Tag Archives: class

Sesame Orange Cookies – a TCM-inspired recipe

As part of our herbal medicine education, we are asked to do a class project each term and the most common one chosen is to cook or bake something using some of the herbs we have learned. Here’s a simple cookie recipe using food-grade herbs.

Sesame Orange Cookies


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup baking sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tbsp aged satsuma peel, chopped fine*
  • 3/4 cup black sesame seeds, ground*
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cardamon

*Organic is best. I used Hunza organic black sesame seeds and dried my own organic satsuma peels in the oven on low temperature.

Directions: In medium/small bowl, melt butter then stir in sugar. In large bowl, combine dry ingredients except flour. Add butter and sugar mixture to large bowl. Add egg and vanilla extract. Now, half cup at a time, slowly stir in flour. Once all ingredients are blended, hand roll small balls of dough and place on parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. Bake at 375 for 8 min or until bottom is lightly browned.

Adjustments: In future I would add additional Chen Pi at the end when rolling cookie balls to ensure every cookie has some peel. Maybe add in a tsp fresh tangerine juice or zest as well.


Herbs included:

Black Sesame Seeds (Pinyin: Hei Zhi Ma) – Tonify Yin (sweet, neutral)

  • Tonifies Liver and Kidneys, nourishes yin and blood, lubricates intestines
  • Lightly slows aging signs (graying hair, wrinkles, dry skin), aids constipation

Aged Tangerine Peel (Pinyin: Chen Pi) – Regulate Qi (spicy, bitter, warm, aromatic)

  • Promotes the flow of qi, dries damp and transforms phlegm, helps prevent stagnation
  • Aids digestion

Cardamon (Pinyin: Sha Ren) – Aromatic to Transform Damp (spicy, warm, aromatic)

  • Promotes movement of qi, transforms dampness, and strengthens SP
  • Aids digestion
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After class on Monday a girl who has more performance experience than I do returned a comment of mine with “Thanks! I was jealous of your pirouettes. Sometimes you were just floating.”


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Turns and the Basic Spot

Watching old dance videos with my family there’s a pattern we notice. First, Shawna’s always in her corner (back, stage left). And rarely on camera. But on the rare occasion the camera does catch me, it’s usually followed by me doing a turn. And as though the camera man also couldn’t bear the sight of my off-kilter flailing, there’s a quick pan to some other area of the stage. Aw, Shawna just can’t turn. But that’s ok.

Doing the contemporary style I’ve become most comfortable and happy in now, the turns are different. Gooey, so staying on your leg doesn’t necessarily apply. You’re leaning, using the momentum and falling out of it, not even able to spot because you’re watching your arm or contracting and focusing on the floor. Thing is, in order to consider myself a good dancer I should be able to do something basic like, say, use my core and stay on my leg. Because when pirouettes do make an appearance, that’s kind of key.

Today in class, we did the dreaded cross-out-in-cross-out-down-turn. Those regular across the floors of my childhood. But something was different today. Today Jenni gave me a simple note – she noticed I’m waiting too long to turn my head and therefore, while I’m spotting, I’m killing the momentum and off from where my body is going as we carve around the inside of that imaginary PVC pipe. Loosening my head atop my neck, I tried again. And suddenly, it was so much easier.

There’s still work I need to do, but it’s amazing how much a simple note can cause a giant leap forward. I know one of the main issues I’m having and can feel the difference when it’s addressed. Imagine if that note got to me in high school?

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Beginning Spinning

I am slowly becoming a fiber monster. It’s a little crazy to be adding to my toolkit when I already have so many knitting projects I want to get into (and am juggling several already on needles). Where will all this time come from? But I decided it would be fun to take a class to learn how to use a drop spindle, especially since this particular one also promised to teach about different kinds of fiber and yarn, which just makes you a better and more informed knitter.

One of the gems I found when searching for resources on drop spinning following the Ravelry Meet-up in May was this warning preceding instructions on how to use a drop spindle:

WARNING!!! Spinning reduces stress and promotes well being. It can also be habit forming and lead to obsessive behaviors such as, but not restricted to: caressing and hoarding all fibers; dying them with food colors and things from your garden or whatever you have laying about; spinning the fluffy bits of the weeds in your fields, the cotton wad in your vitamin bottles and even the lint from your dryer! Proceed with extreme caution!

With the transformation into a full-blown fiber monster in mind, I signed up for Knit One One‘s class “Beginning Spinning: On a drop spindle” taught by Brooke Sinnes of Sincere Sheep. Seriously, though, while it was a little expensive, it promised to be four hours of class spread over two Saturdays. Sounded like a good amount of time to learn, practice, and be able to ask more questions and correct technique.

Are you curious how yarn is made and want to create your own? You will learn the basics of drop spindling, and how to ply yarn. You will also learn how to finish your spun yarn and to identify the many characteristics of yarn. (A new vocabulary will emerge too!)

Fiber from Sincere Sheep Beginning Spinning Class

Fiber from Beginning Spinning Class

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