Thursday, November 28, 2013

Show Online on Black Friday! - Backyard Patch at an Online Craft Show

The Backyard Patch is online at a craft show this weekend.  Show opens at 6:00 PM Thanksgiving night and runs through Midnight on Monday, December 2.

When you need a break from the family and want to avoid the black Friday crowds, here is your solution --

It is the perfect way to enjoy the holiday with my family, yet still be able to show my wares.  And you can enjoy it t too!  There will be crafters from all over the country all in one place.

To get the details, see sneak peaks, and check out the discounts ahead of time, visit this special Facebook page.

Stop Back to the Blog or my Backyard Patch Facebook Page on Thanksgiving to the links to the show.

Use this link to come to my shop:

Or this one to see the entire show:

Here is a sampling of items I will have available only at this online Craft Show -

This floral stationary has been scented with lavender essential oil to make a unique treat for that special someone.

This decorative basket will be wrapped up smartly in cellophane and contains all our best Dip mixes!  Perfect for the person who loves to entertain.

This Tea Tower will be available in three and five tine sizes.  Wrapped in holiday ribbon we will have sets for Rest and Relaxation, Flowers and Sweet Sentiments, and Winter Perks (for a perfect pick me up).

Custom Recipe Books -- where purchasers can choose the recipes or themes they want the book to contian and a personalized cover and name for the cookbook is our specialty item this year.  You can see the details here on Etsy, but at the online show we will be offering the cookbook at a special price.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Herbed Roasted Roots - Holiday Weekend Recipe

Traditional dishes for Thanksgiving are always fun.  So since it is fall the  root vegetable are abundant.  This dish is easy, delicious and nutritious. I do not peel any of the roots, so as to retain all those lovely minerals. Use any combination of herbs you enjoy. I usually use rosemary, sage, parsley and thyme. ♪


Herbed Roasted Roots
2 medium beets
2 medium potatoes
2 medium turnips or parsnips
4 or 5 medium carrots
1 medium sweet potato
1 large onion
2 -3 cloves of garlic
2 – 3 tablespoon of fresh herbs or
            2 melted herb cubes (see blog post from 10/1/2013) *
1 – 2 tablespoons of olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and get out a large baking pan. Lightly oil the bottom of the pan. Scrub all the roots real well then cut into sizes that are similar so they will cook evenly. I cut my sweet potato larger because that is one root that cooks faster. Lay them out in the baking dish. Chop up the onion, mince the garlic and herbs then sprinkle over the roots. Drizzle the olive oil over the lovely mess and toss to coat evenly. Bake for about 30 – 40 minutes or until the biggest potato is easily pierced with a fork, stirring once or twice. The house will start to fill with the best aroma ever! Take out and season with the salt and pepper. Serve hot and Enjoy! 

*If you did not make any herb ice cubes, then use 2 Tbls. fresh herbs of 3 tsp. dried herbs.  Any combo of robust herbs like sage, rosemary, thyme and savory are perfect for this dish.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Bird Seed Cakes - Weekend recipe

These are a perfect indoor project for you and the kids to do that will let you feed the birds all winter.  You can get seed at the chain hardware store, but for better quality seed, try your local hardware or a specialty wild bird supply store, agriculture supply or livestock feed store and pet store.  You can get a variety of seed and you can ask for advice about what is best for the birds in your area.

These molded bird seed cakes can be hung from eaves and tree branches and replaced as needed.  All you need to make this recipe is unflavored gelatin and ways to shape the final product-- and seed of course!

1 - 1oz. package of unflavored gelatin
¼ cup water
1 ¼ cup bird seed (any combination is fine)

Combine unflavored gelatin and water in a saucepan over low heat. Stir until the gelatin is completely dissolved and add 1 1/4 cups of any combination of seeds the birds in your area enjoy. Mix until all seeds are coated.

Pack the mix firmly into molds.  Circles, wreaths, hearts, etc. all work fine. Large cookie cutters work well as a mold too.

Pierce the mold near the top edge of the molded seeds with a wood skewer or a drinking straw and allow the molded seed to set up.  Should take an hour or so.  Don’t forget to make that hole or these are tough to hang.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Program today - Herbal Holiday Baking

Today, as this posts actually, I am presenting a Program on Holiday Baking using herbs.(stop back next week for photos of us from the program!)

It has inspired me to make tea bread and savory bread for Holiday Gifts this year.  I always share recipes that could not fit into the handouts with students and others on the Program Recipes Page (see above) and today is no exception.  I have added three recipes to the page including a gluten-free recipes for those who love the idea of an herb bread but need to avoid the gluten.

Here I thought I would share a couple recipes that turned out to be my favorites from the program. If you are interested in my entire set of available programs, check this out!

Lavender Tea Bread
This recipe is kind of a sneak peak because we will be sharing it on Facebook as part of the Advent calender of daily herb recipes that starts on December 1st.  Check out this webpage for more details and previous calendars.

3/4 cup milk
2 Tbsp. dried lavender flowers, finely chopped, or 3 Tbsp. fresh chopped flowers
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
6 Tbsp. butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs

Grease a 9x5x3 inch loaf pan. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Heat milk with lavender almost to a boil, then steep until cool. Mix flour, baking powder and salt together in bowl. In another bowl cream butter and gradually add sugar, then eggs, one at a time, beating until light and fluffy. Add flour mixture alternately with lavender milk, in three parts. Mix until batter is just blended, do not overbeat. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 50 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool in pan 5 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool. When completely cool, drizzle with a simple sugar glaze or sprinkle with confectioners' sugar. Garnish with sprigs of fresh lavender.

This second recipe is a savory rather than a sweet bread.  You can serve it with soups or with butter as a rich hearty evening snack and it is the perfect side to a green salad.  I am thinking a great Thanksgiving appetizer too!  We love this recipe so much that every loaf I pre-made for the program got eaten and I finally had to make one in the morning before the program so I would have one to take with me.  The participants in the program made a mix of this recipe so they could all try it at home.

Savory Herb & Spice Quick Bread

3 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 egg
1 cup fat-free milk
1/3 cup canola oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients. In a small bowl, whisk the egg, milk and oil; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.  Transfer to a 9-in. x 5-in. loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack to cool completely. Yield: 1 loaf (14 slices).

Thursday, November 21, 2013

What are you doing on the day after Thanksgiving?

The Backyard Patch is online at a craft show Thanksgivings weekend.  Show opens at 6:00 PM Thanksgiving night and runs through Midnight on Monday, December 2.

When you need a break from the family and want to avoid the black Friday crowds, here is your solution --

For me it is the perfect way to enjoy the holiday with my family, yet still be able to show my wares.  And you can enjoy it t too!  There will be crafters from all over the country all in one place.

To get the details, see sneak peaks, and check out the discounts ahead of time, visit this special Facebook page.

Stop Back to the Blog or my Backyard Patch Facebook Page on Thanksgiving for the links to the show.

This Tower box is filled with scone and Shortbread Mixes.  You will only be able to get it at the online show.

We also have a couple new tea cups, packaged like these with herbal tea, honey and a scone recipe.

And special for the event every purchase will include a sample size of our Cinnful Dessert Blend with a folder of recipes to try, just in time for the holiday season!

And don't forget our Recipe-a -day Advent Calendar will start December 1.  You will be able to see the calendar two places this year.  Daily on our Facebook Page, and also updated each day on our website.  Until then you can check out the 2011 and 2012 Calendars that have been specially posted.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

November gardening – Winter Mulch

One of the last steps to prep the garden for winter is to mulch the herb beds.  You must wait until after a good hard frost, which usually means in Zone 5, waiting until November.  Once you have a hard frost you can cut out dead stems of your chives, costmary, lovage, mint sorrel, tarragon and sweet cicely. Then apply a layer of mulch.  Do not do this too soon because you do not want to promote mold growth in the damp fall months or create homes for field mice or other little pests would borrow into the mulch.  Waiting until frost those pests have found other homes.  This is also a good time of year to test your soil pH content and if correcting is needed.  pH is a measure of the soil’s acidity to alkalinity.  Knowing the pH allows you to amend the soil to expand the range of plants a soil can support.  

Plants before the trim
For winter mulch, I shred leaves, grass clippings, vegetable garden compost, pine chips, mixing in a bit of peat and lime for acidic areas.  By using this highly organic blend you add humus to the soil each year, and utilize the wastes from my property.

Hills covered with leaves

Here is a raised bed covered with grass

The silver maples along the back of the property gave mountains of leaves to use this way.  After years of doing this coupled with spring mulch of bark or peat, I ended up with a rich dark soil that is sweet and friable.

About pH
Herbs prefer a pH neutral to slightly above neutral soil, so if you tests come back below 6.5 pH sweeten it up.  That means adding lime and working it into the soil so it can do its work before spring.

To have your soil tested check with your local garden center, or purchase a test and do it yourself.  A mail-in test will provide more details and is probably worth doing, but in a pinch knowing the pH will help you to work with your soil.  pH test strips are similar to litmus paper that will change color based on the acidity or alkalinity of the soil.  They use a scale of 1 to 14 1 is acid, 14 is alkali, 7 is neutral.  Nutrients dissolve best when soil is 6.5 to 7.0 which will affect what plants will thrive.  When purchasing a test choose one that has 2 to 5 blocks of color for more accurate readings.

To test with a purchased kit, what you will get is a package of strips and a color chart for determining the results.

Steps for using:
1. Gather soil, remove organic matter, twigs from the top and dig down into the dirt.  You can collect and mix samples from various locations to get an overall pH.  Make you’re your digging tools are clean and not brass or galvanized as this will leave minerals in the soil.
2. Put 1 Tbls. soil in a glass bowl and add enough distilled water (not filtered) water to create a mixture with the consistence of a milk shake.  Stir well.
3. Leave mixture alone for one hour, but add water as needed to retain consistence.
4. Place a drop of the mixture on a test strip and wait one minute.
5. Rinse strip with distilled water.
6. Match test strip color with the accompanying color chart.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Cough Relief Herbal Tea - Weekend Recipe

Coughs are very common in the winter months.  A cough remedy or cough drop is always a good idea, but in a hurry a cough relief tea is also quick and easy.  You can blend up this recipe of cough relief herbs way in advance and use just 3 tsp. per cup of hot water.  Allow the tea to steep for 5 to 7 minutes.  Drink this tea as often as needed.

This blend makes a strong tea to help relieve your cough as well as make coughs more productive to rid the body of toxins and heal quicker.  This recipe will make 5 1/2 cups which should be enough to get you through the winter.   Enjoy!

Cough Relief Herbal Blend

1/2 cup each:
Red Clover Blossoms
Mullein Leaf
Nettle Leaf
Echinacea Purpurea Leaf
Marshmallow Root

1/4 cup each:
White Pine Bark
Elecampane Root
Echinacea Purpurea Root
Wild Cherry Bark
Licorice Root

1 cup:
Peppermint Leaf

Combine and store in an air tight container.
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