RECIPE: Pansy Shortbread Cookies

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Do you believe in magic? Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve loved reading stories of the fairy folk living in an enchanted forest, playing with the animals, and sipping tea from rosebud tea cups. If I were ever invited to join them, I’d bring these Pansy Shortbread Cookies to share.

Inspired by the wonders of nature and the magic that can be found within it, I decided to make a batch of cookies fit for fairyland. This recipe is simple to make and so pretty! Make it your own (or please the fairies in your own backyard) by changing up the ingredients to suite your favorite flavors. I chose to make a lavender lemon shortbread cookie using lavender-infused sugar and dried lavender harvested from my garden. You could also try these Lemon Thyme Shortbread Cookies, these Earl Grey Shortbread Cookies or these Cardamom Orange Zest Shortbread Cookies.

flower-cookies-2Some Tips On Choosing Edible Flowers:

I used a few varieties of pansies that I had growing in my garden but you can experiment with other edible flowers too. Some things to keep in mind…

  • Choose flowers that will fit the shape of the cookie.
  • Only use edible flowers that you can identify correctly
  • Only use edible flowers that are grown organically (pesticide-free).
  • Edible flower suggestions: Chamomile, Johnny-Jump-Ups, Borage, Lavender, Marigolds, Pansies, Rose Petals, Violas, Violets.

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Pansy Shortbread Cookies
 
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 36 Cookies
Ingredients
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup lavender infused sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons dried lavender
  • Zest of one lemon
  • Fresh, organic pansies
  • 1 egg white, beaten
  • Fine sugar (for finishing)
Instructions
  1. Cream the butter with an electric mixer until fluffy. Stir in the flour, sugar and salt; beat on low speed for 1 minute. Crush the dried lavender using a mortar and pestle. Then add the vanilla, lavender and lemon zest to the mixer, beating until just incorporated.
  2. Let the dough chill in the refrigerator for approx. 1 hour. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease baking sheet and set aside.
  3. On a floured surface, roll out the dough to ¼" thickness. Cut out with round or scalloped cookie cutters and place 1" apart onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 14-18 minutes, until the cookies begin to turn light golden around the edges and on the bottom. Remove from oven and transfer to wire racks to cool.
  4. Once the cookies are all baked and cooled its time to decorate with flowers! Use a pastry brush to brush a cookie with egg white and place a pansy on top. Then brush the pansy all over with egg white and sprinkle with fine sugar.
  5. Repeat with remaining cookies and return them to the baking sheet. Bake in the oven for another 5 minutes, then transfer to the wire racks to cool.

 
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Serve these at your next tea party or package them up as favors at your next fairytale gathering! And don’t forget to leave a few out in your garden for the fairies to enjoy 🙂
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DIY: Paper Maché Birdy Penny Bank

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My friend Tara is a paper maché inspiration. A couple of years ago she made a couple of piggy banks that were so amazing I decided I needed to make a bank of my very own. A birdy bank.

I love that papier maché gives you the opportunity to make basically anything out of recycled materials. This is a great project for kids and adults alike- just be ready to take it in shifts over a couple of days so that the form has time to dry between each coat.
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Basic Supplies and Tools

  • A table cloth or paper cover and an apron. This is a wonderfully messy project!
  • A balloon
  • Newspaper
  • Flour and water (to make paste)
  • A piece of chipboard (like scrap from a cracker box)
  • This template for the feet, beak, wings and tailfeathers (which you will cut from chipboard.)
  • Masking Tape
  • Glue – Hot glue works great, but other thick glues work in a pinch
  • Scissors and craft knife

Finishing Supplies

  • Sand paper or sanding block
  • Acrylic paint
  • ‘ glue or similar
  • Brush

 

Step One: Starting the Paper Maché and Form

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Blow up one balloon about 5.5″ in diameter, and crumple up a piece of paper to make a head about 2.5″ in diameter. Tape the “head” to the balloon*, roughly the opposite side from the tied end.  (If you would prefer the inside of the birdy to be smooth, cover the balloon with a layer of paper maché before attaching the head.)

