Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Fast Chicken Fettuccine

Here's a healthful chicken recipe with some major bonuses: rich Parmesan cheese, savory fresh zucchini, and zesty dried tomatoes. With a mere 20-minute prep time, it's an easy dinner recipe you can count on for quick gratification after a long, busy day. 


Fast Chicken Fettuccine (Makes 4 servings)

  • 8 ounces fettuccine
  • ¼ 7-ounce jar oil-packed, dried tomato strips or pieces
  • 1 large zucchini or yellow summer squash, halved lengthwise and sliced (about 2 cups)
  • 8 ounces chicken breast meat, cut in cubes
  • ½ cup finely shredded Parmesan, Romano, or Asiago cheese (2 ounces)
  • 1 teaspoon basil, dried
  • 1 teaspoon oregano, dried
  • Black pepper, freshly ground

Directions:

Cook in lightly salted boiling water according to package directions; drain. Return pasta to hot pan.

Meanwhile, drain tomato strips, reserving 2 tablespoons oil from jar; set aside. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon reserved oil over medium-high heat. Add zucchini; cook and stir 2 to 3 minutes or until crisp-tender. Remove from skillet. Add remaining reserved oil to skillet. Add chicken and herbs; cook and stir 2 to 3 minutes or until chicken no longer pink. Gently toss zucchini, chicken, and tomato with cooked pasta. Sprinkle each serving with cheese and season to taste with pepper.

 

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Cinnamon Roasted Chicken - Theme Recipe

This is a great roasted chicken recipe with deep spicy flavors and a crunchy outer layer that makes it a great evening meal when served with hashbrowns and side of green beans.  If you are feeling adventuresome, serve with polenta and harissa sauce. You can substitute 1 ½ Tablespoons of Cinnful Dessert Blend for the cinnamon and ginger in this recipe if you have some on hand.

Cinnamon Roasted Chicken

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 whole chicken legs with thighs attached (2 1/2 pounds)

Directions

Preheat oven to 400°F. In a bowl, combine all of the ingredients except the chicken and stir to make a paste.

Rub spice paste onto chicken legs and let stand on a parchment-lined baking sheet 15 minutes. Roast until skin crisps, 40 to 45 minutes; serve. 


RECIPE THEME

Each month a theme is chosen and a number of recipes on that theme from my massive archive will be shared.  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, Recipe2019, or Recipe2020.

 
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 for each month.  All recipes this year will be tagged Recipe2021 so you can find them all.

The themes are:
Jan 2021 – Baked Items
Feb 2021 – Breakfast Dishes
March 2021 – Italian Dishes
April 2021 - Chicken Recipes
May 2021 - Appetizers
June 2021 – Mediterranean Dishes
July 2021 – Pork Recipes
August 2021 - Seafood
September 2021 - Pizzas
October 2021 – Mexican Dishes
November 2021 - Cookies
December 2021 – Gift Recipes

Monday, April 5, 2021

Rose Dusting Powder - Bath Blend of the Month

It may be a bit early for blooming roses, but spring rain and I am am thinking of ways to use flowers. In fact I dedicated this month's newsletter to information on Edible Flowers, so if you are interested in receiving the Monthly Newsletter, please sign up here.



This after shower powder is great for softening and soothing skin and smells great!

Rose Dusting Powder

  • Petals from 4 roses (medium size)
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 3 Tbls baking soda
  • 3 dried rose heads

Directions:

1.    In a small cardboard box, layer the petals and cornstarch. Fit the cover on but don’t seal tight, you want the contents to still have a bit of air. Leave for 24 to 36 hours.

2.    Sift the pieces from cornstarch then add the baking soda (you may have to sift a few times to remove all the petals). Mix well then split the powder mixture into two batches. *See tip below

3.    Next take the dried roses, remove the stem and leaves and add the rose heads to one half of the powder mixture. Pour into a blender and mix until the dried flowers are finely ground.

4.    Add the fine ground powder mixture to the other half of the powder mixture, use a wooden spoon to blend the powder by hand.

5.    Pour the scented powder into a decorative box or shaker jar, allow to sit for a day before using.

Tips:

If you prefer a stronger scented dusting powder, you can add another batch of fresh petals and allow the powder to sit another 24 hours (first sift out the initial batch of petals).

You can use lavender or other scented flowers if you prefer.

