Turkey Creek Lavender

Turkey Creek Lavender

Thursday, January 28, 2010

La La La La Lavender Laundry Soap. Sweet!!

Have I got a recipe for you today! Oh yeah.

It's not something you can eat, but it makes you feel oh, so good! And no calories!


















Lavender Laundry Soap...It's relaxing, and oh so soothing, and you'll feel pampered, and spoiled, as you snuggle up in your cozy sweet-smelling sheets. And that's not all folks, in addition to the aromatherapeutic benefits...It's inexpensive, environmentally friendly,  safe to use on fine and antique linens, and this low-sudsing formula is safe for front-loading washing machines, too. Sold? Well alright then...let's get started.

There are 4 ingredients in this Laundry Soap: 20 Mule Team Borax, Arm and Hammer Washing Soda, Fels Naptha Laundry Soap Bar, and lavender essential oil.


















For this recipe we will use: 1 cup of Fels Naptha, grated.

















First I cut it into chunks for easier handling. Then I put it in my ancient, harvest gold blender I've had for 30 years and pulse on grate. Some people use their food processor, some grate by hand. I like the blender.
This is what you will end up with...
Now I mix in 2 teaspoons of lavender essential oil, NOT fragrance oil.
Give it a whirl, then add 1/2 cup Arm and Hammer Washing Soda, 1/2 cup 20 Mule Team Borax, and whirl it some more.
This is what it will look like. You can also place the grated soap and the other ingredients in a large bowl and stir together. You get the same result, but I like to really incorporate all of the ingredients.
Store in a pretty container, and use 1/4 cup per load, perhaps less for front loaders. (I don't know...I have a plain old top loader!) If you decide to do all of the sheets in the house, and all of the pj's, just so everyone has a restful night, and you end up with an extra large load, use 1/2 cup.

Now if you want to share, or use this as a gift, here's a cute packaging idea.
Add a tag with instructions, a pretty bow, maybe even put it in a muslin bag. Your friends will thank you.

And if you want to take it a step further...

...add linen spray to give them even sweeter dreams, and lavender-filled dryer sachets. Nice.
Molly thanks me...she's having sweet dreams right now...on my clean sheets...hey wake up, and get down...

Have a sweet day, and sweet dreams!

CL


Monday, January 25, 2010

The Promise of Spring


If you're like me you've been cooped up inside due to rain, snow, sleet, hail, cold, or all of the above, wondering when spring will get here. Certainly not soon enough!

On Christmas Eve 2009 we had an unusually bad blizzard for Oklahoma. We were due to travel for the holiday but found ourselves snowbound at home.


We had an unexpected visit from the neighbor's miniature ponies. They were fun to watch in the snow.


The sunset was beautiful looking out over the upper lavender field.  














QUICK PROJECT IDEA!
Here is a darling idea for packaging some bulbs for a spring pick me up gift for a friend, neighbor, or someone who needs a boost.

Purchase some bulbs. I like Narcissus for their lovely pure white color, and Hyacinth for their delicious fragrance. Remove them from their original packaging. Place some colorful shredded paper in the bottom of a cellophane bag, place the bulbs in the bottom, and tie with a lovely ribbon, or jute twine, as I did below.  And voila! A nice little spring pick me up for someone special.


Here's to thinking happy, warm thoughts!

Thanks for stopping by!

CL

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Pioneer Woman Ree Drummond's "Cinnamon Rolls" on a Lazy Sunday...Yum!

Good morning, good morning, good morning!

Cinnamon Rolls on a lazy Sunday morning? Yes, please. Coffee? Check. Cream in your coffee? Check. Crossword puzzle? Check. We're good to go.

These are cinnamon rolls I made from Ree Drummond's cookbook, "The Pioneer Woman Cooks." Ree is from right here in Oklahoma, north of Tulsa, and lives on a ranch in Podunk, Nowhere. The recipes in her cookbook are really good. This cinnamon roll recipe was so easy and the dough was so nice to work with. I've made quite a few of her recipes and will feature them here from time to time. Warning: If you are on a diet avoid these recipes. There is alot of butter!

If you live points north you may not have heard of Ree Drummond. Just google The Pioneer Woman and you'll see her blog link (or try the one below). Great recipes, great photos, fun read, fun site.

Have to go....cinnnamon rolls are calling!

All the best,
CL

http://thepioneerwoman.com/

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Cooking with Lavender: Infusing Honey with Lavender


             

Morning all!

It's Saturday morning, and I am hungry for some hot, fluffy, homemade biscuits with oozy, melting butter, and honey. Lavender Infused Honey to be more specific. It is so easy to make, and it adds such a unique flavor to the honey that pretty soon you, too, will be eating it every day.

Honey, in and of itself, has so many natural medicinal benefits. Adding lavender to the mix not only introduces the flavor, but the herbal benefits of the lavender. Now, there is naturally flavored lavender honey, created when the hives are placed in the lavender fields, but here in Lawton, Oklahoma we don't have that luxury, so infused honey is the next best thing. (Tipton Honey will be putting an experimental hive in my upper field this spring, so I will let you know how that goes. So exciting!!)

