Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Starting Cuttings with Willow Water and Yummy Salad Dressing Recipes

I'm always looking for things to do to get me through the winter months... even if those things are projects that won't happen until springs warmer days arrive! I am planning on getting into the green house this week and starting some seeds... I can't even wait. Lavender, peppers, eggplant, leeks, onions along with a bunch of herbs to name a few.  The feel of the dirt in between my nails will be a welcome sensation... the smell of the greenhouse is like no other... that fresh, earthy aroma, blending with the scents of the herbs as they grow... the sun's warmth brings a healing to my outdoor loving spirit that the drab, cold winter weighs down. Only 48 more days till spring... and so my countdown continues.

The last couple days have  brought heavy rains and even thunder and lightening. All of the snow has melted away and now we are mucking through gobs of mud... not so pleasant to stroll out to the greenhouse in, but better than a freezing wind smacking me in the face any day!  So I thought since I am ready to head out to my cozy greenhouse I would give all my dragonfly readers an activity to do that can be started right now... even if you don't have a play house... oh I mean greenhouse!  Have any of you considered having an orchard or would like to plant some trees? Well you don't have to 'buy' them, you can start your own with a 'right in your own house' tip- Willow Water! Read on friends...

This was given to me by a market friend. I don't know the origin of it but I thought this is too good not to share.  I have adapted it and added information.  It will give you something to look forward to once the warmer days that are sure to arrive come.  Although this project can be started now.

Willow Water is terrific for starting new trees and bushes from cuttings. Willow contains a substance a lot like Salicylate (aspirin) that helps plants root quickly.  If you don't have access to willow, you can use an adult aspirin dissolved in a couple cups of warm water.
For a 5 gallon bucket though, that would be a lot of aspirin. It's a lot less expensive to use willow, and I am sure most of us have a neighbor, friend or family member who has one or knows someone who does. Another option is to take a drive out to the country and find a river or stream bank and find one growing in the wild.  Be sure if you are on private property you check with the owners. Any type of Willow will work.
If you live in part of the country where they don't grow, sorry but you can use general rooting hormones which can be purchased through most good seed catalogs or found on the internet.
Here's how:
Take 3 to 4- 3'-4'  willow branches, break or cut into 6"- 8" pieces and put into a 5 gallon bucket of water about 3/4 way full.
Wait 3-4 days and the water will be saturated with the Salicylate-type compound. 
When taking the cuttings of elderberries, blackberries, raspberries or soft wood fruit trees like apples, cherries, pear and peach, cut them straight across the bottom of the branch just below one of the nodules that look like eyes.
Soak in the willow water until they begin to show roots and keep in a warm location- typically takes several weeks for this to happen, so be patient.
Once you have at least 24 or so 6" to 12" roots formed, you can plant your 'root' stock! 
When you plant your root stock, dig a hole about 1' deep, fill 1/2 way will the willow water, place rooted end of branch into the hole and fill back in with the dirt. Be sure to pack dirt in well to ensure no air pockets- The air pockets will kill new rooting systems and the plant will die. Add a 6" to 8" deep mulch around your tree about 2' in diameter to help hold the moisture in. 
I recommend starting this in the spring so the newly planted tree can have ample time to get well rooted and established.  Be sure to keep the new tree watered- about 2 gallons, once a week if you've received no or very little rain. During the hot and drier summer months, twice a week will keep your young tree spry and happily growing.
If you are attending our winter farmers market, The Old Winery, then you have the opportunity to be getting fresh from the hoop house lettuces and some other leafy greens.  Here are some yummy homemade Salad Dressing Recipes for you to enjoy while you anxiously await your own this spring. Enjoy friends!

