paleo* diet? Then you, my friend, have come to the right…

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Paleo Pumpkin Muffins!

It’s almost Thanksgiving and that means, among other things, PUMPKIN! Pie isn’t the only thing you can do with pumpkin – in fact, I like…

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The Beauty of Imperfection and a Tea for Gracelessness

I teach, a lot. Life as a teacher essentially means being on stage, most of the time. My students and my clients have images of…

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Enough.

We are a culture of More. We like words like SuperSize, Maximize, and Fullest Potential. We like, whether we admit it or not, concepts like…

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On the Merits of Plain Speech

Words are pretty amazing things. We can use them to make people feel good about themselves, or awful. We can use them to bring people…

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Green Cleaning

When I was a kid, we had “Mr. Yuk” stickers. Mr. Yuk was a sickly neon-green and black circle with a very distinctive frowny yuck…

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On the Merits of Fluctuation

This week, one of my pharmacy students stayed after class to ask for help. She wanted me to explain about the way insulin is supposed…

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Classroom Experiment: Kadha (Fried Dumplings)

Today my Pharmacy students and I tried out a Thanksgiving experiment. Last week two students referenced a traditional Iraqi/Iranian treat, which is made with dates…

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Chai for a Busy Day

Chai is delicious. But it’s even better when your Chai will get you through your most stressed-out overwhelmed craziness day, and this recipe will do…

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Tips for Staying Sane in a Stressful Time

The holiday season is fast-approaching (if you’re a parent of a trick-or-treater, it’s just nearly here!), and that means stress levels on the rise. But…

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Family Reunion Cookies

OMG, you have to make these cookies. I’m really not kidding! We just got back from a week-long family reunion with Ryn’s family, which was…

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Raising Healthy Children, Part 6

When I was a kid, my mom sent us out to play. We went out for hours, and didn’t come back till someone was hungry.…

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Raising Healthy Children, Part 5

Herbal remedies are often much better choices for illness than over-the-counter or prescription pharmaceuticals. It’s true that antibiotics are miracle drugs, but miracles wear out…

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Raising Healthy Children, Part 4

Sleep is absolutely critical to good health. While we sleep, we repair damaged tissue (including things we can’t see!), we grow, we replenish hormone supplies…

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Raising Healthy Children, Part 3

Our last post was on cultivating your child’s inner foodie: here is one of the BEST ways I know to get them to eat their…

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Raising Healthy Children, Part 2

Food is the absolute number one most important factor in a person’s health. In my own professional opinion, that is! I have seen clients recover…

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Raising Healthy Children, Part 1

When we become parents, we suddenly realize, kids don’t come with instruction manuals! But let’s think about that in reverse: when you’re a kid, life…

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Linden and Tulsi: Two Great Herbs that Go Great Together!

Looking for a fail-proof cup of tea? Look no further! Linden and Tulsi can turn that frown upside down.

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Offal: It’s Not Awful!

Maybe the thought of eating liver, kidney, and heart makes you say “gag me with a spoon!” – but it doesn’t have to be like…

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Interview with a Paleo Kid

My 9-year-old daughter Amber is gluten-free, casein-free, soy-free, and most of the time, paleo. She is autoimmune to gluten and casein, the rest we avoid…

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maitake mushroom growing on an oak stump

Bone Broth Demystified

Mineral deficiency is rampant in our society – depleted soils mean that our fruits and vegetables don’t have the same mineral content that they once…

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Cod with Greens and Kumquats

Fish is a challenge for me. Where I grew up in Texas, fish choices were pretty much Long John Silvers or, for extra fancy, Red…

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Licorice Oil for Eczema

When my daughter was born, she had very severe eczema. Eczema is almost always related to food allergies, and hers were gluten and dairy. Giving…

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Solomon’s Seal: Beyond Sprained Ankles

Solomon’s Seal is a favorite herb around here. We love it for any kind of sporty injury: sprained ankles, pulled muscles, you name it. The…

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Holiday Trimmings – Allergen Free!

Your family has great traditions for the holidays, and you don’t have to miss out! Here are some popular family recipes the way we make…

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Egg Nog

Think living dairy-free means you have to give up Egg Nog? Think again! We whipped up a batch of this great Nog at a recent…

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