Thursday, August 21, 2014



       1. to live                 2. to be full of life

Bandon, Oregon 2014

The "joie de vivre" is something that I want to embody in this blog and in my life. No self pressure, no deadlines, no reservations. Vivre Collective is meant to document those forgotten pleasures that make life joyful. My name is Jilla. I live in Minneapolis with my partner in life, Charlie. We enjoy cooking (he enjoys eating), traveling and taking in those moments of beauty in our world. Join me for this journey of growth and revelation!

MN Staghorn Sumac Lemonade and Kombucha!

Charlie has been thirsty for sumac tea ever since we discovered the possibility of a Minnesota grown lemonade. Great sweet and sour summer drink!

Here is how to identify:
Sumac is a beautiful plant. But one must be aware of that poisonous sumac does exist, once you learn how to easily differentiate between the edible and poisonous sumac you’re in for a summer-time treat!
Staghorn Sumac, which is not toxic to humans and is the best species for sumac lemonade, grows as a bush/tree like structure. The leafy stems are furry. Unlike poison sumac, the leaves have ridged edges. But, the easiest way to identify is to look for the staghorn’s unique flower/fruiting structure:

This structure is what you’ll use to make your tea! And handy for you, it isn’t found on any sumac except for the Staghorn, making identification a breeze
The fruits themselves, known as drupes, grow in clusters and are red, brown or magenta in color. Fruit is ready for picking mid-late summer. I have learned that the best way to know if the fruit is ready is by doing a quick taste with your tongue. Ripeness can vary between plants in the same area, or even between flowers of the same plant, so taste test each flower you pick! The fruit should taste a little sour and sweet comparable to pomegranate—not dull and chalky.
Poison Sumac can be identified by the smooth edges of the leaves. These leaves a generally shiny and stems are hairless. The fruit structure are very distinct, instead of staghorn structures the fruits grow in a grape-like structure.

Sumac Tea Kombucha
Items you’ll need

-Sumac Drupes (8 to 10 drupes)
-2 gallons of water Water
-Sugar (to taste)
-1 gallon of Kombucha tea*
-Bottles with sealed caps
Take the sumac drupes and soak in water. Let soak until the water turns a deep red color. Strain out the big drupes. Filter out the liquid with cheesecloth to gather all the extra drupes . Once strained, sweeten to your taste with sugar. Now you have Staghorn lemonade which could be enjoyed as is!

To ferment combine with kombucha tea after the tea has completed its first fermentation (see link below). Bottle the mixture and allow for a second fermentation process–this takes about 2 days. After the two days, move the unopened bottles to the frig. This slows fermentation to prevent the intensity of gas pressure from further building inside the bottles. Your sumac tea is now ready to enjoy!

*To make your own basic kombucha tea, please review here!

** WARNING: Always consult an expert or identification book written by an expert when eating wild plants. Do not eat any wild edible plant unless you are 

100% certain of its identification

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Homemade Bug Spray that works!

After our trip to the Superior Hiking Trail, Charlie and I decided to take a stab at making our own bug spray! And guess what?! IT WORKS!

Homemade Bug Spray

-Castor oil with peppermint oil in it ( you could even replace this with castor soap with peppermint)
- couple drops of Cedarwood essential oil (which the Native Americans supposedly used),
- couple drops of  Geranium oil
- couple drops of Citronella oil
- couple drops of  Eucalyptus oil
-water to fill the spray bottle up

Mix in a small portable spray bottle and get yourself outside! :)

We are not medically trained doctors so please always consult a physician first before using any new essential oils. Oils can have different effect on people especially if you are pregnant, breast-feed or under the age of 5 years old.

Friday, July 25, 2014

The Spirituality of Food

 Food is one of the things that can connect us to our ancestors—we can’t know them personally, but through these grains we can taste the same food, and in the history there is power that you can feel when you taste it. 
 Amado Ramirez of Itanoni restaurant in Oaxaca

A vacation that is only the costs a tank of gas: Northshore, MN Superior Hiking Trail near Finland, MN

This past weekend we trail-blazed to  Northshore, Minnesota for some bouldering, camping and hiking on the National Superior Hiking Trail! Here are some lovely photos to inspire yall to get outdoors. 


Wolf Lake



This is a hidden gem! It is located in the heart of Duluth, Minnesota. 

Bouldering near Section 13 on the Superior Hiking Trail

Spots to boulder along the Northshore:

We had three major stops along our hiking route.

#1: Duluth, MN has great inner city bouldering options. To find out all the spots, consult this book Peter's Guide to Duluth Bouldering (found at TrailFitters, in the Fitgers complex, Duluth). We couldn't do the classic problems at the site because it had just rained so we had to get creative and make up problems

#2: Follow the trail from Finland to Wolf Ridge Center. Along this section of the Superior Hiking trail, we found some great spots. 

#3: Highway off Section #13. Old rocks have been blow'in up for the highway--leaving perfect little sections to test out your skills.

What is your favorite spot to boulder in MN?

Trip total cost: under $95 for 2 people for 4 days

Price breakdown:
Hotel: $0--camping outdoors
Transportation: $75 for 150 miles up to the Northshore
Food: under $20, to restock on meals to make over the fire

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

MN Stinging Nettle: How to dry and make into tea

It is one of the most common "weeds" around, the Stinging Nettle, and we are going to drink it!

Here's a little fun fact about this plant. Stinging nettle has been used throughout history used as medicine and even as a food source for its fiber properties. Said to be brewed for kidney ailments by the Romans!

How to identify: It has a ribbed and hollow stem. Can grow between 2-4 feet tall. Leaves are rough and have coarse teeth. Leaves are pointed at the tip. The leaves each connected to a petiole and are opposite of each other. Use a cloth to touch the plant since it is known to cause an itch. If you dont--this could happen: . Dont wont- you can eat this just fine and not have that reaction in your throat.

example of pointed leaf and teeth

Making tea:
1. After the plant is harvested, dry it in a warm, dry place. We used a coat hanger with pins to dry it in our basement. This process should only take a couple days

2. Boil water
3. Brew for 2-3 minutes
4. Enjoy!
Store leftovers in an airtight  container and enjoy throughout the winter!

** WARNING: Always consult an expert or identification book written by an expert when eating wild plants. Do not eat any wild edible plant unless you are 

100% certain of its identification

Friday, July 18, 2014

New logo

Hi everyone!

We received our new logo today! Thanks to my talented comic artist friend, Maxeem Konrardy! Please check more of his amazing work here: