Saturday, October 25, 2014

Cinnamon Roasted Pumpkin Seeds - Weekend recipe

What to do with all those innards of a pumpkin you removed during carving?  Here is a great solution, make roasted pumpkin seeds.  They are tasty and good for you.  I start with a basic recipe for roasting seeds, then give a tasty flavored version which uses our awesome Cinnful Dessert Blend.  Created originally to replace pumpkin pie spice we have found this blend to be very good in other recipes as well.  Check out these Cinnamon Roasted Nuts.

Basic Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

1 1/2 cups raw whole pumpkin seeds
2 teaspoons butter, melted
1 pinch salt

Preheat oven to 300F. Toss seeds in a bowl with melted butter and salt. Spread the seeds out on a baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown.

Recipe adapted from All Recipes

Cinnamon-Sugar Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
1 1/2 cups pumpkin seeds
2 tablespoons melted butter
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350F. In a bowl, toss the seeds with melted butter. Add the rest of the ingredients and toss again. Spread seeds out on a lined baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes or until the seeds are golden brown.


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Herbs in Shortbread!!

It has been a busy month.  We had an outdoor show near the beginning of the month and have a Halloween show at the end of the month and we have been making seasonal items in between.

We sent out a huge order of shortbread mixes this month too!

For the order we tweeked the recipe for our older Herbed Shortbread and renamed it Lemon Lavender Shortbread and we crafted an oatmeal shortbread with seasonal spices as well as a Chocolate shortbread. And we also included our Orange Poppy Seed Shortbread and a new Holiday Shortbread with great seasonal spices.

To make the best shortbread you need flour, sugar and butter and not much else.  This wonderfully simple combination lends itself  to including herbs.  Try these quick variation using a traditional shortbread recipe.

Traditional Shortbread
    1 1/2 cups. flour
     3/4 cup powdered sugar

     1/2 tsp. salt
     1 cup butter

Cream the butter and sugar.  Then add in the flour and salt. Knead the dough on an unfloured surface until it is nice and smooth and no longer crumbly.

Spray a shortbread pan or use a parchment lined baking sheet.  Working from the center, press the dough into the pan into the shape of a circle. Prick the entire surface with a fork, bake the shortbread at 325 degrees F. for 30 to 35 minutes.  Allow shortbread to cool in pan for 10 minutes before loosening the edges with a fork.  Then flip onto a cutting board and tap firmly.  Cut into serving pieces while still warm.

Variation #1
Add 1 tsp lavender buds and 1 tsp lemon balm to traditional recipe and complete as directed.

Variation #2
Add 2 Tbls baking cocoa and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract to traditional recipe and complete as directed.

Variation #3
Add 1 tsp. savory, 1 tsp. rosemary & 1 tsp thyme to traditional recipe and complete as directed.

Variation #4
Change sugar to light brown sugar and add 1 tsp. Backyard Patch Cinnful Desert Blend.  Complete as directed.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Fall Herbal teas

In the Fall I begin thinking about making new tea blends.  I do not know why the fall affects me that way, but as soon as the evenings cool, not only am I making tea, but I am crafting new tea blends in my head.  It could be the abundance of dried material that I have available come fall or it could be a reaction to the gathering of scents from the garden that I have absorbed during the growing season.  Either way I start formulating blends. 

Some of this mental formulating I  turn into blends to try and each Fall I make two tea blends that are only available only until January that i market to Backyard Patch customers.. This year they are:

Silver and Gold
An all herb blend of silver sage with calendula petals and chamomile for gold along with a touch of cinnamon and the robust flavor of marjoram make this a flavorful and relaxing blend for evening drinking around the warm fire.
2013 Tea blend "Comfort & Joy"

Holly and Ivy
I crafted a wonderful red and green blend this year.  Rooibos (Honey Bush) with Green Tea mixed with a bit of hibiscus and rose hips and a touch of lemon balm make this refreshing tea perfect for Christmas morning.
To get you in a tea mood I also have some ideas for making your own tea at home. Try out one of these recipes, or let them inspire you to explore your pantry and whip up some tasty brews with whatever ingredients you have on hand.

Seasonal Spices --

Star Anise, Allspice, and Orange
In a small pot, combine 2 whole star anise, 2 dried organic orange peels, and 5 allspice berries. Add 2 cups of water and bring to a boil, then turn off the heat and steep for 5 minutes, covered. Strain and drink.

Apple and Cinnamon
In a small pot, combine ½ cup dried apples and 1 cinnamon stick. Add 2 cups of water and bring to a boil, then turn off the heat and steep for 5 minutes, covered. Pour the tea into a mug and drink, and then munch on the soft, warm apple slices at the bottom! You can reuse the cinnamon stick several times.

Seasonal Healing --

Ginger, Thyme, Cayenne, Lemon
Combine 1 teaspoon dried ginger and 1 teaspoon thyme in a small pot. Add 2 cups of water and bring to a boil, then turn off the heat and steep for 5 minutes, covered. Strain the tea into a mug and add a pinch of cayenne powder and a dash of fresh lemon juice. This brew will help boost immunity in cold and flu season. Plus the cayenne adds a bit of clearing for better breathing.

Mint, Lemon and Fennel Seed
Combine 1 tsp any kind of mint with 1 tsp. lemon peel or lemon herbs (like lemon balm, lemon thyme or lemon grass) in a tea pot.  Pour over 2 cups of boiling water and allow to steep for 5 minutes.  Add a few seeds of fennel just before you strain into cups. This will sweeten and give it a licorice kick.  You can add a bit of lemon and more sweetness with honey if you want.  The lemon and mint will soothe sore throats and make breathing easier.

What are some of your favorite fall tea combinations?

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Fall Splendor Bath Soak - Bath Blend of the Month

Time again for the month bath blend.  This time I chose something that uses a mix of herbs with a fall scent.  These make a great refreshing bath as well as having wonderful germ fighting properties.

Fall Splendor Bath Soak

1 1/2 cup powdered milk
1/2 cup Epsom salt
1/8 cup baking soda
2 Tbls. cornstarch
1/2 cup thyme
1/2 cup  sage
1/2 cup mint
1/2 cup rosemary
1/2 cup bay leaves

Blend ingredients together and keep in a tightly sealed glass jar.  Use ¼ to ½ cup of blend in a muslin bag or cheese cloth pouch. 

To use: Either hang them on the tap while the hot water is running, making sure the water is running through them. Once the tub is filled, let them float around. Or use the infusion method. Boil a quart of water, turn off heat, add pouch, cover, then steep (for at least 20 minutes for best results). Add the piping hot infusion (and the bag) to a full tub, being careful while pouring to avoid burning yourself. 

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