Monday, December 2, 2013

Santa Hat Cupcakes - Strawberries

Santa hat cupcakes! Cut off the stem end of strawberries and place them upside down on white frosted cupcakes. Top them off with a little extra icing or whipped cream.


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Calm the mind with Lavender

Stress weakens our immune system and we can become ill.  Lavender is a great way to calm and soothe.  It has been used for centuries as a calming agent. 

Fatigue  Add 5 drops of Lavender oil to a hot foot bath and relax while your feet soak in it. The soles of the feet are particularly porous, so Lavender reaches your bloodstream very quickly, exerting its stimulating and soothing effects on various systems of your body.

Aching Muscles  After an exhausting day at the office or a back-breaking afternoon in the garden, jump into a Lavender bath to soothe aches & pains.  Add Epsom salts and a few drops of Lavender oil to the bath and soak away the tension.

"Lavender, sweet Lavender;
come and buy my Lavender,
hide it in your trousseau, 
lady fair. 
Let its lovely fragrance flow
Over your from head to toe,
lightening on your eyes, 
your cheek, your hair."

Cumberk & Clark
Flower Song Book 1929


Sunday, November 10, 2013

Lavender Bridal Bouquet

Lavender flowers are popular again at weddings particularly in wedding bouquets. Lavender flowers smell wonderful and they symbolize purity and fidelity.

You may choose a Lavender bouquet solely of fresh Lavender stems or simply have your florist incorporate Lavender flowers into your wedding bouquet. Look online and you can see dozens of choices for Lavender bouquets. 

Head wreaths of Lavender may be created for flower girls and then combine fresh Lavender buds with rose petals for them to sprinkle down the aisle.  Bunches of Lavender flowers can be placed on the sides of church pews. After the ceremony they can serve double duty as table centerpieces.

Excerpt from book "Lavender - the Universal Herb".  Read more online at Amazon:

Lavender Orange Focaccia Bread

The Ingredients:
Dough (for two loaves):
2 1/2 c warm water
2 T olive oil
1 T sugar
1 T + 1/2 t dry active yeast
2 1/2 t salt
6-7 c unbleached white flour

Orange Lavender topping:
about 1 T olive oil
4 t chopped fresh lavender (about half leaves and half flowers)
1 small orange, sliced as thinly as possible
2 t sugar

The Process:

  1. To make dough, combine water, oil, sugar, and yeast in a mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, and let sit for 5-10 minutes until yeast is puffy.
  2. Add salt and about 5 1/2 cups of the flour and knead with oiled hands or stir with the mixer's dough hook, adding more flour as necessary to form a slightly sticky but workable dough.  Knead about 12 minutes by hand or about 5 minutes with a stand mixer.
  3. Form dough into a ball, coat with oil, and place in a large, oiled mixing bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel and place somewhere warm.  Allow dough to rise until doubled. (This can take anywhere from about 45 minutes to more than 2 hours, depending on your yeast and the room temperature.)
  4. Punch down dough and divide into two equal pieces.  Preheat oven to 400°.
  5. Lightly oil 2 baking sheets, and stretch each piece of dough into a rough rectangle, mostly covering a baking sheet.  You can leave the edges rounded and uneven for a more "rustic" look.  Let sit, covered loosely with plastic wrap, for about 15 minutes, then uncover and lightly dimple the surface of the dough with your fingertips.  Brush each loaf with a generous coating of olive oil.
  6. For the orange focaccia, arrange orange slices on top of dough, then sprinkle with lavender and lightly press the lavender in with your fingertips to make it adhere to the dough.  Top with sugar.
  7. For lemon focaccia, arrange lemon slices and asparagus spears on top of dough, brush asparagus with a little olive oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  8. Bake about 20-25 minutes or until tops of loaves have golden-brown splotches, then cool on baking racks.
Recipe Source:  Bite Me, I'm Vegan blog

