Turkey Creek Lavender

Turkey Creek Lavender

Friday, December 31, 2010

Ring in the New Year with Purple Hull Peas!

Yes, you heard me right. It's a family tradition to have black eyed peas on New Years Day, but I found a pea at our Farmer's Market that I love a whole lot more...Purple Hull Pinkeye Peas. Yes sir, they are delicious! A cousin to the black eyed pea, the purple hulls have a pink eye, and are much more tasty and sweet.

Believed to have been brought to America from Africa during the slave trade, they fall into the category of Cowpeas, which were originally planted to feed livestock. Some stories report that during the Civil War Confederate troops and slaves ate cowpeas when other food sources were stolen, pillaged, or destroyed by Union troops.

Highly nutritious, they are low in fat and sodium, have no cholesterol, are high in potassium, iron, fiber and protein. You can easily replace the black eyed peas called for in recipes like Hoppin' John, or Texas Caviar with purple hulls. You can even replace the beans in your chili with purple hulls. For even more info on purple hulls click over to purplehull.com and read about the Purple Hull Pea Festival held each year in Emerson, Arkansas. Yes, there's even a festival dedicated to purple hulls where they have a pea shelling contest, and recipes galore, like Purple Hull Pea Salsa, Purple Hull Pea Jelly, Purple Hull Pea Salad. You can even pick up growing tips. Not only do they grow in poor soil, but are drought tolerant, too, and they like the heat. No wonder they grow so well here in southwest Oklahoma! You better believe I dried some to use as seeds this year! I have the perfect poor, sandy, loamy soil just waiting to be planted.

Over the course of the fall season at the market I bought about 40 pounds of purple hulls. Yes, I love them that much! I shelled the first 15 or so pounds by hand. It was relaxing, but tedious. Then Elizabeth Murphy of Murphy Farms brought her handy dandy pea sheller. Whooeee! I am so glad she did. It saved my thumbs! She not only shells them with this thing, she even bags them for you, ready to take home and cook! Thanks Elizabeth!

When I asked about blanching and freezing, the advice I was given was to just go ahead and cook them and freeze them in bags. I'm sure glad I took this piece of advice (thanks Nealis!) because now all I do is thaw, heat, and eat. So perfectly easy. And cooking was easy, too. After they were shelled I just put them in a big pot and covered them with water, added a little salt, some bacon drippings, and sometimes a few chopped jalapenos to make a few batches spicy. Then just simmered them until they were tender. (If you are not fortunate enough to have access to fresh purple hulls, Bush's, and Allen's offer canned, and Pictsweet offers frozen. Never tried any of them so can't vouch for them. Just plan on growing your own this year, okay?!! Check out my favorite heirloom seed supplier, Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds!)

One of my favorite ways to use purple hulls is to make Hoppin' John using Zatarains Dirty Rice Mix. First just brown a pound of ground beef (in my case venison), add the Dirty Rice Mix, spice packet, and water as per the directions. Cook till done and stir in the purple hull peas at the end and let them heat through.

Traditionally served with greens, which represent paper money, and cornbread, which represents gold, the peas are believed to represent coins, and are eaten to ensure luck and prosperity in the new year.

For New Years Day we'll be enjoying our purple hulls with ham and Aunt Alberta Pedigo's Hot Water Cornbread recipe. Now that's a whole 'nother treat! Where I'm from we make our cornbread in an iron skillet or a corn stick pan, but when I visited southeast Texas country, specifically Nederland, Port Arthur, Port Neches, nearly 30 years ago, Aunt Alberta introduced me to all sorts of new treats, and Hot Water Cornbread was one of them. I still can't get mine to taste as good as hers, and sort of doubt I ever will, but I keep tryin'.  

So dear ones, I wish you a very happy, healthy, prosperous 2011, filled with lots of love, and laughter, and joy. Thank you for following Turkey Creek Lavender on our journey this past year. I am so excited about the coming new year, and what wonderful and exciting things are ahead!

Warmest Regards,

Friday, December 24, 2010

Baby It's Cold Outside! Bring on the Easy Potato Chowder!

Merry Christmas dear friends!

We are in Missouri spending time with our family. A little sleet, a little rain, but thankfully not much else. So on this chilly, rather blustery Christmas Eve my Mom fixed a wonderful simplified version of potato soup called Bacon, Cheese and Potato Chowder. So good with some crusty french bread. She's always coming up with delicious new soup recipes for us. And it's easy, too!

