I'm Marcy Lautanen-Raleigh growing herbs is a passion I've had for more than 20 years now. The Backyard Patch is my own herb business started in 1995. I specialize in fresh, amazing, organic blended herbs. Those for cooking, tea and bath -- and they are all home-grown and hand-blended. In the last 20 years I have gained a knowledge of herbs and their flavors that I share here.
This body wash has a cool, crisp
scent that isn't too overpowering. Not to mention, it is full of ingredients
that are actually good for your skin during the drying winter months!
1 cupCastille Soap
½ cup Lavender
½ cup Rosemary
1 Tablespoon Jojoba oil
1 TablespoonAloe Vera Gel
10 dropsDouglas Fir
5 drops Lavender
5 drops Nutmeg essential
Combine all ingredients in a jar
or bottle with a tight lid, close, and shake well.
To use: shake to mix
ingredients and then squirt onto a wash cloth, loofah, or bath puff. Lather
For the new year everyone tries to do Resolutions. I resolve to do this or that and it becomes a set of impossible goals like lose 50 pounds or restrictions like I will never eat carbs again, things like this are too large, too difficult and are abandoned statistically by Feb. 1.
I long ago abandoned the idea of resolutions. What I do instead is create a list of things I want to try for or do in the coming year. Some can be a year long vocation others can be a one-off that I do when the timing, season or boredom create an opportunity. This year I created a list of 26 items. Some are just silly like get a push scooter and ride it around town. Others are a little adventuresome, like grow a plant you never have before, or largely adventuresome like take a hike in a famous place on your bucket list. I decided I would share these with you during the year and get you to try them with me. I will include photos of me on my scooter!
Additionally this year, I will be continuing the recipe theme that I started in 2018. For this I will assign each month a theme and share a number of recipes from my massive archive to focus on that theme. This year we have 12 new topics, different from the topics of last year. To find the recipes of last year, check out this recipe link or search the blog with the topic Recipe2018.
The monthly themes this year will be:
Jan 2019 – Chicken and Dumplings (CDumpsJan)
Feb 2019 - Pasta Dishes
March 2019 - Edible Flowers
April 2019 - Cajun And Creole
May 2019 - Seafood Recipes
June 2019 - Vegetarian Dishes
July 2019 - Zucchini Recipes
August 2019 - National Mustard Day – mustard recipes
September 2019 - Quiche
October 2019 - Crock Pot meals
November 2019 - Pies
December 2019 - Mocktails
can search the monthly theme by looking for the theme keyword in the search box
and it will pull up the recipes on that theme as posted, so look at the bottom of the
recipe in each posting for the KEYWORD in the ()s to search for each month. All recipes this year will be tagged Recipe2019 so you can find them all.
Since it is cold and raining and I am hibernating with a cup of tea I will share a great recipe for Chicken and Dumplings to get the year started.
Simple One-pot Chicken and Dumplings
homemade, slow-cooked chicken and dumplings for a stick-to-your-ribs meal
perfect for cold winter weather. This one-pot classic comes from in the cookbook
Comfort Food Cookbook, published
by Grit Magazine.
1-1/2 cups all-purpose
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 Tbls lard or butter
1/2 cup ice water
In a large bowl, sift
flour, baking powder and salt. Cut in the lard until mixture resembles coarse
crumbs. Stir in ice water until mixture forms a ball. Wrap the dough ball
tightly and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight.
Remove skin from
chicken breasts, thighs and back; leave skin on legs and wings. Season chicken
pieces with seasoned salt/salt substitute and place in a large stockpot. Add
water, onion, celery, carrot and butter. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to
simmer. Cook for about 1-1/2 hours, or until meat falls off the bone. Remove
chicken and strip the meat from the bones. Return chicken meat to the pot.
Remove dough ball from
refrigerator. Pull off pieces of dough and roll into rough balls about 1 inch
in diameter. Drop into the simmering broth for about 15 minutes, or until
dumplings are cooked through. Add more water if necessary. Season broth with
salt, pepper and poultry seasoning while dumplings are cooking.
There are many foods that connotate good luck that are to be
eaten on January first.These are some
of the most common. I've linked each one with a recipe so you can enjoy and the best recipes combine more than one!
Green symbolizes luck - think about four leaf clovers,
money, and jade jewelry. Since many New Year’s resolutions include a healthier
lifestyle, greens can translate into kale, brussels sprouts, and peas. Cinnamon
It is a powerful spice which has been used medicinally
around the world for thousands of years. This is also a magical spice that is
used for success, healing, action, energy, protection, prosperity, love, and purification. A great item to move your life into a new place for the new year.
In Germany, Ireland, and parts of the United States, cabbage
is associated with luck and fortune since its green hue resembles money. This
includes sauerkraut, so a meal of pork chops and sauerkraut is the perfect New
Long associated with abundance and fertility, pomegranates
are eaten in Turkey and other Mediterranean countries as a sign of good luck.