To Use:  Dust skin with a powder puff after bathing or showering.  Lightly sprinkle on bedding for a nicely scented sleep.  Use to scent lingerie drawers or closets. Great to give as homemade gifts

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Grilled Pineapple and Chicken Skewers - Recipe theme

This month the recipe theme is Chicken.  I love chicken, fried, baked, broiled, grilled, roasted, poached, sauced or pretty much any other way you can make it. You will probably see a few extra recipes this month as a result. This month I am starting out with a grilled recipe which is quick and easy.



With it getting warm it is so tempting to get out the grill and try something.  This simple recipe makes it easy to enjoy the grill with some great fresh pineapple, easily available this time of year. And it might be a different dish to serve on Easter.

 Grilled Pineapple and Chicken Skewers 

  • 2/3 cup sweet-and-sour sauce*
  • 2 tablespoons snipped fresh Thai basil or basil
  • 1 teaspoon Backyard Patch 4 Spice Meat Rub
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar (optional)*
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted1 small fresh pineapple
  • Nonstick cooking spray or vegetable oil
  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into 1-inch pieces 
  • 2 cups hot cooked rice (optional)


Directions:

For Thai sauce, in a small bowl combine sweet-and-sour sauce, snipped basil, BYP 4 Spice seasoning, and garlic. Reserve 1/4 cup of the sauce to use for basting. Stir brown sugar (if desired) and melted butter into the remaining sauce; cover and set aside.

Cut ends off pineapple, exposing the flesh. Cut pineapple in half lengthwise; cut each half crosswise into four slices. Lightly coat pineapple slices with cooking spray or brush with oil. Set aside.

Thread chicken onto four 10- to 12-inch metal skewers, leaving 1/4 inch between pieces.

For a charcoal grill, grill skewers on the rack of an uncovered grill directly over medium coals for 10 to 12 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink, turning occasionally and brushing with the 1/4 cup reserved sauce during the first half of grilling. Discard any remaining reserved sauce.

Grill pineapple slices for 6 to 8 minutes or until warm and grill marks appear, turning once halfway through grilling.

For a gas grill, preheat grill. Reduce heat to medium. Place skewers, then pineapple on grill rack over heat. Cover and grill as directed.

Serve chicken and pineapple with the reserved Thai sauce and hot cooked rice, if desired. If desired, garnish with basil shreds and chile pepper slices.

*Tip:

Bottled sweet-and-sour sauces vary in sweetness and thickness. If you use a less sweet sauce, add the brown sugar to the Thai sauce. If you use a thick sweet-and-sour sauce, adjust the consistency of the Thai sauce by adding a little water.


RECIPE THEME

Each month a theme is chosen and a number of recipes on that theme from my massive archive will be shared.  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, Recipe2019, or Recipe2020.

 
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 for each month.  All recipes this year will be tagged Recipe2021 so you can find them all.

The themes are:
Jan 2021 – Baked Items
Feb 2021 – Breakfast Dishes
March 2021 – Italian Dishes
April 2021 - Chicken Recipes
May 2021 - Appetizers
June 2021 – Mediterranean Dishes
July 2021 – Pork Recipes
August 2021 - Seafood
September 2021 - Pizzas
October 2021 – Mexican Dishes
November 2021 - Cookies
December 2021 – Gift Recipes

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Bolognese Sauce - Recipe Theme

We are completing the recipe theme with this easy and herb-filled Bolognese sauce. You can serve it over linguine or spaghetti or any shaped pasta. It is awesome on the Homemade Noodles we shared earlier this month. Note that if using fresh or dried herbs you add the herbs at different times in the recipe.



Bolognese Sauce

  • 12 ounces packaged dried pasta, such as spaghetti, linguine, or penne 
  • 1 pound bulk sweet Italian sausage or ground beef
  • 1 cup chopped onion (1 large)  
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped carrot (1 medium)
  • 1/2 cup chopped green sweet pepper (1/2 large)
  • 1/4 cup chopped celery (1/2 stalk)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 pounds roma tomatoes, peeled (if desired), seeded, and chopped (about 4 cups), or two 14.5-ounce cans diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 6-ounce can tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine or beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons snipped fresh basil or 1-1/2 teaspoons dried basil, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon snipped fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
  • 2 teaspoons snipped fresh marjoram or 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons snipped fresh Italian parsley

Directions

In a large saucepan cook pasta according to package directions. Drain; keep warm.

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan cook sausage, onion, carrot, sweet pepper, celery, and garlic until meat is brown and onion is tender. Drain.

