Monday, December 5, 2016

Deal-of-the-Day - Hot Cocoa and Chocolate Shortbread

Happy Monday -

It snowed Yesterday!  I have been waiting for it to snow this year!  It started around 10 am and was still coming down heavily at 2 in the afternoon!  I was out taking pictures and enjoying the muffled quiet that comes with snow falling and just getting myself in the spirit of the season.

I have many orders to make and a show on December 10 and my open house on December 11, both of which should have many visitors browsing so I have lots things to do, but I had to take a break and enjoy the snow!

That much snow got me thinking about winter activities, which led to Hot Cocoa, so I decided the

Deal-of-the-Day for today is Hot Cocoa Mix

We make 4 different mixes generally, but this year I have an abundance of mint so I put together a Mint Hot Chocolate too!  The special today is all five of these blends for only $14.95.  That is a 15% savings over the regular price in person of $3.50 each.

And just to get you thinking about the outdoors and cocoa here is a chocolate shortbread recipe:

Chocolate Shortbread
This goes well with hot cocoa!

1 cup flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 Tbls. cocoa powder
1/2 cup softened butter

Cream the butter.  Then add the entire package of Shortbread Mix and work in. Knead the resulting dough on an unfloured surface until nice and smooth.  Firmly press the dough, working from the center out into an oiled pan.  Prick the surface with a fork all over . Bake at 325 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Oatmeal Cookies & Milk Bath - Bath Blend of the Month & Deal of the Day

Thought I might do a bath item for the Deal of the Day, then decided to do our Samplers instead, now you can choose from a cooking blend, bath blend or tea blend sample and any one you choose will ship free.

DEAL-OF-THE-DAY - Choose a Sampler!

You have 15 different samplers to choose from, each is $4.95 and slips into a holiday themed envelop which is included with your purchase.  Shop any of these until Midnight tonight.

Bath Blend of the Month - Oatmeal Cookies & Milk Bath

1 cup cornstarch
2 cups powdered milk
1/2 cup oatmeal (not instant)
1 teaspoon cinnamon (or use Backyard Patch Cinnful Dessert blend for other useful and healthy spices)

Mix all ingredients in blender or food processor until it is a fine powder. Store in a tightly lidded jar.

TO USE: Just add 2 tablespoons of the mixture to your bathwater for a soothing bath.

If giving as a gift, place in a decorative jar and attach a spoon for measuring!

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Rosemary Walnuts and Deal-of-the-Day

I am in Winnetka today, at the Winnetka - Northfield Library on Oak Street in Winnetka, doing a program called Holiday Decorating with Marcy.  It discusses making decorations and gifts with herbs.  We are going to make wrapping paper, gift tags as well as some herbal gifts.

One of the items I am recommending making is a a soup wreath.  I given step-by-step instructions for making this wreath of fresh herbs for soup here, with a recipe.

Here is an extra I am including here for those who take the class and for those who cannot take it.

Rosemary Walnuts
I had to start with something edible, because tastes are always linked to the holidays.  This recipe is a twist on sugared nuts, giving you a savory recipe instead.
1 pound shelled walnuts
2 Tbls. of olive oil
2 Tbls. butter, melted
3 Tbls. minced fresh rosemary leaves
2 tsp. paprika
½ to 1 tsp.  salt or a salt substitute

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Place all ingredients in a bowl and toss to mix.  Spread on a baking sheet large enough to hold the nuts in a single layer.  Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring once or twice or until the nuts are golden but not browned and the scent of rosemary fills the room.  Remove and cool.  May be eaten when warm or stored in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.  Makes 2 cups.

Deal-of-the-Day - Dill Herb Vinegar

Friday, December 2, 2016

Deal-of-the-Day and Cinnful Pumpkin Pull Apart bread

Deal-of-the-Day - Cinnful Dessert Blend - two for one. 

