Saturday, January 5, 2019

Midwinter Body Wash - Monthly Bath Blend

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 cup Castille Soap
½ cup Lavender Hydrosol
½ cup Rosemary Hydrosol
1 Tablespoon Jojoba oil
1 Tablespoon Aloe Vera Gel
10 drops Douglas Fir essential oil
5 drops Lavender essential oil
5 drops Nutmeg essential oil
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 and rinse.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

New Year - New Recipes - New Plans - New Herb Fun with Chicken and Dumplings

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

You 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
Nothing beats 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.

Dumpling Dough

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
Pinch salt
1 Tbls lard or butter
1/2 cup ice water

Chicken Soup

1 whole chicken, cut into pieces (about 4 pounds)
1 Tbls BYP Lemon Thyme Gourmet Salt or BYP Savory Salt Substitute
3-1/2 quarts water
1/2 small onion, chopped very fine
1 stalk celery, chopped very fine
1 carrot, chopped very fine
1/4 cup butter
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 tsp BYP poultry seasoning


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. 

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Happy New Year - wishing you Good Luck and Fortune in 2019

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!

In many Asian countries, people eat long noodles on New Year's Day in order to lengthen their life. One catch: You can't break the noodle before it's fully in your mouth.

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. 


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.

Pork, once reserved for the elite, symbolizes wealth and prosperity. Aim high this year by filling up with a hearty pork dinner on January 1st.

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 Year’s meal.

In some countries, people associate fish with moving forward into the new year since fish swim in one direction. Other people, however, think fish symbolize abundance since they swim in schools. 

Thought to resemble coins, lentils are eaten throughout Italy on New Year's Day to bring good fortune in the year ahead.

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!

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Pineapple Basil Gin Cocktail - Weekend Recipe

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

Club soda
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)
  March - Jambalaya (JambMar)
  May - Ham and Shrimp Dishes (ShrHamMay)
  June - Bread recipes (BreadJun)
  July - Grilling (GrillJul)
  August- Garden Delights (GardAug)
  September - Salsa, Corn and Jelly (SCJSep)
  October - Squash Dishes  (SquashOct)
  November - Pumpkin Recipes (PumpNov)
   December - Herbal Cocktails (MockDec)

Monday, December 24, 2018

Christmas Cocktail- Cranberry Orange

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)
  March - Jambalaya (JambMar)
  May - Ham and Shrimp Dishes (ShrHamMay)
  June - Bread recipes (BreadJun)
  July - Grilling (GrillJul)
  August- Garden Delights (GardAug)
  September - Salsa, Corn and Jelly (SCJSep)
  October - Squash Dishes  (SquashOct)
  November - Pumpkin Recipes (PumpNov)
  December - Herbal Cocktails (MockDec)

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Pear and Thyme Fizz - Cocktail Weekend Recipe

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
2 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 serve.
To make it a Mocktail: substitute 1/4 cup orange juice for the liqueur and citrus flavored sparkling water for the sparkling wine.

For 2018 the monthly recipe themes will be:
   January - Chicken Soup (ChickJan)

  February - Beef Stew (StewFeb)
  March - Jambalaya (JambMar)
  May - Ham and Shrimp Dishes (ShrHamMay)
  June - Bread recipes (BreadJun)
  July - Grilling (GrillJul)
  August- Garden Delights (GardAug)
  September - Salsa, Corn and Jelly (SCJSep)
  October - Squash Dishes  (SquashOct)
  November - Pumpkin Recipes (PumpNov)
   Decmber - Herbal Cocktails (MockDec)

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Sage infused Gin fizz

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

For fizz:
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.

For 2018 the monthly recipe themes will be:
   January - Chicken Soup (ChickJan)
   February - Beef Stew (StewFeb)
   March - Jambalaya (JambMar)
   May - Ham and Shrimp Dishes (ShrHamMay)
   June - Bread recipes (BreadJun)
   July - Grilling (GrillJul)
   August- Garden Delights (GardAug)
   September - Salsa, Corn and Jelly (SCJSep)
   October - Squash Dishes  (SquashOct)
   November - Pumpkin Recipes (PumpNov)
   December - Herbal Cocktails (MockDec)

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