Stir in tomatoes, tomato paste, wine, dried herbs (if using), salt, and black pepper. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. If necessary, uncover and simmer for 10 minutes more or to desired consistency, stirring occasionally. Stir in whipping cream, parsley, and fresh herbs (if using); heat through. Serve sauce over hot pasta.


RECIPE THEME

Each month a theme is chosen and a number of recipes on that theme from my massive archive will be shared.  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, Recipe2019, or Recipe2020.

 
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 for each month.  All recipes this year will be tagged Recipe2021 so you can find them all.

The themes are:
Jan 2021 – Baked Items
Feb 2021 – Breakfast Dishes
March 2021 – Italian Dishes
April 2021 - Chicken Recipes
May 2021 - Appetizers
June 2021 – Mediterranean Dishes
July 2021 – Pork Recipes
August 2021 - Seafood
September 2021 - Pizzas
October 2021 – Mexican Dishes
November 2021 - Cookies
December 2021 – Gift Recipes

Monday, March 29, 2021

2021 List of Great Culinary and Medicinal Herbs

In my email recently I got my “Just the Essentials.”  It is the “extra” short publication that we get on the in-between months of The Essential HerbalMagazine.  I regularly write for the magazine, which comes out 6 times a year as an eMagazine.  “Just the Essentials” tides us over until the next full version arrives.  I love it because it brightens my email box with fun herb info at unexpected times.


In the most recent version, Tina Sams compiled a list of Culinary and Medicinal herbs that are most important to her.
  It got me thinking because my list was not the same as hers. So I am sharing my 2021 list of great Culinary and Medicinal Herbs.

I had a lot of winter kill this year.  My thyme plants are not reviving as I would like and my rue plants died, however they self-seed, so once the soil warms I will probably be fine. As a result I am beginning my shopping because there will be many plants that I will have to replace!

2021 List of great Culinary and Medicinal Herbs

Culinary List:
Basil – I like to get Genovese, Red Rubin, Purple Ruffles and Sweet Dani Lemon Basil.  As Tina says you can never have too much Basil!

Chives – this easy Spring blooming perennial is perfect for making herb vinegar and the mild onion flavor is great in recipes, dips, salads, side dishes, and or course on potatoes.
Cilantro – Seed this plant over and over to get a constant crop and save the seed which is coriander and great in baking and pickling. Remember if it is not for you it is all inn your genes.
Dill – An annual, I sow a row, then reseed the row every two weeks to give me a continuous crop throughout the summer and plenty of seed to save and use for pickles.

Flowering Marjoram


Marjoram – You can use this as a substitute for oregano, it is harder to get a bad flavored plant, and the flowers that arrive in late summer are nice to preserve and use as a dried decoration for packages, soup wreaths and dried arrangements.

Rosemary – adds so much to chicken and beef roasts and stews.  Very tender perennial that I have to grow in a pot or transfer to a pot of overwintering.  I found the best place to keep it in winter is by the back door.  Less dry and less hot in that location and it continuers to stay green and lush..
Sage – So delicious with fall dishes and once it’s in the garden, it can find its way into lots of meals. I prefer Berggarten Sage as the leaves are large and the plant takes longer to get woody.


The rounded leaves of berggarten sage

Tarragon – this flavorful sauce herb also makes a great vinegar.  Remember to plant it in the back as it gets tall and unruly and trim to the ground in spring as the new growth always springs from the root.

Thyme – should be perennial, but often requires replacement. Doone Valley is my favorite Lemon Thyme variety, and Wedgewood is lovely in a border with its variegated leaves.



Medicinal List:

Calendula – I agree with Tina, no matter how much gets planted, it’s never enough. Used in tea, facial creams and salves. I love to use it in baking and cooking for the color.
Chamomile – I like because it shows up early in the year.  Many consider it a perennial, but I think it just reseeds because those small flowers are a bit hard to harvest.  The apple flavor and relaxing attributes are perfect for tea.


Chamomile

Echinacea – reliable perennial that has seeds for animals in winter and seed saving. I love the flowers, leaves and roots and divide the plant in half each year to harvest the roots and allow the mother plant to expand. Purple is the best for medicinal properties to boost immunity.
Elder – If you have the room this perennial shrub, it is a must have.  Lovely flowers in spring can be used for tea and cordials and the berries in fall make great healing syrups for colds and flu.

Feverfew – There is a plant in our Illinois area called feverfew that is actually wild quinine, if you want the medicinal plant good for headaches and migraines you want Tanacetum parthenium which is in the daisy family and has ferny leaves and white flowers with yellow centers.  Both the leaves and flowers can be used for tea for headaches and cold symptoms.