Bacon, Cheese and Potato Chowder
3 cups milk
1 can (10 3/4 oz.) condensed Cream of Potato Soup
2 cups frozen Southern-Style Hash Browns
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 slices bacon, cooked crisply, crumbled
2 green onions, thinly sliced
Mix milk and soup in a large saucepan. Stir in hash browns. Bring to a boil on high heat, stirring occasionally; simmer on medium-low heat 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Serve topped with cheese, bacon and green onions.

This can easily be doubled or tripled to feed a crowd, as we had to do for our crew. So quick and easy we even made it to candle light service on time! (I was thinking it would be a quick and easy dinner for the day after Christmas, after a long day of hitting the sales!)

It's time for Mrs. Claus to fill some stockings. Yes, even adult children love their stocking stuffers!

Hugs and good wishes!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Russian Teacakes, Noel Nutballs, Snow Balls, Crumpets...Call Them What You Will, They're a Christmas Tradition at the Field Household

I make batches and batches of these scrumptious little powdered sugar covered balls every year. I don't know why we love them so much.

Okay, yes I do. They're not too big, or too small. They're not overly sweet. The recipe doubles easily, and I can fit alot on a cookie sheet. They're good with, or without, the nuts. They're good with coffee, or tea, or hot chocolate. Everyone seems to like them.

And there's a story to go along with the recipe, but you probably knew that was coming. When I was in the second grade I was very sick. It seemed like I was sick for a very long time. Long enough to become overly attached to my mother, and fearful of returning to school. My mother, wise woman that she is, tried to help me assimilate, and reconnect with my classmates. So one day we made Russian Teacakes. I don't remember if they had nuts or not, probably not, since kids really don't like nuts. At any rate, I took the little cookies to school and proudly shared them with my classmates, which helped me come out of my shy little shell and actually interract with the other kids. That was a very hard year for me, but thanks to my Mom, and the Russian Teacake recipe from the red Betty Crocker Cookbook, my adjustment was made just a little easier.  Amazing what sticks with a seven year old child, isn't it?

When the kids were little I didn't add nuts to the recipe and they were called Snow Balls. For teachers, neighbors, friends, co-workers, the mail person, whomever, they look darling tied up in cello treat bags printed with snowmen, packaged in mugs, or cute little plates...you get the idea. And, the dough is easy for kids to handle. It's messy, but they love to roll them in the powdered sugar!

Russian Teacakes
1 cup margarine or butter, softened (I use margarine)
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup finely chopped nuts
Powdered sugar

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Mix margarine, 1/2 cup powdered sugar and the vanilla. Mix in flour, salt, and nuts until dough holds together. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place about 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake until set but not brown, 10-12 minutes. Roll in powdered sugar while warm; cool. Roll in powdered sugar again. Makes about 4 dozen.

I know you're wondering if I added lavender to this recipe. Yes, I did. But, not wanting to mess with tradition, I made a few for myself. First I ground the lavender and mixed it with the powdered sugar for rolling, then I added lavender buds to the dough. The verdict? Both variations were good, but there was a stronger lavender taste when the buds were added to the dough. It's a matter of taste whether you like a milder or stronger lavender note.

Wishing you a day filled with Christmas happiness! Cathy

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Getting Married This Winter, or Even Down the Road? Look to Lavender for Inspiration

Whether you're getting married now, or in the near future, or just dreaming of what your wedding will be like one day, lavender is a beautiful, and lovely smelling, addition to any wedding. Below is a gorgeous idea board created by Coco and Kelley, who did a guest post on Snippet and Ink today. Both of these ladies provide fantastic inspiration! It makes me wish I were getting married again. Or planning another wedding. Or even an anniversary celebration. Or a party. Perhaps my open house this summer...hmmmm....

These ladies put together some of the most wonderful inspiration boards anywhere. So creative, and so imaginative. Even if you are just party planning you can find all sorts of ideas. But, of course, the ones I am most enthralled by are the ones that contain lavender. 
Lavender and Navy Inspiration board from Snippet and Ink

Lavender and Cherry Inspiration Board from Snippet and Ink

Lavender and Gingerbread Inspiration board from Snippet and Ink

Consider using lavender sachets as wedding favors.  Organza bags filled with dried lavender, buds, or lovely little squares hand sewn in a coordinating fabric, perhaps hand stamped or embroidered with your special date, would be a beautiful, and long lasting favor for your guests to cherish.

