Turkey Creek Lavender

Turkey Creek Lavender

Thursday, May 27, 2010

What's For Dinner? Fresh Basil Pesto with Angel Hair Pasta!

Well, it's almost dinnertime. It's 90 degrees out. Too hot to cook, and my guys have gone fishing this evening. That sort of leaves me at loose ends for dinner, but hey, a girls still got to eat! As I was watering the herbs I saw that my basil has sort of exploded with the onset of the warm weather, so it's time for one of my very favorite things, Basil Pesto! Perfect timing since none of my guys like it. And, I picked up a handful of some multi-colored new potatoes the other day at the farmer's market. (No comments about the carbs please!)
This recipe couldn't be easier. You make it in the food processor. You might be able to do it in a blender if you don't have a food processor. I cut the recipe in half for just little ol' me and still had alot left over for tomorrow.

Fresh Basil Pesto
2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan or Romano Cheese (I used the kind in the can)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 c pine nuts or walnuts (I like walnuts)
3 medium garlic cloves, minced (I just give them a rough chop)
Salt and pepper to taste

In a food processor combine basil with the nuts, pulse a few times. (If you're using walnuts, pulse a few times before adding basil.) Add garlic, pulse a few more times.

Slowly add the olive oil in a constant stream while the food processor is on. Stop to scrape down the sides with a spatula. Add the grated cheese and pulse until blended. Add a little salt and pepper to taste.
This makes 1 cup and is excellent tossed with pasta, in a pasta salad, on toasted baguette slices, as a sandwich spread, on grilled fish, chicken, steak, and one of my favorites, as a base on a homemade white pizza. Yummmm! This can be used at room temperature, warmed, or cold. I tossed mine with angel hair pasta.
And I roasted those fresh, cute little new potatoes in olive oil and, you guessed it, herbs de provence. What else?!
I'm especially intrigued with these dark purple ones and what kind of lavender things I can do to them! So pretty. Wonder if they'd make a good potato salad...
Have a wonderful evening.

My New Favorite Way to Cook Broccoli!

Hi all,
I just had to take a minute to share my new favorite way to cook broccoli! Like Bubba Gump and his shrimp, I thought I'd prepared broccoli just about every way there is, but, strangely, I never thought to roast it in the oven. Who knew?! And I love it! Parts of it get sort of crunchy, other parts kind of carmelized. So yummy!

Naturally when I saw these babies at the Lawton Farmer's Market...
...I had to bring them home. Beautiful, organic, locally grown broccoli.

I got this recipe from Martha Stewart's March 2010 Everyday Food. Easy and delish, and you probably have everything on hand.

Roasted Broccoli with Garlic and Chile
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss together 1 head of broccoli (about 1 1/2 pounds), cut into long florets, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 5 garlic cloves (skin on), and 1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes. Season with coarse salt and ground pepper. Roast until broccoli is browned and tender, about 20 minutes, stirring halfway through. Toss with 1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice. Serves 4.

Note: I used more than 1 head of broccoli with the same increments and it was still just right. And I have also made this with a bag of frozen broccoli and it was just as good. Also, I roasted extra garlic cloves at the same time to use for other things, like spreading on sandwiches, and, yeah, I admit it, just eating plain. (I know, now I have garlic breath.) And sometimes I don't add the lemon juice, and it's still just as great. It is pretty spicy, so if you have little ones, either go easy on the red pepper flakes, or leave them off altogether.
And no, that is not my plate! (Even though I ate most of it...)


Sunday, May 23, 2010

Farmer's Market, Farm Fresh Eggs, and French Breakfast Puffs! Happy Sunday!

Good morning friends,

Saturdays early opening of the Lawton Farmer's Market went really well. There were seven of us there selling everything from started tomato and pepper plants, to broccoli, new potatoes, romaine lettuce, squash, onions, radishes, and a few other things, and, oh yeah...soap and lavender. That would be me.

I think people were pleasantly surprised to see the handmade soap offered at the market. I gave out all of my samples, and sold quite a few bars, a few bundles and talked alot about lavender. I think the lavender lemongrass was the most popular yesterday.

The official opening will be June 5, so make plans to be there early. The new potatoes went first thing!

I bought these beautiful eggs yesterday, and couldn't wait to use them. Farm fresh eggs are so much richer, and have a really beautiful orange yolk. There is no comparison between the store bought eggs and the fresh from the farm variety. And since we are having a lazy morning today before I have to go out and weed the lavender, I decided good old fried eggs and bacon would be a fitting tribute, and some wonderful French Breakfast Puffs.