Mayonnaise is the base for many creamy dressings... have you ever wondered how to make it? It is so easy... here is a tried and true recipe!
Mayonnaise  Yields approx. 2 cups

Blend together is an blender:
3 egg yolks
keep blender running and slowly add:
1/2 cup Canola or Safflower Oil (you'll use 2 cups in all)
Then add:
1 Tbsp. lemon juice (you'll need 4 Tbsp. in all)
Repeat process of oil and juice until you have a total of 2 cups of the oil and 4 Tbsp. of the juice used.
Then blend in:
1 tsp. sea salt
Ranch Dressing
 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
 1 cup butter milk (regular milk will work)
 1 Tbsp. dried parsley
 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
 1/2 tsp. onion powder
 1/4 tsp. sea salt
 1/4 tsp pepper
 1/4 tsp. paprika

Blend all ingredients until well mixed. Let set in refrigerator at least one hour for flavors to blend through. Use on a garden salad, as a veggie dip, dip for oven baked potato wedges, or chicken wings.

Italian Dressing Herb Blend- use to make Regular or Creamy Italian dressings

1/4 cup white sugar (raw organic is best)
2 Tbsp. sea salt
2 Tbsp. Pink Himalayan salt
3 Tbsp.EACH: granulated garlic, onion powder, oregano, parsley, basil
2 Tbsp. EACH: marjoram and thyme
1 Tbsp. rosemary
In a food processor, blend all ingredients until completely mixed. Store in an airtight container.
Italian Creamy Dressing
2/3 cup Olive Oil
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. Italian Dressing Herb Blend
Blend until thoroughly mixed; add 1 Tbsp. milk or water until desired consistency is reached.  This will thicken when refrigerated. Add more liquid if too thick. Let set in refrigerator for at least an hour for seasons to blend and intensify.  Stir before serving.

Creamy Parmesan Dressing

1 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese- fresh is best!
1 tsp. course ground black pepper
1 tsp. garlic powder
Blend until thoroughly mixed. Let set in refrigerator for at least an hour for seasons and cheese to blend together.  Shake or stir before serving.

French Dressing

Put all ingredients in blender on medium until smooth:
1 cup Canola or Safflower Oil
1 cup ketchup
2/3 cup white vinegar
1/3 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
Refrigerate for at least an hour for flavors to blend. Stir before serving. 

Russian Dressing

Put all ingredients in blender until smooth:
3/4 cup ketchup
1/2 cup chopped onion
6 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 Tbsp. honey
2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
Once well blended add:
1 cup mayonnaise.
Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving to allow flavors to intensify.

'Pasta Salad' Dressing
1 cup olive oil
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1 tsp. dill weed
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/4 tsp. basil
1/4 tsp. tarragon
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
Blend together all ingredients and add to your boiled and cooled pasta noodles. Let refrigerate at least an hour to allow flavors to blend into noodles.
Tomato and Mozzarella Salad 1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 1/2 tsp. fresh basil, chopped or 1/2 tsp. dried
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. sea salt
4-5 ripe, firm Roma tomatoes
8 oz. mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
1 small red onion, slivered

Mix together oil, vinegar, basil, pepper and salt.
Arrange tomatoes and cheese, alternately, on a large serving plate.
Pour oil and vinegar dressing over tomatoes and cheese. Garnish with onions.
Serve extra dressing with salad.

Happy Day,



Tuesday, January 29, 2013

More from For Dragonflies And Me

Hello to all my For Dragonflies And Me friends. I would like to take this opportunity to invite you to my new Facebook page dedicated specifically to my Dragonfly friends. I will be posting extra things there every day like recipes, poems and quotes, photographs and othere things that I think you will like... I hope to meet you all over there soon...