Lavender wands are also a unique wedding favor, woven with a lovely ribbon.
Instead of rose petals, your flower girl could sprinkle lavender. And lavender makes a wonderful wedding toss instead of rice or bird seed. It is not only something different, but it adds that beautiful lavender fragrance, and, when it is time for clean-up, it freshens the air and the vacuum.

Use lavender in your signature reception drink. Monin makes a wonderful lavender syrup. I've offered it at my last two shows and it has been popular with the more adventurous lavender lovers. Or you can make your own lavender simple syrup, as we did here. Lavender Mojito's, Lavender Margarita's, Lavender Martini's all sound devine. But just infusing punch with lavender, making lavender lemonade, or limeade, or adding lavender syrup to white wine, as we did with Lilet, adds a special, and different, touch to any wedding.

Lavender Shortbread, sugar cookies, or crumpets make a wonderful little edible wedding favor, all tied up in a cute bag, or added to the dessert table, or even used as edible place cards with the guests names written in icing. Perhaps lavender petit fours...or lavende cupcakes, or...oh the ideas are endless!
(My apologies, I don't remember
where I got this from.)

Of course, fresh lavender makes a beautiful and fragrant bouquet either alone, or in combination with other flowers. And you have the added bonus of simply hanging your bouquet and drying it as a sweet reminder of your special day. The range of lavender colors, from palest lavender to darkest purple, go with a wide range of other colors, like orange, apple green, yellow. (Just hop over to Snippet and Ink for some more inspiration!)
(Sorry, source unknown)

Naturally I think lavender soap of any kind makes a fantastic wedding favor. It smells wonderful, it looks good, and it's usable. What could be better?! And with a custom label...wow!

Lavender also represents love and affection. What could be better for a wedding? And you have the added aromatherapy bonus...you, and all of your guests, will be calm and relaxed! (And hopefully the groom!)

Just a little wedding inspiration for all of you brides thinking about using lavender in your upcoming nuptials! Happy browsing. I hope you get inspired! And keep in mind, the lavender blooms in June here at Turkey Creek Lavender. Of course, we make soap all year, and have dried buds for your wedding rice, dried bundles, and wreaths! Hop on over to our Pinterest page for more inspiration.


Monday, December 13, 2010

You'll Love These Fruitcake Cookies, Even if You Don't Love Fruitcake!

I don't like fruitcake. That's right. I'll admit it. I deplore the waxy fruit filled logs that arrive in the stores in November and December. I apologize in advance to anyone who craves this concoction, but I just can't eat it. Not with whipped cream. Not with liquor laden whipped cream. Not with ice cream. Not with anything. Not at all. Nada. Zip. Zilch.

Any number of sites extol the history, and the virtues, of fruitcake. Poems and odes have been written about fruitcake. And I respect the history which supposedly dates to Roman times.  I understand dried fruit and dough. I do. I like the German Stollen, and the Italian Panettone, perhaps because they are more of a fruit filled bread, and not a sticky mess.

Okay, so now that I've gotten that off my chest...I love, love my mother's Fruitcake Cookies  I love the fruit to dough texture. Sort of cakey, but sort of soft cookie. I love the nuts. And the bourbon. And they're so easy. And so good with a steaming mug of hot coffee, or a little glass of egg nog. I think they might be semi-healthy. Hope so...I had four for breakfast.

Norma Cope's Fruitcake Cookies
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup butter, softened
4 eggs
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon all spice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup whiskey
2 cups nuts, chopped (I use half pecans and half walnuts)
1 cup raisins
1 cup fruit cake fruit mix

Mix all together, drop by teaspoons and bake 8-10 minutes at 350 degrees.

NOTE: Sometimes I roll them in granulated sugar when they are warm from the oven, or powdered sugar as they cool, or even drizzle a little glaze across the top, but I think it sort of hides the delicious flavor.

And that's it. Soooo good! Even Sukie helped. Okay, so she was just waiting for me to drop things. It is her first Christmas after all.

Happy Baking!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Cooking with Lavender: Easy, Quick, and Delicious Lavender Vinaigrette, and Why I Like Turnips in My Salad

Yes, you heard that right. Turnips. In my salad. They're so much better, and sweeter, than radishes, which have too much of a bite for me, and can be so bitter. And, I probably have an acre of turnips right now. We plant a mixture that feeds the animals in the winter, and then gets tilled under in the spring for green manure. Edible turnips are just an added benefit.