My Mom used to make these, and truthfully, I haven't made them in years, but running across the recipe in the Pioneer Woman Cooks cookbook jogged my memory. They are a yummy butter and cinnamon laden breakfast confection! So rich, and so easy! They have a somewhat cakey texture, and naturally I wanted to add lavender, but the guys can only take so much floral, so I passed. But I bet it would be good. Maybe in a mini muffin pan to feed alot a little bite...hmmm...good idea...

French Breakfast Puffs
Makes 12

3 cups all purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup shortening
2 eggs
1 cup milk

1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease 12 muffin cups (I use vegetable spray).

In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg. Set aside. In a separate large bowl, cream together the sugar and shortening.Add the eggs and mix.Alternate adding 1/3 of the flour mixture and 1/3 of the milk to the creamed mixture, beating well after each addition.Fill the muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden. Remove the muffins from the pan and set aside.To make the coating, melt the butter in a bowl or glass pan, usually about a minute in the microwave. In a separate container, combine the sugar and cinnamon.Dip the warm muffins in the butter, coating thoroughly. Then roll in the cinnamon sugar mixture. Roll again. Really coat them. Really! Serve and enjoy!

Pioneer Woman Ree Drummond says these freeze well and can be reheated later. I don't think there will be any to freeze and reheat around here, but that's good to know for future reference.

Hope you have a wonderful, and relaxing Sunday. I'll be at the Lawton Farmer's Market on Wednesday with more soap and lavender. Hope to see you there!


Friday, May 21, 2010

Do Not Pay Big Bucks for Lavender Spray! Make Your Own!! And, Happy Birthday to my Big Little Girl!

Okay, I know you're wondering what this little toad has to do with lavender spray, aren't you? Well, it won't turn him into a prince, if that's what you're thinking. He just sort of startled me when he hopped from the ground up onto the tippy top of a bush, just at the exact moment I walked out the front door. And it was just a good picture.

So, first things first. Before we get to the lavender spray, linen spray, aromatherapy spray...whatever you want to call it...Happy Birthday to my grown up little girl, Katie!! 
She lives much, much too far away from Oklahoma in the Pacific Northwest, with her charming and handsome hubby Kyle.
If I get started I'll sound like a Hallmark card, so suffice it to say, have a wonderful day sweetie!

And now to the lavender spray. So easy, so inexpensive. Make it up and keep around all the time. Take it with you when you travel. Share it with everyone you know, far and wide. Seriously...don't be without it. Ever. 

I think we all know I love lavender. What? You didn't know that? Okay, well I do. And I'm hoping, if you're reading this, you are a lavender lover. Instead of spending $8-10 at the local bath and body shop for the sleepytime spray, or whatever it's called, spend that $8-10 on a bottle of lavender essential oil at the local health food store. Doesn't have to be a big bottle. Just make sure it is 100% lavender esssential oil. Not fragrance oil. For this post I am not going to go into depth about how aromatheraphy works on the brain. I'll save that for another day. But what we are wanting here are the benefits of the lavender essential oil.
To make this you will need:
1/2 cup distilled water
1 teaspoon witch hazel (or vodka)
5-6 drops of lavender essential oil
spray bottle (I got mine at Wal-Mart)
First put the witch hazel (or vodka) and the lavender essential oil into a jar or bottle, and shake. This allows it to emulsify before adding the water. Next, add the distilled water. Shake. Pour into the spray bottle and use. You may have to shake it before use to remix the oil. This can be doubled, tripled, whatever, and you can add more or less oil to suit your taste. I have tried the vodka because it helps disperse the spray and aids evaporation, but I much prefer the witch hazel for the versatility. 
At some point I will go into all the wonderful things I do with lavender eo, but for now here's what you can do with the spray made with witch hazel:

  • I use it as a toner after cleansing my face.

  • I chill it and spritz it on as a refresher.

  • I make up a double or triple amount, and dip, and wring, and chill washcloths in it to cool down after weeding in the heat. Feels great on your neck and face! Great if you have a headache, or a face ache.

  • Spray pillows, sheets and pj's to help you wind down and have a relaxing sleep.

  • Use it as a natural room spray.

  • Take it with you when you travel and spray bedding to repel dust mites and bed bugs.

  • Freshen your linen clost, clothes closet, coat closet, suitcases,  pet beds, carpets, stinky shoes, etc.