It doesn't hurt that this jewel-toned fruit is in its prime come January.
Black-Eyed Peas Considered a common good-luck food in the South, black-eyed
peas are thought to bring prosperity, especially when served with collard
greens. Which brings us back to the beginning with green foods.Another perfect combination.
May your New Year by Prosperous, Bountiful and Filled with Joy!
This is refreshing and tasty and makes a great Cocktail to serve as your signature on New Year's Eve. You can muddle the basil and lime in glasses ahead of time and combine the gin and pineapple in a pitcher and then enjoy conversing with your guests. Make each glass special with a fun garnish of pineapple rings and wedge of lime. Being winter, save your basil to make the muddle.
To muddle use a wooden spoon to crush and twist (do not pulverize) the lime and basil together to release the flavors and juices. These will then mix with the juice and gin to make a wonderful solution of tasty flavors.
Pineapple Basil Gin Cocktail
3 basil leaves, rolled and sliced into thin strips
1/4 wedge of lime
1/4 cup organic pineapple juice
1 1/2 ounces gin
1 slice pineapple, for garnish
1 lime wedge, for garnish
1 sprig basil, for garnish (optional)
Put basil and lime quarter in the bottom of a glass and muddle. Add pineapple juice,
gin, and ice cubes, and top with club soda. Garnish with pineapple slice, lime
wedge, or basil sprig.
To find more Herb Cocktails posted this month search MOCKDEC or to find any of the other 2018 monthly recipe themes, use any of these search terms:
January - Chicken Soup (ChickJan) February - Beef Stew (StewFeb)
The perfect flavors of the holiday season include cranberries and oranges. I found a dozen recipes on Pinterest using cranberries for a holiday drink. I love cranberry and my hubby came home with two large boxes of mandarin oranges from a fundraising sale. These are the tangerines that are sold under brand names like Cuties. They are quick and easy to peel and just the right size for a snack. They are also perfect for sweetening and taking the edge off of tart cranberry.
Cranberry Christmas Cocktail
1 mandarin orange (Cuties)
8 large ice cubes
1 ½ cups Cranberry juice
1 12 oz. can ginger ale
And a good pour of Rye Whiskey
Place everything in a blender and
run until ice is crushed. Garnish with a couple fresh cranberries or a skewer of candied cranberries. You can leave out the whiskey to make it a mocktail or substitute prosecco or other sparkling wine to make it more bubbly.
Pour into a glass strained or unstrained. This recipe
makes about 30 ounces or 5 6-ounce servings.
To find the rest of the Herbal Cocktails posted this month use the search code MOCKDEC, or for any of the 2018 monthly recipe themes use these search terms:
January - Chicken Soup (ChickJan) February - Beef Stew (StewFeb)
Fizz is a category of drink that combines alcohols and flavors with sparkling wine, champagne prosecco or other fizzy liquid to create a bubbly drink. These make the greatest mocktails, as you an substitute sparking waters for the bubbly and still enjoy the fun.
This recipe uses thyme and pear and is wonderful for fall and winter.
Pear and Thyme Fizz
cups apple juice
1 ripe pear, cored and sliced
18 sprigs fresh thyme
1/4 cup orange-flavored liqueur (such as grand marnier)
1 bottle sparkling wine (such as prosecco or cava)
Combine apple juice, pear, 12 sprigs thyme, and liqueur. Stir well and store in
fridge for 2 to 4 hours. To serve, divide among 6 champagne flutes, discard
thyme, and top with sparkling wine. Garnish each flute with 1 sprig thyme and
To make it a Mocktail: substitute 1/4 cup orange juice for the liqueur and citrus flavored sparkling water for the sparkling wine.
Okay I will admit it with holiday drinks I like a bit of fizz. I love a Slo Gin Fizz and this is my herb-infused version of that beverage. For this one it tastes seasonally perfect and can cure your ills if you use honey to make the simple syrup rather than sugar. Sage is a natural germ fighter, so you get the added benefit of sore throat treatment and alcoholic beverage.
Sage-infused Gin fizz (serves 4)
For honey sage syrup:
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup water
6 sage leaves
3 ounces gin
2 tablespoons honey sage syrup
2 tablespoons lime juice
3/4 cup club soda
Sage leaves, for garnish (as a treat candy the sage leaves by coating in sugar)
Make honey sage syrup, combine honey, water, and sage leaves in a
medium-sized saucepan over medium-high heat until boiling. Reduce heat to low
and stir constantly until honey is completely dissolved, about 1 minute. Remove
from heat completely and let cool for 30 minutes.
Divide gin, honey sage syrup, lime juice, and club soda among 4 ice-filled glasses.
Garnish with sage leaves.
To find other recipes for cocktails posted this month search MockDEC to find the recipes of previous months see this list, or search recipes 2018 for any recipe on the theme.