Raw turnips are good. Really! And good for you. Really! An excellent source of vitamins C, B6, and E, and copper, manganese, folic acid, calcium and fiber. And the turnip tops, or greens, are a nutritional power house, with vitamins A, C, K, calcium, lutein, and folate. (Although, the only way I like to cook them is using Paula Deen's recipe for collard's.)

I did not like turnips in any way, shape, or form growing up. I hated the smell of them cooking. But as you get older, which you've probably experienced yourself, you find your taste changing, and you find yourself eating things you never did before. Like turnips, and cabbage, and sweet potatoes, and pecan pie. I really don't know why. Taste buds change, I guess. I know my husband and father-in-law add hot sauce or red pepper to everything known to man. I think their taste buds are dead.

And did you get the last issue of Everyday Food? The December issue with the cookies on the front? I can't wait to try the recipes for Honey Glazed Turnips, (and I'm thinking I may use lavender honey!) and Turnip Sweet Potato Gratin. I already add turnips to mashed potatoes. But don't tell my boys. And I add them to my roasted root vegetables tossed in olive oil with herbs de provence. When they are very small and new I simply saute them with butter. Delicious!

Here's a cute story, and then we'll get to the Lavender Vinaigrette. I used to pester my Grandma Cope with thousands of questions about growing up in the old days, and she would patiently tell me things, like how to bleed a pig and make hog head cheese (gross!), how to render fat, and so forth. But when she was a little girl, and food was a mite scarce in the fall and winter months, they would cook the big turnips in the woodstove in the morning, then they would put the hot turnips in their pockets and carry them to school to keep their hands warm. Then they would eat their turnips for lunch.

So when we got back from Thanksgiving I had some yummy leftover Turducken and wanted a light dressing that wouldn't overpower the delicious combination of flavors. So I made my version of Lavender Vinaigrette. Hopefully, you've already made the infused Lavender Honey, or have some lavender honey on hand. The addition of the raw turnips, which I picked fresh from the field, so sweet and crispy, made such a delicious combination I just had to share it with you!

Lavender Vinaigrette
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 cup olive or grapeseed oil
1 tablespoon lavender honey
1/2 teaspoon chopped culinary lavender buds
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper to taste
Whisk vinegar, mustard, and culinary lavender in a bowl. Drizzle in oil and whisk in. Whisk in lavender honey. Add salt and pepper to taste.
NOTE: You can also use your food processor. This recipe doubles easily.

Thanks for stopping by today. If you have any great recipes for turnips please share them. I have alot of turnips to cook this winter!

Have a great day! Cathy

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Grab a Cup of Tea and Take Just a Moment

I loved this the first time I saw it. And the second. And the third. And the fourth. Perhaps some of you have seen it. If not, it is a wonderful affirmation for women, for faith in yourself, for believing that you have value, that your ideas, your dreams, your visions, and your aspirations, are important, and valid. That you should give yourself credit, or give yourself a break, and believe wholeheartedly that you are a beautiful, wonderful, and creative person. I see you. I applaud you. For everything you do, for everything you are.

If you've seen it, it's worth seeing again. Or, just pass it on to someone who needs it. If you haven't seen it, enjoy. It's always nice to take just a moment for ourselves during this hectic time of year.

Thank you, dear reader, for following this blog, for giving it value, and giving me voice.


Monday, December 6, 2010

How to Make a Simple Lavender Filled Christmas Cone or Tussie Mussie

Happy Monday!

I love Monday, the first day of the work week, a week ripe with possibility and promise. Especially after a wonderful weekend at the Christ Kindle Markt meeting new people, seeing old friends and followers of Turkey Creek Lavender, and talking about the lavender, the soap, and so much more! There was such inspiration, and so many talented and creative people! I'm always so energized after a show. The wheels start turning and I can't wait to start something new.

So before I begin my holiday cleaning, decorating, and baking marathon, I wanted to share a simple Christmas decoration that I made, and sold at the shows, using lavender: Lavender Filled Christmas Cones.

So many of you are already scrapbookers, or, like me, are obsessed with beautiful paper and pattern. And many of you have already made cones before. Many of you are just lavender lovers, or are looking for a little French feel for your Christmas tree. Perhaps you purchased some of our lavender bundles...

...or grew your own, and now have an abundance of dried lavender.  Well, here's an easy and quick tutorial on how to combine all of these things. The beauty of it is you have carte blanche to be creative in your choice of papers, ribbon, embellishments, glitter, trim, charms, lace, etc. So easy, so elegant, and it smells so divine!