Notice the subtle difference between feverfew (here) and Chamomile (above)


Holy Basil – Get some seed and grow your own, as nursery plants are hard to find.  The ability to help with emotions and sleep makes this a wonderful medicinal.
Lavender – gentle, relaxing, and tasty, the fragrance alone can help one relax and the flower stems dry such a nice shade of blue.  The crown must be protected from cold weather, which can take its toll on the plant so they are not as perennial as one might like.  I add a couple new each year to make up for those I lose to the elements.
Lemon Balm – An easy to grow perennial with a delicious lemon scent and flavor.  I love to harvest it and stroke the leaves for the relaxation they impart and a good tea with it is stress-relieving too.

                                                                             Lemon Balm

Mint – I grow two mints. Peppermint and Spearmint.  If I grow more, they just cross pollinate and become spearmint in a year or two.  However, Pineapple mint with its randomly variegated leaves always makes it into at least one planter because I love the leaf color.  Mint is soothing to the stomach and the mind as well as perfect for sachets and scented pillows.



Saturday, March 27, 2021

Lemony Italian Salad - Weekend Recipe

Rosemary is the star flavor in this Italian lentil salad. Use fresh rosemary for the perfect flavor, or cut the amount by half if you are using dry and be sure to crumble or crush the dry to release the aroma.



Lemony Italian Salad

  • 2/3 cup dry lentils
  • 1 1/3 cups water
  • 5 plum tomatoes, chopped (about 1 ¾ cups)
  • 3/4 cup finely shredded parmesan (3 oz)
  • 3/4 cup finely shredded asiago (3 oz)
  • 2 cups baby spinach leaves, or torn spinach
  • 8 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto or ham (about 12 slices)
  • 1/3 cup vinegar
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 Tbls lemon juice
  • 1 Tbls Dijon style mustard
  • 2 tsp snipped fresh rosemary
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper

Directions:

Rinse lentils; place in a small saucepan with water. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 20 to 25 minutes or until just tender. Drain and chill.

Arrange tomatoes, cheeses, spinach, lentils, and prosciutto in rows on a large square or rectangular platter, or a serving dish.

For dressing, in a screw-top jar combine vinegar, olive oil, lemon juice, mustard, rosemary, salt, and pepper. Cover and shake well. Drizzle over salad. Makes 8 to 10 servings.


RECIPE THEME

Each month a theme is chosen and a number of recipes on that theme from my massive archive will be shared.  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, Recipe2019, or Recipe2020.

 
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 for each month.  All recipes this year will be tagged Recipe2021 so you can find them all.

The themes are:
Jan 2021 – Baked Items
Feb 2021 – Breakfast Dishes
March 2021 – Italian Dishes
April 2021 - Chicken Recipes
May 2021 - Appetizers
June 2021 – Mediterranean Dishes
July 2021 – Pork Recipes
August 2021 - Seafood
September 2021 - Pizzas
October 2021 – Mexican Dishes
November 2021 - Cookies
December 2021 – Gift Recipes

Monday, March 22, 2021

Homemade Herbed Noodles - Recipe Theme

This month, I have shaded Sauce recipes and have a few more to go, so I thought a needle recipe might also be in order.  This one a crafted to be made with thyme.  The savory and Italian nature of its flavor makes it a perfect addition to noodles.  One much chop the leaves very fine.  You can use a mezzaluna (curved chopping blade) or a chef knife and some stationary knife chopping.


Homemade Herbed Noodles
(makes 5 servings)

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour 
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon thyme, finely chopped
  • 2 egg yolks, beaten 
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ⅓ cup water
  • 1 teaspoon cooking oil or olive oil

Directions:

In a large bowl stir together 1-3/4 cups of the flour and the salt. Stir in thyme, then make a well in the center of the flour mixture. In a small bowl stir together egg yolks, whole egg, water, and oil. Add egg mixture to flour mixture; mix well.

Sprinkle a kneading surface with the remaining 1/4 cup flour. Turn dough out onto floured surface. Knead until dough is smooth and elastic (8 to 10 minutes total). Cover and let the dough rest for 10 minutes.

Divide dough into four equal portions. On a lightly floured surface, roll each portion of dough into a 12x9-inch rectangle (about 1/16 inch thick). (If using a pasta machine, pass each portion of dough through machine according to manufacturer’s directions until dough is 1/16 inch thick.)