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To make your simple paper maché paste, mix one part flour with one part water. (You can change this ratio if you prefer a more watery or thicker paste. Practice makes perfect.) Stir the paste with your finger until it is smooth.

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Tear your newspaper into small strips and pieces and begin to coat your body form with a layer of newspaper. Dip each strip into the paste, and pull it through your fingers to remove excess paste and moisture.

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Overlap the pieces of newspaper on your form, and cover all but the tied end. It may be helpful to set the balloon on a cup or bowl to lift it off of your surface.

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When you have completely covered the form with one layer of newspaper, set it aside to dry. If you have a fan or space heater, set this little guy in front of that and it will dry faster. Make sure to let it dry almost completely before moving to the next layer of material, or you will have a soppy mess. At least wait a few hours.

Step Two: Adding more Detail

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Since your bird looks nothing like a bird yet, it’s time to add some appendages. Download and print this template and cut each of the pieces from a piece of chipboard.

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To build the birdy legs, cut into one side of the chipboard as shown, and roll the other end into a cylinder. Secure the roll with a couple of pieces of tape.

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Then tape across the foot to attach it to the leg. The flap left at the end of the leg will be glued to the base of your balloon form.

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Roll the beak to form a cone shape, and tape it in shape. Stuff a little piece of paper into the open end of the cone to make it easier to attach to your birdy head.

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Glue works best to secure the wings, legs, beak, and tail feathers to your form. Hold them in place until the glue is holding firmly. When everything is in place, begin to add another layer of papier maché,  covering all the new parts of your bird in addition to adding another layer to the main form you’ve already covered.

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As you add paper, make sure to leave the end of the balloon visible; this is where you’ll be breaking the balloon and pulling it out. Paper maché is very forgiving and it’s easy to cover up this hole.

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When you’ve covered the form with one or two layers of paper, let it dry again. You may find that you have to stop before you’ve completed covering the whole thing because life gets in the way of your messy fun, or your messy fun become a little too messy. No worries! Just make sure that your paper is as smooth as you can make it, and let the bird rest.

Step Three: Removing the Balloon and Making this Guy a Bank

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Yes. It looks silly. That’s okay, the best things are silly. When your form is completely dry, you’re ready to remove your balloon. Gently grip the balloon’s knot, and pierce the balloon to let the air out. As it shrinks, it should pull away from your paper. If it sticks in a spot, gently pull it out of the hole.

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No bank is complete without a place to put the money. Mark a line down the back of your bird, between the wings, about 1/4″ wide and 1.5″ long. Use a craft knife to carefully trim out the piece you’ve marked.

To finish the bottom of the bank, you have a couple of options. You can either add an access hole for money to be removed or go with the ol’ piñata method– keep the money inside until it’s time to smash! (Which is definitely satisfying.)

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If you’d like to make your bank reusable, find a small lid or something else that would work as a plug. Trace around the shape and cut any extra paper. It you’re having trouble keeping the cover in, trace it onto a scrap of chipboard and make a ring the perfect size, then glue that on top of your form and cover it with paper. The chipboard with provide a little extra stability. (Yes, I know this all looks kinda amusing. Giggles are allowed.)

Step Four: The last of the Papier Maché

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If your form is feeling pretty secure, it’s time to start adding the last layer of papier maché. The paint will not completely cover the paper (unless you want it to) so this is a great time to start having fun with your paper color and prints. Save gold and orange colored paper for the beak, cover the wings and head in dark colors, and use white newsprint for the breast. When you’re happy with the way it looks, let it all dry overnight!

Step Five: Sanding and Painting

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If you’re anything like me, your form will need a little sanding. USe sand paper or a sanding block to smooth off any edges of paper, clumps of paste, or rough edges- making sure not to sand below your papier mache layers.

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To make a transparent paint layer, mix equal parts glue and white acrylic paint with a little water.  (Add more glue for more transparency, or more paint to cover the paper more opaquely.)