Order one Cinnful Dessert Blend and get two!  Along with a set of recipes that like the one below are perfect with this Cinnamon-rich Spice Blend.  The perfect substitute for Pumpkin Pie Spice or Apple Pie Spice or even Cinnamon in your favorite Holiday recipes, Cinnful Dessert Blend is a wonderful treat.

The 12 Days of Herbal Gifting continues with another special item on sale just for today.  At midnight CDT this sale will end and another will take it place to help you get your shopping done before the USPS shipping deadlines!

Cinnful Pumpkin Pull Apart Bread with Buttered Rum Glaze

2 Tbls unsalted butter
1/2 cup milk
2 1/4 teaspoons (1 envelope) active dry yeast
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup white sugar
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups bread flour
1 cup granulated sugar
2 ½ tsp Backyard Patch Cinnful Dessert Blend
2 Tbls unsalted butter
Buttered Rum Glaze
2 Tbls unsalted butter
1/8 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 Tbls milk
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 Tbls rum (if you are not into rum you can sub a teaspoon of vanilla extract)
In a saucepan over medium-high heat, brown 2 tablespoons of butter, letting it bubble up and turn a dark golden brown but being careful not to allow it burn (turn black). Once browned, remove the pan from the heat and carefully add the milk, return to stove and heat through. Pour the milk and butter into the bowl of standing mixer (fitted with a dough hook) and allow to cool so it is no longer hot but also not cool (about 100-110 degrees F). Once it has reached a warm but not hot temperature add the yeast and 1/4 cup of sugar and allow to proof (this can take up to 8 minutes, the top will look foamy and the liquid cloudy). Then add the pumpkin, salt, and 1 cup of flour. Stir until combined then add the rest of the flour 1/2 cup at a time and knead for 6 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic and just slightly sticky. If the dough is too moist, add extra flour 1 tablespoon at a time.
Move dough to a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a clean towel. Allow to rise in a warm place for 60-90 minutes or until doubled in size.
While dough is rising, brown another 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the sugar, Cinnful Dessert Blend and mix well.  Making sure sugar evenly absorbs the butter. Set aside. Next, grease and flour a 9×5 loaf pan and set aside.
When the dough has doubled in size, punch it down and flip out onto a clean floured surface and knead with hands for 1-2 minutes. Roll dough into a 20×12 inch rectangle.  Evenly sprinkle the dough with the cinnamon sugar mixture and press into dough with palms of the hand. Cut the rectangle into 6 strips. Lay strips on top of each other and cut each strip into 6 even squares (cut in half then each half into thirds). Stack strips vertically into the loaf pan. Cover the pan with a clean towel and let rise for 30-45 minutes.
Preheat an oven to 350 degrees. After rising in the pan, bake for 30-40 minutes or until top is a very deep golden brown.
To prepare the glaze, heat the butter, room temperature milk, and brown sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to boil then immediately remove the pan from the heat and stir in the rum and powdered sugar.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Shipping Deadlines and Deal of the Day

The last first class retail shipping day is December 15.
The last first class shipping day is December 20 and
The last Priority mail shipping day is December 21. 
To help you not procrastinate I have pulled together 12 days of Herbal Gifting.  Each day I will place an item on sale in my shops and post it as the deal-of-the-day at the top of the blog.  The blog may then be other ideas and information but the top will give you your herbal gift.  The sale item will expire at midnight CDT.  These herb-inspired items make great holiday gifts for yourself and others.
Shop that item and we will make sure it arrives to you or your recipient in plenty of time for Christmas.

Today’s Deal-of-the-Day is Barley Vegetable Soup

Instead of the usually $4.25 each today they are only $3.50 each (no limit) and we lowered the shipping costs too!  Today find this mix on Etsy right here!

This quick and easy soup mix is salt-free and tasty in cold weather! And the packaging is so cute for gift giving you might want to give it to all your friends and office mates!

Come back tomorrow for another Deal-of-the-Day always on an herby theme!  We will also be posting the Deal-of-the-Day on our Website too:

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Mason Jar invented today!