Let stand, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Lightly dust dough with flour. Loosely roll dough into a spiral; cut into 1/4-inch-wide strips. Shake the strands to separate; cut into 2- to 3-inch lengths.

To serve immediately, cook for 1-1/2 to 2 minutes or until tender but still firm, allowing 1 to 2 more minutes for dried or frozen noodles. Drain.

To store cut noodles, spread them on a wire cooling rack. Let noodles dry about 1 hour or until completely dry. Place in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Or dry the noodles for at least 1 hour and place in a freezer bag or freezer container; freeze for up to 8 months.


RECIPE THEME

Each month a theme is chosen and a number of recipes on that theme from my massive archive will be shared.  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, Recipe2019, or Recipe2020.

 
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 for each month.  All recipes this year will be tagged Recipe2021 so you can find them all.

The themes are:
Jan 2021 – Baked Items
Feb 2021 – Breakfast Dishes
March 2021 – Italian Dishes
April 2021 - Chicken Recipes
May 2021 - Appetizers
June 2021 – Mediterranean Dishes
July 2021 – Pork Recipes
August 2021 - Seafood
September 2021 - Pizzas
October 2021 – Mexican Dishes
November 2021 - Cookies
December 2021 – Gift Recipes

Friday, March 19, 2021

Slow Cooker Ragu - Weekend Recipe

I love this recipe because it uses fennel to make a sweeter sauce.  You can set it and forget it in your crockpot or make it in your insta pot.  Leave out the pasta and just make the sauce if you want to use other pasta, but you need to drain the tomatoes if you do not add pasta.



Slow Cooker Ragu

  • 1 pound 93% lean ground beef
  • 2 14.5-ounce cans diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 cups thinly sliced fennel
  • 2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
  • ⅓ cup chopped onion
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 ½ teaspoons fennel seeds, lightly crushed
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed 
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper 
  • ribbon cut fresh basil (about 1 Tablespoon packed)
  • 1 12-ounce pkg. no-boil, no-drain penne pasta, such as Barilla Pronto 
  • ½ cup snipped fresh basil for garnish

Directions:

Break ground beef into bite-size pieces and place in a 6-qt. slow cooker. Add remaining ingredients except pasta and fresh snipped basil garnish. Cover and cook on low 7 to 9 hours or high 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 hours.

If using low, turn to high. Stir in pasta. Cover and cook 20 minutes more or just until pasta is tender, stirring after 10 minutes. Stir in basil.

Pressure Cooker / Instapot Instructions:

Break ground beef into bite-size pieces and place in a 6-qt. multifunction electric or stove-top pressure cooker. Add next 11 ingredients (except pasta and fresh basil.) Stir to combine. Lock lid in place. Set electric cooker on high pressure to cook 2 minutes. For stove-top cooker, bring up to pressure over medium-high heat; reduce heat enough to maintain steady (but not excessive) pressure. Cook 2 minutes. Remove from heat. For both models, let stand 5 minutes to release pressure naturally. Release any remaining pressure. Open lid carefully. If desired, let stand, covered, up to 10 minutes for pasta to reach desired doneness. Stir in basil.

RECIPE THEME

Each month a theme is chosen and a number of recipes on that theme from my massive archive will be shared.  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, Recipe2019, or Recipe2020.

 
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 for each month.  All recipes this year will be tagged Recipe2021 so you can find them all.

The themes are:
Jan 2021 – Baked Items
Feb 2021 – Breakfast Dishes
March 2021 – Italian Dishes
April 2021 - Chicken Recipes
May 2021 - Appetizers
June 2021 – Mediterranean Dishes
July 2021 – Pork Recipes
August 2021 - Seafood
September 2021 - Pizzas
October 2021 – Mexican Dishes
November 2021 - Cookies
December 2021 – Gift Recipes

Monday, March 15, 2021

Beware the Ides of March

I took Latin in High School because I felt it would help me with scientific names for plants and animals for my profession as an archeologist. I have used Latin in many ways since, but not one day of my career as an archeologist did I need it  -- Oh well!

One of my Latin teachers always had a party on the Ides of March, the day Caesar was killed on the steps of the senate.  The phrase  “Beware the Ides of March,” is from Shakespeare’s play, Julius Caesar.



So here is your Latin lesson on the origin of the Ides of March--

In the ancient Roman calendar, each month had an Ides. In March, May, July, and October, the Ides fell on the 15th day. In every other month, the Ides fell on the 13th day.

The word Ides derives from a Latin word, meaning to divide. The Ides were originally meant to mark the full moons, but because calendar months and lunar months were different lengths, they quickly got out of step.