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Gently apply a layer of paint and glue to the whole form and let it dry.

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When it dries you will still be able to see a lot of your newspaper pattern. If you like, add another layer of white paint, or start to add more colors to bring out details. To keep some of the transparency, you can water down your colored paints and streak them across your form.

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Let it all dry, and get ready to fill it with money!

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Using this balloon method you can make pretty much any animal you want! I’d love to see!

DIY: Heart Bath Bombs (For Valentine’s Day)

DIY Heart Bath Bombs (for Valentine's Day)
Happy February! Today we are sharing a BONUS project on how to make pretty Heart Bath Bombs for your friends and family this Valentine’s Day. Alison and I got together with some friends to make these and they turned out wonderful! We used all natural ingredients and scented them with pure essential oils of lavender and rose geranium (ie. Heaven!).

DIY: Heart Bath Bomb (for Valentine's Day)

Ingredients:

• 2 cups baking soda
• 1 cup citric acid
• 3 tablespoons kaolin (white) clay
• 1 tablespoon hibiscus flower powder
• 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
• Rose petals
• Witch hazel
• 25 drops lavender essential oil
• 25 drops rose geranium essential oil

Additional Tools:

• Heart silicone mold
• Mixing bowl
• Spray bottle
• Parchment paper

DIY: Heart Bath Bomb (for Valentine's Day)

Gather your supplies and pour some witch hazel into a spray bottle and set aside. Next add rose petals to the bottom of the silicone mold (be careful not to add too many, you just want a light sprinkle) and set aside. In your mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients (baking soda, citric acid, clay, hibiscus powder) and mix with your hands, breaking up any clumps.

DIY: Heart Bath Bomb (for Valentine's Day)

Next combine the olive oil and essential oils together, then add it to the mixing bowl and use your hands to fully incorporate.

DIY: Heart Bath Bomb (for Valentine's Day)

Now comes the fun part. Spray witch hazel, a few sprays at a time, into the mixture using your hands to incorporate. You’ll want to work quickly as the citric acid will fizz with each spray. Continue to spray a little at a time until you reach a clump-like consistency that holds together in your hands.

DIY: Heart Bath Bomb (for Valentine's Day)
DIY: Heart Bath Bomb (for Valentine's Day)
Finally, pack the mixture into the silicone mold. Really push it in tight! Let dry in the mold for 10-15 minutes, then turn onto parchment paper and remove the mold. Let bath bombs dry overnight.

DIY: Heart Bath Bomb (for Valentine's Day)

We’d like to wish you all a Happy Valentine’s Day! Don’t forget to check out our Monthly DIY Craft Challenge and submit your own handmade project!

DIY: Heart Bath Bomb (for Valentine's Day)

DIY: Season’s Greetings Printable Herb Packet Gift

Season's Greetings Printable Herb Packet Gift Idea
I recently created this fun holiday printable idea for Garden Therapy and thought I would share it here on A.I.M for you to enjoy! -Rachel

Quick and easy holiday gifts are essential for surviving the holiday season. This free printable “Season’s Greetings” Herb Packet is perfect for small gifts and can easily fit into the mail with your holiday greeting cards! Use herbs harvested from your own garden to create flavorful seasoning mixes paired with a simple and delicious recipe.

CLICK HERE to for the full tutorial and free printable download over at Garden Therapy!

Season's Greetings Printable Herb Packet Gift Idea

DIY: Paper Spiderwebs to Decorate Everything

Step by step this house is getting properly October spooky. I’m a big fan of decorating with the things I have around, and this collection of tarnished silver and moody ornaments needed one little touch, so I decided to make a spiderweb table runner out of scrap paper and a piece of ribbon.

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SUPPLIES

  • A few sheets of paper, any color you fancy. I used card stock, which was a bit trickier to cut but more durable in the long run.
  • Small clips or tape
  • Your favorite craft knife
  • A hole punch
  • Ribbon
  • The spiderweb templateaim_paperspiderweb

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Once you have printed the spiderweb template, use tape or the clips to secure it to a sheet or two of paper, and cut the spiderweb shape out with a craft knife. You will also punch holes where each X is.