  • Freshen the babies sheets, use it as Monster Spray to repel those under bed monsters.

  • Use it for sunburn, use it as a Boo Boo spray.

  • Use it to freshen your lavender sachets, or drawer liners, your eye pillows, and neck wraps.

  •  I even had a friend use it to freshen her hair when the wood smoke made her smell!
I could go on and on about the uses, but you get the idea. The biggest benefit is probably that lavender essential oil is calming, eases anxiety, helps you unwind, calm down, relax, sleep better, and, hopefully, find a little peace in your busy day! And, you can pronounce everything that goes in it. It's natural. I promise in a future post we will discuss the particulars of lavender essential oil and its role in aromatherapy. 

A note on hydrosol: If you're lucky enough to have access to true lavender hydrosol, by all means, use that. Hydrosol is the water solution that is left after the lavender essential oil is seperated. It is wonderful and potent stuff. But making your own spray works when you don't have access to hydrosol.   
And this is my bottle, right next to my bed, waiting for me to spritz the heck out of everything!

Hope you have a wonderful day, and a peaceful evening.


Friday, May 14, 2010

It's a Rainy, Chilly, Dreary Day! What to do, what to do? I know...BAKE!

Hi friends,

Today it was once again a dreary, stormy, overcast day in Oklahoma.

Even Molly didn't want to get out in the downpour. Of course she is 44 days pregnant, so that might explain it. You can sort of see her big belly. Poor thing.

Anyway, it's days like these that make me want to heat up the oven, and go through the comforting routine of mixing, and baking, inhaling some delicious aroma, like cinnamon, followed by warm deliciousness on a plate, and maybe a blankie and my Kindle.

Now, I have to tell you, I cook, and bake, alot. Alot. A. Lot. But this kind of icky weather just drives me to it. (Or gives me an excuse to do it!)

So, today I am in the mood for some comfort food. Some stay in and keep me warm food. Something to go with hot coffee, or hot tea. Hot lavender tea.

Snap! I have just the thing. "Nana's Cake."

This is such an easy recipe. No mixer involved. And...it's wildly adaptable. While I'll give you the basic recipe that my Nana always used, you can (and I have!) change it up, by adding walnuts,  raisins, coconut, blueberries, or...uhummm...lavender, or a variety of other yummy things. Just make sure and let me know if you do a variation so I can try it too!

And...this is wonderful served for breakfast, or brunch. In fact, the girls I worked with dubbed it "Nana's Breakfast Cake" because they liked it early in the morning with coffee.

Nana's Cake
3 eggs beaten
3 cups flour
3 cups sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 cups bananas, diced
1 8-ounce can crushed pineapple
1/2 cup chopped nuts
(Today I also added a handful of fresh blueberries)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9 x 13 pan, or spray with cooking oil spray.

Mix all of the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. In another bowl, slightly beat the eggs and add the wet ingredients.

Add the wet to the dry and stir until blended.

 Bake for 1 hour. Serve warm or cool.

This cake doesn't need icing. It's already sweet, and has a nice crust. But I have sprinkled it with powdered sugar after it cooled just to dress it up and take it out. You could put a glaze on it, or a thin icing if you want, but it's really not necessary.

NOTE: I have also baked this in a sheet cake pan and cut into bars to feed a crowd. Just adjust your baking time accordingly. AND I use ripe bananas, not green ones.

So what book should I download for this afternoon? Hmmm...so many choices...

Wishing you warmth, wherever you are.


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

It's Tornado Season in Oklahoma and a Few Other Tidbits

Spring in Oklahoma means tornadoes. Yesterday 37 tornadoes were spotted across Oklahoma and parts of southern Kansas. In Norman, which is about 45 minutes away, there was lots of destruction. Vehicles and mobile homes were tossed and flipped, there was baseball sized hail. There have been five reported fatalaties related to yesterday's tornadoes, and at least 58 other reported injuries.

By now you've probably seen the video of the multi-vortex beast near Wakita. It looks like some evil hydra, writhing in the sky. 

And, a tornado touched down and left a swathe of destruction just east of Marlow in Bray, ripping off roofs, overturning vehicles. We're about 15 minutes from Marlow, and Bray is a little further east.

Our hearts go out to those affected by yesterdays onslaught. Tonight we're under another tornado watch, and the rest of the week doesn't look much better.

I did, however, get out and around the farm to snap a few pictures of the lavender growth...

And the roses...

And the coreposis...

And the blue-eyed grass...