Here is the direct link to follow

Enjoy Friends,

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

More on Herbs: Basil and Lavender, Yummy Pesto Recipes

Our Potager mid Spring.
I cannot describe how passionate I am about herbs. I created our Potager Garden not only because my daughter Taylor wanted a 'kitchen' garden, it was also because of the warm, cozy feeling you get when you say 'Potager'. I love meandering along the garden path, my leg brushes gently across the herbs overflowing out of their imaginary confines... and then the delicious scent wafting up to me... I can't help but pluck a few leaves off, rolling them between my fingers to get the oils moving and then breathing in that aroma... a bit of heaven on earth in the garden. I believe that is why God created the very first place to be a garden filled with herbs and all pleasant things to eat.  I think there is a gardener in everyone, even if that thrill hasn't reared itself yet... how can anyone not just 'feel' different in a garden?  Last summer Neil and I were in Columbus, Ohio and I was so blessed with being able to walk through the gardens of the Conservatory there... they even had a Farmer's Market going on! As I walked through their Potager I slowed down to take in all the beauty... the cherry tomatoes hanging abundantly, the Okra blooming, Rainbow Swiss Chard flourishing... the trellised dwarf apple trees, grape arbors abounding... it was a feast for the senses. Before that experience, I'd only dreamed of going to a Conservatory in photo's that I had seen from friends and in magazines... it exceeded my greatest expectations.

Basil's are planted in pots beside other
containered herbs- oregano, Sorel, Parsley.
Be sure to stop by my blog to see all the great photo's that go along with this posting at
Herbs... once I get started it's hard for me to stop. So I decided to grab some of my seed catalogs and spend some quality time with them. I started into one of my favorites, Richters ( . Although they are located in Canada, and shipping can be a bit on the high end, this is one of the best catalogs out there for herb varieties with very in depth descriptions. They sell not only seeds, but plugs and potted plants as well! I have always had much success with all of the above from them.

This is a photo of my 8 Grosso Lavenders
in the front perennial garden. They are
4 years old and are about 4' in diameter.
The honey bee's love them.  These were
purchased from Richters.
So lets start with Lavender- I included a couple Lavender recipe's in my previous post! I love lavender as much as I love Basil. Although I don't use lavender in the kitchen as much as basil, I do have it in just about all my perennial gardens. There are 30 varieties in Richters catalog alone! Like I said, incredible variety!
*=Cold Hardy zones ranging in between 4-9- be sure to read labels and descriptions for exact zone hardiness!
Richter's list the four main groups of Lavender which include:
English Group:
English*, Folgate*, Hidcote*, Lady (6-8) I've had some success in a very sheltered area with winter coverage of mulch, Lavance, Loddon, Melissa*, Munstead*, Pink Perfume*, Provence*, Jean Davis or A.K.A Rosea*, Sachet*, Twickel Purple*
Lavandin Group: Fred Boutin*, Gros Bleu, Grosso*, Provence*, Seal*, Super
French Group: French, Kew Red, Purple Ribbon, French Long, Fragant

Other Lavenders: Ferleaf, Spanish Eyes, Spanish, Goodwin Creek, Spike, Sweet

The main varieties that I have stuck with are Hidcote, Munstead, Provence and Grosso.
Grosso is what I grow in my cut flower garden. It is wonderful for bouquets with it's long sturdy stems and large violet flower heads... and oh, the aroma is heavenly!

Basil is my staple herb all year! I dry my own through the summer so I am never without during the winter months.  Again, Richters list 46 varieties! You will be hard pressed to find a better selection... and if you do I WANT TO KNOW ABOUT IT.... please & thank you!
Lavender is an Annual and really doesn't do well brought in during the winter months... it's an 'annual' for a reason.  Although you can certainly give her a head start in the house by seeding some right NOW! Yes you can- just don't over due it and plant an entire package of seeds... just take about 10 seeds and you should get at least 70% germination success. Once they sprout and grow about 3 inches tall with at least 4 'true' leaves, go ahead and transplant into larger, roomier pots.  Let the plant get at least 6"-8" tall before you start plucking off the leaves. Also, be sure to take leaves off just above a 'node', that is what will make your plant get nice and bushy. Once the warmer weather comes, I don't recommend transplanting again, just be sure to put them in large enough containers that you can keep them in through the warmer months.
Here is Richter's list seperated in the groups as they have them.  an * next to it means these are the varieties that I grow and have very good success with.
Sweet Group: Medinette, Napaletano, Sweet*, Nurar F1
Genovese Group: Genovese*, Compatto FT, Dolly, Edwina, Emily, Gecofure, Marian, Martina, Envigor, Superbo, Bush*, Greek Bush*, Purple Bush, Spicy Globe*, Globette, Green Globe, Pistou*, Marseilles
Purple Group: Ararat, Dark Opal*, Osmin, Rosie, Rubin*, Purple Delight, Purple Ruffles*, Red Genovese (this is a new one that I am planning on trying this year!)
Other Specialty Group: Indian, Anise*, Cinnamon*, African Blue, African Spice, Lemon*, Pesto Perpetuo*- my favorite, Lime*, Sacred- Green or Purple, Oriental Breeze, Spice, Thai*, Queenettr Thai, Siam Queen Thai*, West African
Others that are not listed here that I use: Lettuce* and Large Leaf*- these are my next favorite's after Pesto!