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Cutting Tips

Start trimming the small center pieces out first and move to the large pieces. I actually cut all the inner pieces, then moved on the the next sheet of paper until I have enough pieces. Then I cut the outer shape out of several pieces at once using scissors.

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When you’ve cut out and punched all your pieces, weave a piece of ribbon in and out of the holes to connect several spiderwebs.

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I overlapped the corners of each spiderweb piece to make my table runner…

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and hung them all on one ribbon for a creepy spiderweb banner.

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The possibilities are, as they say, endless! I’m even thinking of creepy spiders to add to them.

The motionless, paper kind.

 

What’re you decorating with?

RECIPE: Turmeric Hot Toddy (for cold/flu relief)

RECIPE: Turmeric Hot Toddy
Since making up a batch of turmeric paste last week I’ve been adding it to my morning ritual of drinking hot lemon water. I usually add a dash of cayenne and ginger powder and now I’m adding a teaspoon of turmeric paste as well. In the midst of my current obsession with turmeric and its amazing health benefits, I’ve been collecting recipes via Pinterest. When I stumbled across this recipe for a Turmeric Hot Toddy I knew I had to try it.

I usually only crave a hot toddy when I’m sick with a cold since the drink is known to ease the aches and pains of the common cold. But since my morning ritual tea is so similar to a hot toddy (minus the booze), I decided to give it a try and enjoy a hot mug on a rainy Saturday afternoon.

RECIPE: Turmeric Hot Toddy

How does a Hot Toddy ease cold symptoms exactly?

• For hundreds of years brandy has been used as a traditional remedy for the common cold/flu. The natural warming properties of brandy, mixed with its relaxing quality that induces healthy sleep and the antibacterial nature of alcohol, together creates a much needed boost for the immune system. You can read more on the health benefits of brandy here.
• Lemon and honey can relieve a sore throat, help loosen congestion and prevent dehydration.
• Turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory, a natural blood purifier, and is antioxidant and antiseptic.

Note: Even though I do enjoy the cold/flu relief felt when sipping a hot toddy, it’s not the only remedy I turn to when I’m feeling sick. It’s also a good idea to get lots of rest and drink plenty of fluids. Don’t forget that alcohol actually dehydrates the body, so think of a hot toddy as a way to pamper yourself when you’re feeling sick and drink in moderation.

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Turmeric Hot Toddy
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Beverage
Serves: 1 serving
Ingredients
  • 1-2 oz brandy or bourbon
  • 1 tsp turmeric paste
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 lemon
  • Cinnamon stick, cloves, star anise (for garnish)
Instructions
  1. In a glass mug, juice ½ lemon and add turmeric paste and honey. Stir to combine. Fill half way with hot water and stir until turmeric/honey is melted. Add 1-2 ounces of brandy or bourbon and top off with more hot water.
  2. Garnish with a lemon wedge, cloves, cinnamon stick and a star anise. Drink hot!
  3. Note: you can substitute herbal tea for the turmeric paste

RECIPE: Turmeric Hot Toddy

RECIPE: Golden Milk + the health benefits of Turmeric

RECIPE: Golden Milk + the health benefits of Turmeric

As I continue my research and spend more time with the wonderful Indian/Asian spice, Turmeric, I love and learn more and more about it. Known in Sanskrit as the “Golden Goddess”, turmeric is often used in sacred Hindu ceremonies. Turmeric has been a staple in Indian food traditions for millennia and has at least 4,000 years of use in Ayurvedic, traditional Chinese, and Siddhic medicinal traditions. Ayurvedic practitioners believe that turmeric emanates the energy of the divine feminine and helps grant prosperity.