And the yucca's...

And the field peas, which I think look like little orchids...

And made some delicious blackberry syrup. I put about four tablespoons in a glass of Pelegrino. Soooo good!

I got this handsome guy for Mother's Day.

I'm in love. He has that smirky sort of look I like, and I'm sure he's getting ready to let loose with something witty and clever. While I think his head would be lovely filled with dried lavender, he will be getting succulents instead. He does, however, need a name. Any ideas? I was thinking Sebastian perhaps....

Hope you're safe and sound, wherever you are.


Friday, May 7, 2010

"One Ingredient 'Ice Cream'"! I Had to Try It to Believe It! And You Will, Too!

I know! It's insane! Who knew?! It's a banana. That's right. I said a. ba.na.na.

I follow the cooking blog kitchn written by Sara Kate Gillingham Ryan. It is loaded with some wonderful recipes, and she's a young woman, which helps me keep up with new stuff, and not keep making the same old, same old, and I was reading her post about "Naughty Chicken" which involves vertically roasting a chicken in a bundt pan, much like beer can chicken without the can...but I digress.

Anyway, I saw this link on the left column and clicked, and just had to try it.

People, it is yummy!! Even my hubby liked it.  And easy. And a great way to eat your banana for the day. Or get your kids to eat their banana. Or if you're lactose intolerant. And if you're on a diet, it feels like cheating! Only way better. Cause you're not! And what better way to get potassium?! 

So, first you slice up a banana or two, and freeze the slices. After a few hours, you put it in the food processor and process until it looks like this...
...then you scoop it out, and eat it like soft serve. Kate suggests adding peanut butter at the end, which would be good for some protein. I had the urge to add chocolate, but that sort of defeats the purpose of a healthy choice. (Unless, of course, like me, you view chocolate as necessary to existence!)

For her complete instructions, and to visit her site go to kitchn.

This was not the blog post I had planned for today but I just had to share this! Have a great day, and thanks for stopping by!


Thursday, May 6, 2010

Hottest Day so Far Calls For Iced Tea with Mint Syrup!

I cannot believe it's going to be in the 90's on May 6!! Time to start making iced tea to keep cool! And what better way to enjoy iced tea than...you guessed it...flavored syrups. Ohhhhh yeah! Over the weekend I played with mint, and it is so, so yummy.

Just like making the simple syrups we've discussed before, like the lavender syrup, you put 1 cup of water and 1 cup of sugar in a saucepan.

Heat over medium high, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Bring to a boil, boil a few minutes, remove from heat, throw in a handful of fresh mint leaves, cover, let cool and steep to desired strength. Strain out the mint leaves, store in the fridge up to 1 week. (But you'll probably use it sooner than that!!)

For todays iced tea I simply added 2-3 tablespoons of mint syrup to a glass (I used a mason jar for fun!), and garnished with a fresh mint sprig. So easy, so good! Enjoy!

Have a wonderful day!


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Spring Babies! Bunnies and Birdies!

I love it when the spring babies arrive around the farm. While we don't keep domestic farm animals, like goats, or cows, or chickens, we have our share of wild animal babies. This week we have baby bunnies and birdies.

Mommy bunny was not too smart about building this nest. She placed it about a foot in front of Molly's kennel. Apparently I'm not too smart either, because I never noticed until the bunny fur started floating around. I thought one of the dogs had killed a baby bunny, or a hawk had left something behind, which has happened before. So, as I reached down to gather the fur and throw it away before the dogs got it...

...imagine my surprise when I removed the fur only to find...

...adorable baby bunnies!

Apparently they'd been there a week and neither the dogs nor I had noticed. And they were literally right under our noses. Once I disturbed their nest they started to squeal, alerting the dogs to their presence. So, for the next few days I had to stand over the nest when I let the dogs out because...well...they are hunting dogs after all. A few days later the nest was empty and the babies were gone.

We also have birds that return every spring to make nests on top of the rain gutter. She lays her eggs, they hatch, and before you know it the babies have exploded into fat little feathered fluff balls.

I'm amazed they all fit!

They're so big you'd think mother bird would be pushing them out of the nest, but she just kept feeding them like a good mommy bird until, a few days later, I startled them taking out the trash and they sort of fell out and flew off. Sort of a metaphor for the human family, don't ya think?

It's beeeeautiful here in southwest Oklahoma. Supposed to be in the upper 80's and sunny all day!

Hope you have a wonderful day. Thanks for stopping in!



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