You will need: lovely scrapbook paper, sheet music, or book pages, ribbon, double sided tape, tacky glue, dried lavender, and any other embellishments of your choice. 
First, select your paper. I mostly use 8 1/2 x 11 but you can use the larger sized paper, the double sided paper, whatever paper you want dictated by whatever size cone you want. For the sake of today's tutorial I am using the 8 1/2 x 11.

Cut the paper in half...

...and in half again. In other words, quarter it.

Now you have four 3 1/2 x 5 1/2 pieces. Roll one square into a cone shape...
...open back up and apply double sided tape to the end...
...re-roll into a cone shape, pressing to seal, and making sure the point of the cone is tight. Sometimes I have to apply a small piece of double sided tape to the edge at the tip so it lays completely flat.
Now you have a lovely little cone.
Just trim off the excess and you're ready to apply ribbon. Sometimes I leave it like this and add ribbon all the way around, and put the hanger on the back, making a little tussie mussie. Either version is cute.
Don't worry if it's not perfect, you'll be covering the edge with ribbon.
Now choose your ribbon... 
...apply double sided tape to the edge...
...wrap ribbon around the top of the cone over the double sided tape, overlapping slightly...
...you can tack down the end with a smidge of tacky glue if needed...trim off the excess ribbon...cut a desired length of ribbon for the hanger and apply double sided tape to the end. Press on the inside of the cone, and repeat on the opposite side. I extend it pretty far down in the cone so it doesn't pull lose.
And here's your cone, ready to fill! 
Gather a little bundle of lavender together, enough to generously fill your cone, and trim to fit down inside.
Squirt tacky glue into the tip of the cone (this is why you want that tip tight!), and put your cute little bundle of lavender inside, pressing down into the glue.
Voila! Lovely little lavender filled cones for your tree, your wreath, your garland, for gift giving, ornament exchange, to attach to gifts, to include in gift bags, and so on.
Now you can get out your old buttons, lace, etc. and glue on. I like to keep it simple so I usually don't add anything, preferring to let the lavender and lovely paper shine. But occasionally I add an antique button or two.
Good luck with your holiday decorating. I hope you're adding a little lavender love in here and there. 

"Taking lavender out of the closet and bringing it into your life every single day!"  

Saturday, December 4, 2010

New Soap at the Christ Kindl Markt This Weekend

Hi all! Yes, it's true. I will have three new soaps at the Christ Kindle Markt at Fort Sill. If you follow me on Facebook you know I recently became enamoured with Coffee Butter. It's just so lucious! And so emollient. And smells just like coffee. I was inspired by a friend of mine from Sicily, who always made me an Italian espresso and added a dose of anise liqueur, to create the Lavender Italian Espresso soap. Loaded with coffee butter and special essential oils, it's so yummy! Just a touch of ground coffee in the topmost layer gives it a bit of an exfoliating scrub. Nice to add to a gift basket with espresso and Sambucca for Christmas!

And we all know the Lavender Lemongrass is the number 1 bestseller. But, I suppose because I was in an Italian mood, I created a lovely Lavender Lemon Drop with lemon essential oil. Smells just like a lemon drop. The lower part of this lovely bar has lavender buds from this years harvest, and the topmost layer has ground calendula petals, then the whole bar is topped with calendula petals. The addition of shea butter makes this bar extra emolient. So lovely and lucious!

The third soap is Lavender Bay Rum with lavender, bay rum, and a hint of bergamot, cinnamon and clove essential oils, topped with a sprinkling of ground cinnamon. I added ground cornmeal for a little extra texture and gentle exfoliation. Not too spicy, not too sweet, but just right.

Just a few of the other items we'll have on hand...

...all natural cedar sachets from Turkey Creek Farm. We trim and dry the boughs, then grind the cedar and package it in these cute muslin bags. All natural, straight from the farm. Some people buy these to burn as natural incense, or for smudging. (I personally love burning cedar and lavender together but ritual smudging is a whole other post.)

Just a quick look at few of the other items we'll have on hand tomorrow and Sunday: beautiful wreaths, Kathy Gehrt's new lavender cookbook, lavender and herb spoon garden markers (so clever!), Monin Lavender Syrup for lavender drink concoctions, and lavender filled cones for your french inspired Christmas tree. Stop by and fill up a bag for yourself or a lavender lovin' friend! Plus a selection of lavender soaps, candles and handmade scarves that are shades of lavender, purple, and smell like lavender essential oil.

See you tomorrow!


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