John Mason of New York City, patented the Mason Jar on November 30 1858, and changed homemakers' food preservation habits forever.

The jars we tend to recognize today are the Ball Mason Jars.  These were produced by the Ball Brothers Glass Manufacturing Co., but not until 1885.  Although they produced a jar with the ”Patented 1858” imprint in the glass for many years, it was the patented jar style and the technique of mould casting they were using, the jars were made in the late 1800s into the 1900s.

I love a good mason jar.  They are sturdy, inexpensive and versatile.  These days making gifts in Mason Jars is especially popular, especially with the color jars Ball has been reproducing recently.

I pulled together these two cookie recipes so you can make some gifts and avoid the mad dash to store.

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
·         3/4 cup white sugar
·         3/4 cup packed brown sugar
·         1 cup rolled oats
·         1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
·         1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
·         1/2 teaspoon salt
·         1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Using a 1 quart jar, layer in the ingredients in the order given. Pack down the jar after each addition. Put the lid on, and cover with an 8-inch circle of fabric. Secure the fabric over the lid using a rubber band, then cover the rubber band by tying a nice piece of ribbon or raffia around the lid. 

Attach a tag to the ribbon with the following instructions:

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). In a medium bowl, cream together 3/4 cup of softened butter, with 2 eggs and 1 teaspoon of vanilla. Add the entire contents of the jar, and mix by hand until combined. Drop dough by heaping spoonfuls onto an unprepared cookie sheet. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven.

Oatmeal Fruit Cookies in a Jar
·         1/2 cup packed brown sugar
·         1/4 cup white sugar
·         3/4 cup wheat germ
·         1 cup quick cooking oats
·         1/2 cup dried cherries
·         1/2 cup golden raisins
·         2/3 cup flaked coconut
·         1 cup all-purpose flour
·         1/2 teaspoon baking soda
·         1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix the flour, baking soda and salt together. Starting with the brown sugar layer the ingredients in a 1 quart jar in the order given. Ending with the flour mixture.

Attach a card with the following directions:

Oatmeal Fruit Cookies

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line one baking sheet with parchment paper.  Empty the contents of the jar into a large bowl. Using a wooden spoon blend the mixture until well combined. Using your hands work in 1/2 cup softened butter or margarine until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Beat 1 egg with 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1/4 cup milk. Still using your hands or a wooden spoon blend the egg mixture into the dough until well combined. Drop teaspoon sized mounds 2 inches apart onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 10 to 14 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned. Place cookies on a rack to finish cooling. Makes approximately 2 dozen cookies.

At Backyard Patch Herbs I make soup mixes in Mason jars which are also perfect for gift giving.  You can check them out here: SOUP MIXES IN A JAR 

If you want to get an awesome cobalt blue reproduction 1858 Mason jar check out this listing at Amazon Drygoods!

Monday, November 28, 2016

French Toast Day

Okay it is Monday and this is a great day for leftovers, so why not use up the left over bread and biscuits and make some French Toast.

Nobody knows for sure how French toast began, but recipes date back to the sixteenth century. In France, it was called pan perdu or lost bread, because it was a way of using lost (stale, unusable) bread. In England, it was known as "poor knight's pudding"—a basic, affordable dish that a family with a few chickens and a cow could afford. 

Simple French Toast
Serves 4 
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla (optional)
  • 4 slices of bread, air dried or day old is best.
  • Beat egg and vanilla in shallow dish. Stir in milk. Dip bread in egg mixture, turning to coat both sides evenly. Cook bread slices on lightly greased nonstick griddle or skillet on medium heat until browned on both sides.

Kitchen Note:  Make a Holiday Special French Toast or Pancakes
Stir ½ teaspoon of Backyard Patch Cinnful Dessert Blend into every 2 cups of French toast custard (egg-milk mixture) or 2 cups of pancake batter before cooking.
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