RECIPE: Golden Milk + the health benefits of Turmeric

Health benefits of Turmeric

Turmeric comes from the root of the Curcuma Longa plant and is a member of the ginger family. It’s most known for it’s powerful anti-inflammatory properties, and is also a natural blood purifier, analgesic and antiseptic. The bioactive compound, Curcumin is what gives turmeric its bright yellow/orange color and is an effective topical antibacterial agent. It has stronger antioxidant properties than vitamin E, is anti-tumor, antibacterial and antimicrobial. It’s also known to assist in liver detox and has been used for centuries to promote healing of the gut, stomach and liver.

Note: Because it’s been found that turmeric is rapidly metabolized by the liver and intestines, its medicinal properties may not be as effective unless it is consumed with black pepper, which has been found to increase the absorption of curcumin by 2000%.

RECIPE: Golden Milk + the health benefits of Turmeric

So, not only is turmeric a vibrant natural dye perfect for using this time of year, it has amazing health benefits too. How can you not love this spice!? Turmeric can be consumed dried, cooked, or raw, and has a slightly peppery, mildly bitter and earthy flavor. There are many ways to incorporate turmeric into your cooking and it can also be drank as a tea. A common method I found in my research is to make what’s called, Golden Milk. And to make it, you must first create a turmeric paste…

RECIPE: Golden Milk + the health benefits of Turmeric

Turmeric Paste
 
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Author:
Ingredients
  • ½ cup filtered water
  • ¼ cup ground turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Combine ingredients in a small saucepan. Heat over medium high heat, stirring constantly until it forms a thick paste. Transfer paste into a small glass jar and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

 

RECIPE: Golden Milk + the health benefits of Turmeric

Once you’ve made your turmeric paste, you can make yourself up a warm cup of Golden Milk anytime you want!

Golden Milk
 
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Author:
Serves: 1 cup
Ingredients
  • 1 cup milk (dairy or nondairy)
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric paste
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • Honey or maple syrup (to taste)
  • Cinnamon or nutmeg (to taste)
Instructions
  1. Combine the milk, turmeric paste and coconut oil in a saucepan and heat over medium heat until it just starts to boil. Pour into a mug and sweeten with honey and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

 

RECIPE: Golden Milk + the health benefits of Turmeric

RECIPE: Garden Herb Mustard

RECIPE: Garden Herb Mustard #homemade #condiment
Homemade mustard has been on my to-do list since last spring and I’m excited to finally make up a small batch. Since starting my herb garden this year, I’ve been keeping my eye out for new ways to harvest and use fresh herbs. This recipe from Wonky Wonderful made for a great starting point. I followed her basic guidelines and made some of my own alterations to suite my own tastes.

RECIPE: Garden Herb Mustard #homemade #condiment

The first step is to soak your mustard seed over night. I combined 1/4 cup mustard seed, with a 1/4 cup filtered water and 1/4 cup four thieves vinegar (you can also use raw apple cider vinegar) in a small mason jar and set it in the refrigerator overnight.

RECIPE: Garden Herb Mustard #homemade #condiment

The next morning, the mustard seed will have absorbed most of the liquid and be ready to prepare with the rest of the ingredients.

Pour the soaked mustard seed (and remaining liquid) into a food processor and add the following: 2 teaspoons lemon juice, 3 tablespoons honey (add more for a sweeter mustard flavor), 1/2 teaspoon turmeric, 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, and about 1 tablespoon fresh herbs. I also sprinkled in a few red pepper flakes.

RECIPE: Garden Herb Mustard #homemade #condiment #herbs

You can use any variety of herbs you like. I chose a few sprigs each of fresh thyme, oregano, parsley, rosemary and marjoram from my garden.

Once you’ve added all the ingredients, puree until you get a nice consistency. Transfer back into a clean mason jar and store in the refrigerator.

RECIPE: Garden Herb Mustard #homemade #condiment #herbs

This mustard will keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 weeks. I can’t wait to try it on my next ham sandwich!