My father has always eaten honey on his cereal in the mornings, and he is the healthiest older (ahem, cough, cough) gentleman I know.  Whether it is true or not, and studies have been inconclusive, he believes that if you eat local, raw honey it will help with your allergies to the local flora. A natural immunotherapy, if you will. And I agree. I buy my honey from Tipton Honey, right here in southwest Oklahoma and I swear it has helped my allergies. I eat it every single day, on toast, in tea, and just out of the spoon. And I am infusing it with lavender grown right here at Turkey Creek Farm.

In addition to the benefits, infusing honey is just plain fun. I also infuse honey with cinnamon, which I like on an English muffin. You can infuse it with just about any herb, or spice. Imagine infusing it with rosemary then using that on a honey baked ham, or cinnamon and cloves for spice tea, or mint...Yum....the cooking applications are so exciting.

The key to using it raw, and reaping the health benefits, is not heating it above 115 degrees when infusing. There are natural enzymes in honey that aid digestion, as well as a whole list of other things, and if heated too high, those enzymes are destroyed.

DIRECTIONS FOR INFUSING HONEY: When I infuse honey I use 1 cup of raw honey and 2 tablespoons of dried lavender buds. Put 1 cup of honey in a sauce pan, heat slightly to no more than 115 degrees. Remove from heat and stir in 2 tablespoons of dried lavender buds. Cover and let cool. Taste and, if it is not as strong as you like, repeat. When it is the strength you want, strain the honey into a container, and discard the buds (although I suppose you could add these to a recipe if you wanted to). I always do this twice because I like to taste my lavender.

There are other methods for infusing honey, like adding the buds to cold honey and letting it sit in a dark cupboard for 2 weeks, but I'm too impatient for that. Or, putting the buds in a cheese cloth, but I like my honey to actually touch my lavender. I'm weird that way.

Did I mention the gift giving benefit? What an easy, neat gift, right? A set of 3 different infused honeys in a basket and a loaf of bread...(please remember me when you are gift giving!). Honey is delish on the Lavender Banana Bread we made the other day, fruit, ice cream, dressings, sauces, meats...well, the list goes on. And your face. Honey is good on your face. It makes a wonderful, cheap facial, is naturally moisturizing and anti-bacterial. Just Google it, and you'll see.

Enjoy your honey, honey!

CL

Friday, January 22, 2010

A Prayer for Haiti

The continued coverage of Haiti is heartbreaking. I imagine, like myself, Haiti is on your mind. Perhaps you have already donated to one of the many relief organizations. Something we can all do is pray. Last year, at Thanksgiving, my mother sent me this Thanksgiving Prayer by Samuel F. Pugh. It is so appropriate.

Oh, God, when I have food,
help me to remember the hungry;
When I have work, help me
to remember the jobless;
When I have a warm home,
help me to remember the homeless;
When I am without pain,
help me to remember those who suffer;
And remembering, help me
to destroy my complacency
and bestir my compassion.
Make me concerned enough to
help, by word and deed,
those who cry out
for what we take for granted.

Samuel F. Pugh

"For I was hungry and you gave Me food, I was thirsty and you gave Me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed Me..." Matthew 25:35.

Cooking With Lavender: Herbes de Provence, and Roasted Root Vegetables

Hi! Hope you're enjoying your day. Thanks for stopping in.

I mixed up a big batch of Herbes de Provence yesterday and it smelled so delicious I just had to use it on something for dinner. Just like lavender is my go to scent, Herbes de Provence is my go to seasoning. It adds a little French flair to just about anything, creating an aromatic, sensory experience that transports you right to the sights and scents of Provence, France. (You may have to close your eyes and pretend, okay? Just humor me.)

Herbes de Provence, aka Provencal Herbs, is associated with the Provencal region of France. While there are many different recipes floating around they almost always include rosemary and thyme becuase they are abundant in the area. There is a little leeway with the other herbs, but in general most mixes, mine included, have basil, savory, fennel, marjoram, and lavender, in addition to the rosemary, and thyme. Some sources claim lavender was added at a later date to cater to the tourist industry, but Herbes de Provence would just not be the same without lavender's distinct floral note. (And that's my opinion and I'm stickin' to it!)


The beauty of Herbes de Provence is that it is so very versatile. If you don't like fennel, leave it out. I go back and forth. I like it in the fall and winter, and not in the spring and summer. You can vary the ingredients by adding chopped bay leaves, orange zest, sage, celery seeds, coarse pepper, red pepper flakes...you get the idea. If you add coarse salt, you've now made Salt Provencal. Ooh la la, you are so clever!

Herbes de Provence can be used on, and in, so many dishes. Pizza sauce, roasted and grilled meats, vegetables, soups, stew, salad dressing, fritatas, omelettes, foccacia, pasta, fish, etc. We have several favorites around here. Rubbing a whole chicken inside out with olive oil, and sprinkling liberally, inside and out, with Herbes de Provence, coarse salt, and pepper and roasting at 350 degrees for an hour is one of our favorites. Also pork loin done the same way. And it is especially good in stews. (Around here that is venison stew, but that's another story.) And bread....yummy yummy sprinkled on olive oil for dipping bread!