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Lavender Pasta recipe

Farfalle with Vegetables and Lavender
Adapted from Mark Bittman

½ pound of pasta, such as farfalle, orechiette, or gemelli
2 or 3 cloves garlic, sliced thin or crushed
2 medium zucchini or summer squash (about 1 pound), trimmed
2 medium carrots, peeled and trimmed
1 bell pepper (use whatever color you prefer), cored
2 to 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (enough to completely coat the bottom of your sauté pan)
1 teaspoon fresh or dried lavender flowers, plus additional for garnish
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it. Add the pasta and cook until al dente (i.e. just barely tender, which is usually one minute less than the recommended cooking time.)
  2. Meanwhile, slice the vegetables thin, using a food processor, mandolin, or knife. Pour the olive oil into a large unheated skillet and add the garlic. Turn the heat to medium and gently cook the garlic until it starts to turn golden, stirring occasionally. (Cooking the garlic this way will both infuse the oil with the garlic flavor and minimize the possibility of it burning and becoming bitter.) When the garlic turns golden, add the vegetables. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and add the lavender, crushing the flowers in your fingertips to release their fragrance. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the veggies barely soften, just 5 minutes or so.
  3. Hopefully the pasta will be nearly done just as the vegetables are nearly done. (If you start cooking the garlic right after you add the pasta to the boiling water, the timing should be right.) Drain the pasta, reserving some cooking water. Add pasta to vegetables and continue to cook, adding water as necessary to keep mixture moist.
  4. Taste, and add more lavender to taste; it should be distinctive but not too strong. When pasta and vegetables are tender but not mushy, adjust seasoning for salt and pepper, garnish with a couple of lavender flowers if you have them, and serve. A nice crisp sauvignon blanc would be really nice with this dish.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Lavender Tea Bread recipe

Lavender Tea Bread
3/4 cup milk
2 Tbsp. dried lavender flowers, finely chopped, or 3 Tbsp. fresh chopped flowers
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
6 Tbsp. butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs

Grease a 9x5x3 inch loaf pan.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Heat milk with lavender almost to a boil, then steep until cool.
Mix flour, baking powder and salt together in bowl.
In another bowl cream butter and gradually add sugar, then eggs, one at a time, beating until light and fluffy.
Add flour mixture alternately with lavender milk, in three parts. Mix until batter is just blended, do not overbeat.

Pour into prepared pan and bake for 50 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool in pan 5 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool.

When completely cool, drizzle with a simple sugar glaze or sprinkle with confectioners' sugar. Garnish with sprigs of fresh lavender.

Source:  Mom's a Witch blog

Monday, October 21, 2013

Lavender Lemonade Recipe - tart & pretty!

Such a great recipe.   Tart & sweet and such a lovely color.

Lavender Lemonade

Yields 1 1/2 quarts
5 cups water, divided
3 tablespoons dried culinary lavender
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups fresh lemon juice (about 6-8 lemons)
Lemon slices, garnish (optional)

In a small saucepan, bring 1 cup water to a boil, turn off heat, and stir in lavender. Cover and allow to steep for 30 minutes. After steeping, run liquid through a fine mesh strainer to strain out the lavender. Toss out lavender.

Meanwhile, in another saucepan, bring the remaining 4 cups water and 1 cup sugar to boil, stirring until sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from heat.

In a large pitcher, combine sugar water, lavender infused water, and lemon juice. Stir and refrigerate until cool. Serve with a lemon slice, if desired.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Wedding Idea: Throw Lavender Buds instead of Rice

Wedding idea:  throw fragrant lavender buds instead of rice at the bride & groom.

The wedding toss is a tradition that dates back to Ancient Rome. Throwing things at a newly wed couple is intended to symbolize good luck, fertility and abundance. It is also a wonderful way for your guests to partake in the ceremony and share in the festivities. Buds are completely biodegradable.

It won’t harm birds or the environment. Imagine showering the happy couple with a gentle rain of lavender buds at the most memorable moment. And as the lavender buds are crushed underfoot, the delicate fragrance is released again and again.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Lavender Plant Repels Bedbugs

Bugs do not like lavender.  You can sprinkle your sheets and/or bedding with lavender oil.  It will smell lovely and additionally repel bedbugs.

Lavender has many uses.

Read an excerpt from "Lovely Lavender, the Universal Herb" on Amazon:


Sunday, September 29, 2013

Lavender the healer

ANTISEPTIC:  Lavender oil has antiseptic properties. The oil of lavender is extracted from the actual flower. It is good for cleaning scrapes and cuts that may contain foreign material. You can use lavender oil to clean surfaces in your home to lower your bacterial count.

HEALS BURNS:  Linalol is an active substance in lavender that heals sores, burns and other wounds. Pain and inflammation are reduced at the site of pain.

Read Book Excerpt on Amazon books:

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Lavender herb saved lives in the Plague

In the 1650's when the bubonic plague killed one third of the European population.  There were  towns where no one ever died of the plague.  In fact no one ever caught the plague.

Each town had a perfume factory and Lavender oil was the base used in those perfumes.  

During this same time it was noted that no shoemaker ever died of the plague.  Could there be any connection to the Lavender oil?  Shoemakers made leather boots and shoes as well as leather gloves.