I love Pesto. Each summer when my herbs are in full swing I get my blender out and start making itin large batches to put in the freezer for the cold winter months.  I put it in 1 cup freezer containers so our family can enjoy all winter long.  But if you didn't do that, you too can enjoy by using dried herbs!
Here are a few really yummy alternative's to regular pesto, give'em a try!

Pecan Pesto I've given options for both fresh and dried herbs. This way you can enjoy this year round!

2 cup fresh basil or 1/2 cup dried
1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves or 2 Tbsp. dried
6 garlic cloves, peeled or 2 Tbsp. minced dried
1 cup Parmesan cheese
1 cup pecans
1 1/2 cup extra virgin Olive Oil
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor, blend thoroughly.  Oh so good!

Olive Pesto
This is super yummy on homemade pizza or to use when grilling fish!

3/4 cup Calmati Olives, pitted
1/2 cup fresh parsley or 2 Tbsp. dried
1 cup fresh Basil leaves or 1/4 cup dry
2 shallots, peeled
2 garlic cloves, peeled or 1 tsp. minced dry
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp. pepper

Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor, blend thoroughly.

Lemon Balm Pesto
This is superb on grilled or oven roasted fish, potatoes or used as the base for a salad dressing.

2 cup fresh lemon balm leaves or 1/2 cup dried
3 to 4 cloves fresh garlic, peeled or 1 Tbsp. minced dry
1/2 cup extra virgin Olive Oil

Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor, blend thoroughly.

Sun-Dried Tomato and Roasted Garlic Pesto Yields 1 cup
This is delicious with any type of pasta or used as an appetizer spread on toasted sourdough or flat bread.
1 whole head of garlic                                                      
3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 cup sun dried tomatoes, packed in olive oil
1/3 cup packed fresh flat leaf parsley or 1 Tbsp. dried
2 Tbsp. garlic chives or scallions, chopped
2 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese

Slice the top off the head of garlic and place the garlic in a small baking dish.  Rub the garlic with 2 tsp. of the olive oil. Bake the garlic in a preheated oven at 325 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes, or until soft. Let cool, then squeeze the garlic pulp from its papers skin into a bowl. In a blender or food processor, place the roasted garlic, sun dried tomatoes, parsley, and garlic chives or scallions; process until finely minced. Add the remaining oil and the cheese; process until well blended.
Transfer to a small bowl and cover. Refrigerated until ready to use.

Happy Day,



Monday, January 21, 2013

Early Herbs, Edible Flowers and Yummy Edible Flower Recipes!

 Only 59 more days till Spring.... ahh! Yes, that doesn't sound so long at all. The sun is shining midst the cold air bringing happiness to my day.  I long for that warm feeling that only a bright sunny day can give.  I am a firm believer that too many cloudy days start to make people feel just like the day looks.  The birds are chirping outside my window right now and it just feels good! The hoop house is growing beautifully despite the cold and snow that surrounds it outside.  The spinach's should be just about ready to cut along with the chard... oh yum! After I am done writing this that is my destination along with green house.  I am excited about getting all the seeds started for this summers bounty in the fields... oh the dirt... that beautiful dirt that I long to dig into!