RECIPE: Garden Herb Mustard #homemade #condiment #herbs

Garden Herb Mustard
 
Author:
Recipe type: Condiment
Serves: About 1 cup
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup mustard seed
  • ¼ cup raw apple cider vinegar (I used four thieves vinegar)
  • ¼ cup filtered water
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh herbs
Instructions
  1. Combine the mustard seed, vinegar, and water in a small jar and refrigerate overnight.
  2. Pour soaked mustard seed (and remaining liquid) into a food processor and add the remaining ingredients. Puree to desired consistency. Taste and add more honey or herbs if desired.
  3. Store in a clean mason jar. Refrigerate and use within 3-4 weeks.

 

RECIPE: Garden Herb Mustard #homemade #condiment #herbs

RECIPE: Chamomile Lavender Scones + Tea

RECIPE: Chamomile Lavender Scones + Tea

I’ve recently taken up the study of herbalism and have begun to create my own Materia Medica in the form of an artist’s book. I plan to spend time with each herb, watching it grow in my garden and harvesting, experimenting with different uses, and even learning its history and folk lore. Lately I’ve been learning and loving sweet, gentle chamomile.

RECIPE: Chamomile Lavender Scones + Tea

I have to admit, since beginning this project I’ve resisted moving on to a new herb. Chamomile is just so caring and nurturing and I’ve been in need of the comfort that chamomile brings. Enjoying a cup of chamomile tea before bed has become a new part of my nightly routine. The other night I decided to change things up a bit and make a chamomile latte by adding almond milk and chamomile infused honey. The result was sweet, creamy and extremely soothing.

RECIPE: Chamomile Lavender Scones + Tea

Chamomile Latte
 
Author:
Recipe type: Drinks
Ingredients
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup milk (I used almond milk)
  • 2 tablespoons dried chamomile
  • 1 teaspoon honey
Instructions
  1. Combine water, milk and dried chamomile in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then immediately turn down the heat and let simmer for 2 minutes. Strain mixture into a large mug and sweeten with honey.

The cool weather we’ve had this week has reminded me of the Chamomile Cupcakes I baked last summer. Wanting to try something new and use the Infused Sugar I made a while back inspired me to try out this recipe by Bird Is The Word PDX. This was my first time making scones and I think the flavors of both the chamomile and lavender come through quite nicely.

RECIPE: Chamomile Lavender Scones + Tea

Chamomile Lavender Scones
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: About 8
Ingredients
  • 2 cups flour
  • ½ cup chamomile infused sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried lavender
  • 1 tablespoon dried chamomile (stems removed and flowers crushed with mortar/pestle)
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 6 tablespoons butter, cut into ½" cubes
  • ½ cup + 2 tablespoons milk or cream
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons chamomile tea
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl mix together the dry ingredients including the lavender and chamomile. Cut the butter in with your fingers, working the mixture until it resembles a coarse sand.
  2. Add milk and mix with your hands until a dough forms. Roll out onto a floured surface to about 1" think. Use a pint glass to cut the scones out of the dough.
  3. Place onto a baking sheet lined with parchment. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until slightly golden.
  4. While the scones cool, brew up a cup of chamomile tea and add it one tablespoon at a time to the powdered sugar until a paste-like frosting forms. Drizzle it over the scones and enjoy!

These scones pair perfectly with a warm Chamomile Latte so whip up a batch and then enjoy the sweet, soothing flavor of chamomile.

RECIPE: Chamomile Lavender Scones + Tea

RECIPE: Scrap Veggie Broth to Perfect Any Recipe


Maybe everyone knows to make their own veggie broth. I didn’t until a couple of years ago when I had a pile of veggie scraps and an aha moment. After a couple of quick searches, I decided to toss everything in the slow cooker and see what happened.

AMAZING happened. I ended up with a complex  unique broth that I was eager to cook with.

Since then I’ve saved almost all my veggie and fruit scraps in a bag in the freezer, and when it gets full it gets turned into what I lovingly call “trash soup”.

