Simple Gift Idea ~ Herbal Vinegars

Simple gift idea- Chive Blossom Vinegar

So, most of us don’t have chive blossoms right now, but this is a great idea to tuck away wherever you keep that pile of things to make.  Mine is known fondly as The Recipe Pile, and it is a pile.  I have good intentions of organizing it someday, but for now it remains an overstuffed file folder filled with lovely things to make and do when the time is right.  

And you can use other herbs for this- garlic, sage, dill, thyme, rosemary … lots and lots of choices and combinations come to mind.

Here you go, no real recipe needed-

1 pint jar with a plastic lid (one of the few times I advise using plastic is when making vinegars.  If you don’t want to use a plastic lid, place a piece of plastic wrap over the jar before screwing on the metal lid to prevent corrosion and the ruin of your lovely vinegar.)

chive blossoms- enough to not quite fill your jar

vinegar- white wine vinegar is nice here, but use whatever white vinegar you prefer

Place the freshly cut chive blossoms in the jar, pour in enough vinegar to cover the blossoms, screw on the lid, and then wait 2-4 weeks until the vinegar is a pretty shade of pink and the vinegar has a nice oniony, chive flavor.  Strain out the chive blossoms and decant into a decorative bottle.  Don’t forget the label! 

Now you have a nice gift for a friend who likes to cook, or a tasty vinegar for use in your own kitchen.  This makes a delicious vinaigrette when mixed with olive oil, sea salt, and black pepper.  

Enjoy!  

 

Rewards of the Simple Life

To find the universal elements enough; to find the air and the water exhilarating; to be refreshed by a morning walk or an evening saunter… to be thrilled by the stars at night; to be elated over a bird’s nest or a wildflower in spring — these are some of the rewards of the simple life. ~John Burroughs

Just this today.  May your weekend be blessed with astonishingly simple beauty.

 

The Herbal Academy Giveaway ~ Enter today!

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This post includes affiliate links.  If you click on one of the links in my post and make a purchase, I will receive a commission from The Herbal Academy.  No additional cost to you, but it helps me buy more herbs! 

Just in time for the holidays, The Herbal Academy is having a giveaway!  Click here for a chance to win a  $100 gift certificate that you can use in The Herbal Academy Goods Shop which opens November 15.  The gift certificate may also be used towards one of their herbal courses.  

Don’t miss your chance, go enter now, the winner will be announced by email on November 13th!

Good Luck!

Herbal Favorites ~ Lemon Thyme

I love lemon thyme.  To be honest, I love all the lemony herbs- lemon thyme, lemon verbena, lemon balm, lemongrass, lemon scented geranium … which ones did I leave out?  

This particular lemon thyme is a favorite because it is growing so prettily in this old enameled basin that I picked up somewhere.  It spent the summer on the mostly shaded front porch. Now that fall is here, I’ll move it to a sunny spot on the back porch.  

It will get a bit of a trim before winter and I have just the thing for the small harvest of lemony leaves- Lemon Thyme Cupcakes!  I first saw this recipe years ago in  The Herb Companion magazine (which is sadly no longer in print).  It’s a great teatime recipe and one I’ve tweaked here and there as the mood strikes.  For example, some of my children do not enjoy lemon zest in their food, so if I want to share with them, I omit it; if I want all the cupcakes for myself, I add extra!  I don’t use milk much these days, so another change I will make is to use whatever non-dairy milk I’ve got on hand.  Adding in a tiny bit of dried lavender or mint is also a fun twist on the original recipe.  

Do you grow lemon thyme in your herb garden?

What is your favorite way to use it?

 

Simple Food ~ Breakfast Cookies

These simple cookies are a healthy breakfast option.  I know … Cookies for breakfast???

Yes, absolutely.  When they are filled with good for you ingredients and taste like this.  

Breakfast can be interesting around here.  With 3 teens who have different eating habits and preferences- one is hungry the moment she wakes up, one wants to wait until she is awake (Which means she may need to read for 2 hours first.  Yes, we homeschool so she can totally do that!), and the middle love is vegan so that’s a whole other set of things to work with (not bad things, all of the females in our family lean heavily toward vegetarian eating anyway).  

Lucky for me, these cookies are just the thing for all preferences and particularities in the a.m. They are also the perfect accompaniment to a cup of coffee, which is my morning must these days.  

So, here you are, my first recipe on the Simple Herbal Home Blog- 

BREAKFAST COOKIES

preheat oven to 350

Ingredients:

  • 3 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, warmed to liquid state
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 2/3 cup almond meal (can use regular flour if you don’t need gluten free option)
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder (non-aluminum is my preference)
  • 2/3 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts (walnuts and almonds are my favorite)
  • 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips

Mix mashed bananas with coconut oil and vanilla. Add oats, almond meal (or flour), salt, baking powder, and stir until combined.  Stir in coconut, chocolate chips, and nuts.  Form dough into 1-2 inch balls, flatten slightly, and bake on  parchment sheet lined cookie sheets for 15 minutes or until just slightly browned.  Cool on wire rack and enjoy!

I hope you try these and that you love them as much as we do!  

Simple Ways to Enjoy the Mint Harvest

Mint is one of the simplest herbs to grow.  Give it soil, a bit of sun, and ample moisture and it will reward you with copious cups of tea, beautiful greenery for floral arrangements, and a fragrant ground cover that you can mow down when it gets a bit too aggressive.   My mints (I seem to collect them the way I collect books) are all in containers right now.  Not that I'd mind them running amuck in the backyard, but it seems that Annie, the big fluffy white dog, loves mint as much as I do (or she really hates it) because she digs every single one I plant up.  She seems to ignore the container plants, thank goodness! I will cut the mints back before a cold snap zaps them, and use the harvest to make  mint jelly and  mint extract for Christmas gifts.   I will also dry spearmint, peppermint, orange mint and apple mint for tea.   How do you preserve your mint harvest? Do you have a favorite recipe featuring mint?  I'd love to see it, my recipe pile has room for more!  
Mint is one of the simplest herbs to grow.  Give it soil, a bit of sun, and ample moisture and it will reward you with copious cups of tea, beautiful greenery for floral arrangements, and a fragrant ground cover that you can mow down when it gets a bit too aggressive.   My mints (I seem to collect them the way I collect books) are all in containers right now.  Not that I’d mind them running amuck in the backyard, but it seems that Annie, the big fluffy white dog, loves mint as much as I do (or she really hates it) because she digs every single one I plant up.  She seems to ignore the container plants, thank goodness! I will cut the mints back before a cold snap zaps them, and use the harvest to make  mint jelly and  mint extract for Christmas gifts.   I will also dry spearmint, peppermint, orange mint and apple mint for tea.   How do you preserve your mint harvest? Do you have a favorite recipe featuring mint?  I’d love to see it, my recipe pile has room for more!  

Basil in Bloom

Cinnamon Basil is in bloom in the courtyard garden.  The bees and butterflies love it at least as much as I do.  It’s delightful in the tea pot as well as in a bouquet of herbal blossoms.