The Romans also had a name for the first day of every month. It was known as the Kalends. It’s from this word that our word calendar is derived.


If you are worried about what might happen on the Ides of March try these herbal remedies:


  • Hang a bunch of dill over a child’s bed to protect against evil fairies.
  • If you’re concerned about dishonesty, plots, secrets,  and conspiracy theories, place a bouquet of borage leaves and blossoms nearby and listen in. (Borage is said to encourage people to tell the truth.)
  • Wear angelica to protect yourself against evil spirits (but be aware that it may also keep you from seeing potential opportunities). Brew a tea of it and sprinkle a few drops in the corners of your house.

Sunday, March 14, 2021

Container Gardens - Garden Planning pt 2

I am formal gardener, even if I don’t seem to be.  I like my plants to stay in their own space.  I grow them next to each other, then trim them back to create a border between plants.  I suspect that reflects on my personality in some way. 

I have always leaned toward placing one plant in a container and then grouping the containers in my garden.  I have learned to break this rule to make floral containers to decorate my shade gardens and love it.  Here is my formerly shaded book nook where I could read or play my psaltry and enjoy my garden views with several multi-color flower combos.

That big tree to the left is gone now so the book nook will be full sun this year.  With my red hair, I cannot read in full sun, so I will have to move the reading nook, meaning I can make this into a new garden area.  I have been experimenting in designing containers to go into this area which is planted with Creeping Jenny and Ajuga to give me the opportunity to experiment with what will grow there and how it will look.  After this season, I will make decisions on what I want to plant in that area and hubby will create raised beds for this space for next year!

So here I am sharing a few designs for containers for this corner.  Each of these containers has multiple plants to provide texture and interest in the corner as well as get me used to planting where the plants will crowd one another.  I am learning two things at the same time, and you can too!

If you are into vegetable pots I found some great container ideas with Black Gold soils - Black Gold Spring Salad Pots For Quick, Easy, Fresh Eating

Mediterranean Herb Pots

First is a series of 12-inch pots planted with Mediterranean Herbs.  I think three pots will be perfect to tuck in around larger pots.

 


                                       2- English Lavender, purple sage, Greek or golden oregano

1- Sweet basil, Lettuce leaf Basil and Red Rubin Basil          3- Thyme, Pineapple Sage, Rosemary

These groupings are about water needs.  Basil needs more water, but the other herbs do not, so they can be allowed to hang out together.

Round Mocktail Container

Next, I created a round container plan that I will use in my wrought iron basket (the one above with the inpatients.)  It is 40” in diameter, which makes it perfect for a mocktail container. I am going to use the method detailed by Ben Futo of the Allen Centennial Garden in Madison, Wisconsin in his great PBS digital series called “Let’s Grow Stuff” which is geared toward beginners.  The episode is “Planting a Container.” You can find the entire 2020 season here: Let's Grow Stuff - PBS Wisconsin.

He talks about Thriller, Spiller, and Filler method of creating a container and used several herbs and edible flowers, suggesting they make good cocktails.  That got me thinking about a great way to create a mocktail planter so I adjusted his plan a bit.


Last year I discovered some beautiful yellow and black/purple striped petunias that my husband actually loved, so I knew I was going to have to grow them again.  I had planted them with lantana so Ben’s first two suggestions caught my attention. Then I thought Lavender (1), Lemon Verbena (1), Bronze Fennel (2), thyme, common or lemon(2-3), and a scented geranium (1) would give me lots of different textures and abilities to make different mocktails.  Then for the Filler I will use Chamomile and Yellow Calendula to fill in the spaces between plants.

This design would also work well in a half barrel or large in-ground round bed if you are so inclined.

Rectangular Planter

I also have a rectangular planter so I thought I could put Hardy Herbs in it, then if they work out, I can just transplant them.  Almost all of these herbs are hardy to -20 degrees F, so they can winter over in the container.  If I choose to leave them in the planter I will just put a new two inches of compost in the container at the beginning of the next growing season.


The Sorrel will be Rosemary I have decided, but Rosemary will need to be removed or left to die as it is not hardy over an Illinois winter, but the rest should be.  Being located next to the fence they will be sheltered and should be okay over the winter.  Because I took the photo before I put the measurements on it, the planter is 36 inches across the front and 24 to 30” deep. 

Any of these designs will look good at your house, so why not try them?

If you have a suggestion for a new container combo I would love to hear about it.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...