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RECIPE: Scrap Veggie Broth in a slowcooker
 
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This simple veggie broth will use up all your fruit and vegetable scraps, and make your next meal that much better.
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 Tsp. Salt (to Taste)
  • A Variety of Raw Vegetable Scraps*
  • You can use skins, scraps, and leftover: Zucchini, Greens, Spinach, Okra, Apples, Tomatoes, Asparagus, Artichoke, Peas, Green Beans, Onions, Cabbage, Broccoli, Leeks, Garlic, Peppers, Carrot, Mushroom Stems, Herbs…. almost anything.
Instructions
  1. *Make sure to only use ingredients that you COULD eat fresh. Nothing dirty, slimy, moldy, etc. A little soft is fine. The key to the best broth is variety. Try not to use too much of anything with a strong flavor- but remember that this is a low pressure process. If it doesn't turn out, no big deal!
  2. Put all your scraps in a slow cooker and cover with water.
  3. Sprinkle salt over the mixture and mix it slightly with a spoon.
  4. Put crock pot on "low" and leave overnight– 10-20 hours– checking occasionally for taste and to stir gently.
  5. Ladle broth over a strainer to separate out vegetable scraps and broth.
  6. OPTIONAL: Simmer the broth on Med/High to condense the soup for freezing. Allow to cool completely before placing in a container or ziplock bag, and freeze until you're ready. (Make sure to label your container with tasting notes and a date.)

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For my broth today, I had a wide variety of veggies. From highest to lowest volume I used: zucchini, brussel sprout greens, tomatoes, onion, okra, mushroom stems, lemon rind, apple, bell pepper, and basil stems.


Make sure your scraps are clean and in relatively small pieces, then dump them into a medium crock pot,

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and cover them with water.

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Add about a teaspoon of salt (to taste) to the water.

Cover the crock pot, set it on “low” and let it do its thing through the evening and overnight. (It’s good to taste the broth, and stir occasionally to make sure everything is going well. If it starts to get bitter you can either stop the process, or give it some more time to possible cook itself out.)

After about 10-20 hours your concoction will look more like this:

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and will smell up your whole home in a delicious way. Use a ladle to spoon out the broth over a strainer…

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to separate out the broth and veggie chunks. Throw those depleted veggie scraps in the compost and look at what you’ve made!

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Beautiful, complex, broth– a perfect way to start almost any recipe.

Optional: If you want to save the broth for another day, you might find it useful to condense and freeze it. To do this, put your broth in a small pot and simmer on medium-high under a fan.

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Excess water will be released as steam, and after a while you’ll have a thicker, darker condensed broth. (This process can take some time, so I usually plan to do dishes, cleaning, or other kitchen activities while I wait.) Take the pan off the heat.  As your broth is cooling, do a final tasting and label your container (or ziplock bag) with tasting notes and a date.

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Then simply pour the cool broth into your container and freeze it for the perfect recipe. The more broths you make, the more you’ll notice differences in their flavor- making store bought broth seem ludicrous!

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We love adding the broths to everything we cook. It will kick up anything from soup, to sauces, to quinoa, and make you smile. (Promise.)

What I’ve Learned

•I’ve said it before, but variety is really key here. I usually leave a small collection of scraps in my freezer bag for the next broth, rather than using too much of one flavor.
•You may be an onion and garlic maniac, but don’t make a broth out of just those. Other veggies are necessary to cut the bitterness of over-extracted onions. Trust me.
•Good advice from a friend- “If the broth doesn’t taste good, throw it away. Don’t let it ruin a meal.” If your broth turns out weird or bitter, it’s not the end of the world. Try again next time!
•Try out a parmesan rind sometime, but otherwise avoid oils.
•Mellow fruits (like apples) make for a carmelly broth that would be lovely in a lot of dishes. Bolder fruits (cherries, berries, citrus) are best used in very small quantities.
•Some vegetables are stronger than others- broccoli, brussel sprouts, and cabbage can take over a broth completely. I don’t mind, but maybe you do?
•Yum.