Be sure to check out my Facebook designated just for 'For Dragonflies And Me' and like it.  Follow this link to see daily photo's and extra recipes through the week! See you there

Most of you who have been readers of Dragonflies know my love of Herbs... gardening offers so many options for those who love the dirt. You don't have to love veggie gardening to have exquisite flower gardens... you don't have to want a Potager Garden to experiment with the world of Herbs. Even within the herbs that are available you can choose between Medicinal or Culinary. Gardening is a world filled with options for anyone who wants to take the time to explore his or her passions.  Persoanly I don't mess too much with medicinal herbs, other than a few like Comfry and mints.  It's just not my thing. Don't get me wrong, I am very thankful for those that do, because I do utilize them in my life, but I prefer to grow the culinary ones... basil, oh the love of my life in the herb world and parsley, what would I do without her? There is also the world of house plants and cacti... I also don't get into that very much.  I love to be outside too much probably.  But now is the time that you too can start a small herb garden right in your own kitchen on a sunny window sill! I would recommend using a window box planter because this will allow the plants more room to grow and spread their roots out! Get out those beautiful seed catalogs, cozy up with a cup of tea or coffee and peruse them until you find a few new and exciting things you want to try.
Here are a few varieties of Basil and Parsley that I love and recommend!
~Basil- Most people grow Genovese because that is what is more commonly found in stores. But if you do a bit of research, the best basil out there is called Pesto (can be found at Territorial Seed Company). It is a large leaf basil that explodes with true basil flavor.  I also like Large leaf or sometimes referred to as Lettuce Leaf, this is a bit more common. The world of Basil is extrordinary! Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds ( has over 15 varieties... and there are more!
Try Lemon Basil as well... superb on fish and chicken dishes!
Purple Ruffles is both beautiful and delicious and looks stunning in a fresh garden or in a bouquet! When she blooms she is just magnificant.
~Parsley- Giant of Italy... that is all you need. She is a large leafed, tall prolific plant that will grow will into the cold winter months.
Most common is Italian Flat Leaf and Curly. Curly is not really for cooking, more for garnishment.

Right now I am feeling pretty anxious about getting into that beautiful dirt and handling those tiny little seeds... little miracles each in their own right! So I thought today I would tempt all of you with some new ideas to try.  What about Edible Flowers? These are scary to some... flowers belong in the flower beds or in a vase, not on a plate some would say. But flowers don't just add beauty to a dish, they really can be yummy. Here are some ideas along with a few varieties to get you going!
~Nasturtiums: Not all edible flowers allow the luxury of having both the leaves and blossoms to eat, but nasturtiums do!  They add a peppery flavor to any garden salad not to mention how beautiful they look sitting on the top! My personal favorite is Moonglow (in some catalogs referred to as Moonbeam or Moonlight). This buttery yellow vining nasturtium can become a mass of 7'-8' vines that fill in a space. I have already planted one in a large crate or barrel and elevated on a cute garden chair and let it literally just pour out. It is simply stunning (see photo).  Saving seeds from these plants is extremely easy as well. The beauty about this plant is that it continually blooms all summer long well into the first hard freeze. As the flowers die off, they quickly turn into a seed pod, drop off and can be collected quite easily after the frost. Keep the pea size seeds in a glass jar or in a plastic freezer container and sow liberally next season. They can be started in the green house or sown into the ground after the last frost date for your area.  I do it the cheater way... I just leave several seeds where I want them to grow back, scratch a bit of dirt over them, place a marker there so I don't forget in the spring and wait to see those cute little sprouts in the spring! I grow many for market to sell as companions with my tomato, basil & marigolds. They will help ward off some bad bugs from your tomatoes.  This plant really is a hard worker! If you've never given her a chance, this is the year for it. 
Some other varieties that are superb are Peach Melba, Cherries Jubilee, Empress of India. Some nasturtiums are mounding types while others are vining. Be sure to read type descriptions so you don't end up with something you don't want! They also love being in containers including window boxes! 