When I mix this up in small quantity I use 2 tablespoons of each herb, and usually 1/2 tablespoon of fennel because it can be a little strong. You can easily adjust this to taste, and what you have in your spice cabinet.

So, measure and mix: basilic, romarin, thym, sarriette, fenovil, lavande, marjolaine. Yes, it is French. No, I don't speak French, but I do know how to use the online translator... just let it trill off your tongue...just once...you will feel so Pepe Le Pew...the cartoon character...skunk...no? Forget it.


This is what it will look like. And this...


is what I made to go with dinner...Provencal Roasted Root Vegetables. You don't even need a recipe. I cut up carrots, red potatoes, turnips, onion, and coarsely chopped garlic. You can add whatever hearty root veg you want. My sweet sis-in law likes red onions and sweet potatoes in hers. It's whatever you like. And...you can just roast the potatoes by themselves...they're scrumptious!


Cut up vegies, drizzle with olive oil...

...sprinkle with about 2 tablespoons Herbes de Provence...

....toss to coat...

Bake at 400 degrees about 40-60 minutes, or until the vegies are fork tender and, voila! A great side dish!

(My brother etched this turkey on my container for Turkey Creek Lavender. Isn't that clever?)

My recommendation...mix up a bunch and keep it next to the stove. You'll use it...alot!

Happy cooking!
CL

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Cooking With Lavender: The Best (and easiest) Banana Bread

Good Morning Everyone,

I looked outside today and expected it to be sunny, but, alas, it was dreary. Which put me in the mood to bake. But then, again, I'm always in the mood to bake. I just needed an excuse. And since I have an abundance of overripe bananas in the freezer, voila! Banana Bread. Now, this is my go-to recipe for Banana Bread, but I will be making it extra special by adding 1 Tablespoon of my culinary lavender buds.

The key to baking with lavender is not to overdo it. It can be an overpowering flavor so it's best to go easy. Here at Turkey Creek Lavender we grow Provence as our culinary lavender. Even though the milder English lavenders are favored by some for baking, they do not grow well in my area., so, again, I am very judicious about how much I add to any recipe.

 Do you have things like this in your freezer? No? You mean you just throw your overripe bananas away? They do hurt when they slide out and land on your toe. Well, save them and make banana bread, or banana muffins.

I originally got this recipe years ago from a friend named Joanne. And I've made it ever since. I used to mix it in a blender or food processor, as her recipe suggests, but I found that you just have to stir it up in a bowl and it comes out just as good. Sometimes I seperate the ingredients, as I did for these pictures, but most of the time I just dump it all in a bowl and stir. The biggest TIP is that your bananas need to be overripe, and by that I mean brown...very brown.

The written recipe will be at the end of this post.
Peel and mash 2 medium ripe bananas in a large bowl.
Stir the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt together in a seperate bowl.
 Add 2 eggs, vegetable oil, and buttermilk to the bananas. (See note on buttermilk at the end of this post.) Stir to combine.
 
Now thoroughly stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.
Measure out 1 Tablespoon of culinary lavender buds. Give them a quick chop to release their lavender goodness!
Stir the lavender buds into the batter.

Spray loaf pans with vegetable spray. This recipe makes 1 large loaf (9x5), or 2 smaller loaves. I prefer the 2 smaller loaf pans, 7 3/8 x 3 5/8 x2 1/4, so I can keep one, and give one away!
Divide batter evenly between the two pans (or fill the 1 larger pan). Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 to 45 minutes for the 2 smaller loaves, or about 60 minutes for the large loaf, until they are a nice golden brown and start to slightly pull away from the sides.
 
Voila! Let the loaves cool until you can turn them out onto a baking rack to finish cooling. Don't try to remove them from the pans too early or they will stick, which you probably already know, but just thought I'd mention it just in case.

Enjoy your warm loaf right away, maybe with a little butter, some coffee or yummy lavender tea!

And package the other loaf to give away.

The Best (and Easiest) Banana Bread

2 medium ripe bananas
1 3/4 cup flour
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon buttermilk*
2 eggs
1 tablespoon culinary lavender, chopped slightly
1 cup nuts (optional) (TIP: I do not add nuts when I add lavender as it overpowers the subtle flavor)

*If I don't have buttermilk on hand I substitute 1/4 cup milk and 2 tablespoons lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray pans with vegetable oil spray. Measure the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt into a bowl, stir to combine. In a large bowl, mash bananas. Add the vegetable oil, buttermilk, and eggs, stir to combine. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Lightly chop 2 tablespoons of culinary lavender and stir into the batter. Pour the batter into 2 -7x3x2 inch loaf pans and bake 40-45 minutes, or one 9x5, and bake 60 minutes.

Enjoy! I hope you have a great day. I'm off to experiment with infusing honey for a later post.

CL


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