~Day Lily: Just the flower here folks. Be sure to take the stamens out, they are bitter and could make you sick. Try stuffing them with a cream cheese and bacon mixture, deep fry
for an appetizer.Very good!

~Pansy & Viola: Not really much of a definite flavor. More simply for the beauty they add to a salad. 
Take viola's and freeze in your ice cubes for a very pretty effect for special guests.
Take viola's and freeze in your ice cubes for a very pretty effect for special guests.

~Squash Blossoms: Many of us plant a zucchini or yellow squash plant with the anticipation of that first grilling of them, I know I do. We love to take some fresh Thyme and soak in olive oil and then brush on while grilling... oh I can't wait for summer!!!! Anyway, we too also get to a point where we may be getting tired of it and our friends no longer answer the phone when they see our name on the caller I.D. LOL! Well, don't yank the plant out, give the blossoms a try. See below for a great recipe. Be sure to take the stamens out. After you have your fill of the blossoms, you'll be ready to start back on the squash!

Be sure to check out this for lots of more info and more great recipes! Follow this link for a comprehensive list to edibles!

~Squash Blossoms: Many of us plant a zucchini or yellow squash plant with the anticipation of that first grilling of them, I know I do. We love to take some fresh Thyme and soak in olive oil and then brush on while grilling... oh I can't wait for summer!!!! Anyway, we too also get to a point where we may be getting tired of it and our friends no longer answer the phone when they see our name on the caller I.D. LOL! Well, don't yank the plant out, give the blossoms a try. See below for a great recipe.  Be sure to take the stamens out.  After you have your fill of the blossoms, you'll be ready to start back on the squash!

Be sure to check out this for lots of more info and more great recipes!  Follow this link for a comprehensive list to edibles!

Here are some yummy recipes that will help you to incorporate some of those edible flowers! Enjoy Friends!
Rose Geranium Cake

There are two preparations that must be done the night before making this cake and frosting... wrapping sticks of butter with leaves AND making the rose geranium sugar for the frosting.

PREPARE the night before:

24 Rose geranium leaves
4 1/4 cup sticks butter (1 pound)
Rinse leaves and wrap 5 or 6 leaves around each stick of butter. Wrap butter in foil or plastic wrap, refrigerate overnight.

Rose Geranium Frosting Sugar
- prepared the night before as well
1 1/2 cups raw organic sugar, divided
3 or 4 fresh rose geranium leaves
Use a container with a tightly fitted lid and pour 3/4 cup sugar into container. Wash rose geranium leaves, add to sugar container. Cover with another 3/4 cup sugar. Cover container and let stand overnight. Remove leaves before using sugar.


1 3/4 cup sugar
6 egg whites
3 cup cake flower, sifted
4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1 tsp. vanilla extract

1. Remove leaves from butter (save leaves); gradually add sugar, creaming until light and fluffy. Add egg whites two at a time, beating well after each additions.
2. Sift together flower, baking powder and salt; combine milk, water and vanilla. Alternately add dry ingredients and milk mixture to creamed mixture, beginning and ending with dry ingredients; beat smooth after each new addition. Grease and flour two 9" round or 8" round layer cake pans.
3. Arrange 10-12 rose geranium leaves, including those saved from the butter) on bottom of each pan. spoon batter over leaves and bake in a 350 degree oven for 30-35 minutes or until done.
4. Cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove layers from pans and let cool on racks. Gently remove rose geranium leaves from bottom and discard.

1 1/2 cup rose geranium sugar
2 egg whites
1/3 cup cold water
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
dash of salt

1. Place rose geranium sugar, egg whites, water, cream of tartar and salt in top of double boiler, (do not over heat). Beat 1 minute with electric beater. Place over, but not touching boiling water; cook, beating constantly until frosting forms stiff peaks (about 7 minutes). Remove from boiling water, beat until spreading consistency (about 2 minutes). Frost between layers and spread frosting to cover sides and top of 2 layer cake. Garnish frosted cake with candied rose geranium leaves made by rolling dampened leaves in sugar.

HINT: If this recipe is too time consuming, but you want a special cake, just cover the bottom of a cake pan with the rose geranium leaves and pour batter fro a pound cake, or even a plain white cake, over leaves. Bake and remove leaves from bottom after baking. imparts a wonderful flavor to cakes!

Candied Violets
Candied Violets aer wonderful to top a chocolate cake. They can be used to decorate with fro a garden party or summer wedding shower. These delicate edible confredtctions can be used a sdecorations on cakes or simply put out for nibblers on a glass plate. Both scent adn flavoir are exotic.

1 egg white
perfect biolets and their leaves
granulated sugar

Whip egg white until it is frohy but does not stand in peaks. Gather perfect violets and thier leaves; wash them gently adn quickly in cold water and drip dry.
When dry, dip each vilet or leaf in the egg white and roll it quicky in the sugare to caost evenly, taking care not to get the sugar too thick.
Lay out on wasxe paper to dry well seperated.
In several hours or a day, the blossoms will be quite crisp and can keep for several months without losing fragrance or flavor.
Store in airtight tin, layered between waxed paper.
VARIATIONS: Try using mint leaves or pansies!

Lavender Sugar
In a food processor finely chop 2 bablespoons dried lavender flowers. Add 1 cup of sugar. Blend. Store in an airtight container.
A nice addition to your next tea party!

Lavender Cream

1 cup Lavender blossoms
2 cups Whipping cream

Pour whipping cream over fresh cut leavender flowers and leave overnight. Next day remove lavender and whip cream... wonderful on fruit salad or use to frost a cake!

This only touches the bottom of the ice berg! If you are interested in more on edible flowers and recipes, just google it!

Happy Day,

Friday, January 18, 2013

Resolutions, Getting Rid of the Winter Blahs, Get Together Ideas and Yummy Winter Time Soup Recipes!


This word, 'Resolutions' is on most peoples minds in the new year.  Why do we think about this only at the New Year?  Many of us take time to reflect on what transpired over the last twelve months of our lives... a time to think on what we would like to continue doing and what we want to stop doing... a time to dream and imagine what the next twelve months will hold for us. New Years Resolutions are a common thing and many of us are looking to make some... be it little or large.  My 'resolutions' this year are too be more faithful in praying for others, being kind in all situations and reorganizing my office and keeping it that way! I did a series on Organization this past summer and I think I need to turn back to the office one!  That is the space that seems to get the best of me! I have so many things to keep straight and it just seems I don't have enough space... haha... a whole room just isn't enough eh? Well, this week I am gutting the room... I am going to clean out the file cabinets and purge, purge, purge!   Another goal that I want to implement is that of The 3/50 Project ( that I mentioned in my previous blog.  I do a lot of shopping & trading with my co-vendors at my markets, but I want to support the small local businesses in my community a bit more this year. 

Right now many of us including myself need to do something to get rid of the winter blahs... yes I love going out to the hoop house and green houses, but I also love to shop- especially antiquing, thrift shopping and craft/hobby store shopping.  Plan a day trip with a couple good friends or sisters if you have them. Do a 'shop hop' as I believe they are called!  This is one great way to implement the 3/50 Project idea.  Some of us are crafter's, sewers/quilters and/or decorators.  There are loads of great little gift shops, quilt shops, card & scrapbook shops and Antique shops that are locally owned and operated... go ahead and support them. We may spend a bit more than we would at one of the big box stores, and I admit I love the coupons & sales, but I am committed to shopping as locally as I possibly can this year.

~Start some seeds- if you are planning on having a garden this year, it's about time to start some of those wonderful little seeds.
~Take a class! I am taking a six part writers workshop right now. You can find many classes at most MSU Extension Offices for all ages. Master Gardeners are just one among many classes that they offer.
~Join a Club that fits one of your hobbies or something you like to do such as a readers club at your library.
~Volunteer! There are so many wonderful organizations out there that are always looking for helping hands. A few for the Metro Detroit area are- Gleaners Community Food Bank, Forgotten Harvest and The Henry Ford.  All wonderful organizations!

Another way to get rid of those winter blahs is to have a party! As I have mentioned time and again, I love to entertain.  I love the to spend quality time with friends and family in a way that they know I took time to make this time together extra special. 
Here are some ideas to make your entertaining extra special.

~Personalized name cards- use die cuts, stickers, and pretty ribbon.
~Little favors for each guest- these don't need to be fancy, a simple seed packet will make someone smile!
~Serve a small snack and drink to your guests for taking the time to come. Set it up to go with the theme of your party if you have one.
~If there are several people there that may not know each other have each person do an introduction.
~Have some yummy smelling candles burning in the background to help make that homey feel.
~Send thank you cards after the party.
~Have each guest sign a guest book.

Here are some party ideas!
~Host a party- there are lots of companies that do home parties- here a few of my personal favorites: Creative Memories- scrapbooking; Pampered Chef- love the stoneware; Celebrating Home- the nicest Bean Pots and stoneware items, really nice candles to name just a few.  They are fun, a lot of times people want the stuff but don't want the bother of having the party, and it is fun.  Be sure to make a nice snack and offer coffee, tea and punch. Your guests will feel like they were pampered and you get some great free stuff!
~Have a Cookie Exchange- I gave all the how too's in my December 26th post.
~Host a LuncheonTea Party- For all the how too's on this go back to my February 21st post.
~Plan a Sisters Day- See all the how too's for this fun day on my March 20th post.
You can find all these at

Winter is a time for soup... my family just doesn't care for soup when the temperature guage reads into the 80's and up. But right now when the wind is howling and the air is cold, walking into a warm cozy house with the smell of homemade soup cooking just feels right... not to mention tastes right! Here are a couple winter time cozy soup recipes... enjoy friends!

French Onion Soup

2 Tbsp. butter
4 onions, sliced
3 cup beef broth
1 1/2 cup water
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 Tbsp. sherry (optional0
1 cup French bread, cubed and toasted
1/2 pound baby Swiss Cheese

Melt butter in a saucepan over low heat; add onions; cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add broth, water, Worcestershire sauce, pepper and sherry, if using.
Increase heat; bring to a boil; reduce heat, cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Divide into 4 overn safe soup bowls; top with bread cubes, then cheese.  Place under a broiler just until cheese melts.
Makes 4 bowls.

Tuscan Soup
4 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 medium potatoes
1 lb. Spicy Italian Sausage
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
3 cups chopped kale

Brown Sausage; cool.
Combine the broth and cream in a sauce pan; slice the unpeeled potato into 1/4 inch slices; add the browned sausage; add the kale.
Add the spices and let soup simmer for about 2 hours. Stir occasionally.

Roasted Cauliflower Soup

10 c Cauliflower florets (1 large head)
1 large onion, sliced
2 clover garlic, minced
2 tbsp olive oil
14.5 ounce cans chicken broth
1 c water
1 bay leaf
1 tsp snipped fresh thyme
1 c half & half or light cream
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground black pepper \

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a large roasting pan toss cauliflower, onion, & garlic with oil.  Roast, uncovered for 30 minutes stirring once.
In a large saucepan combine the roasted cauliflower and onion, broth, the water, bay leaf, & thyme.  Bring to boiling & reduce heat.  Simmer, covered for 20 minutes.
Discard bay leaf.  Let mixture cool for about 15 minutes.  Working in batches, transfer soup to a food processor or blender; process or blend soup until smooth.  Return soup to saucepan.  Stir in half & half, salt & pepper.  Heat through, don ‘t boil.

Happy Day,