Wild Violet Lemonade

Wild Violet Lemonade

Wild Violet Lemonade

This is a re-post of an article from last year that is appropriate for us now. Here in the South, winter has lifted, trees are blooming and we are waiting for a full pollen dump any second. Temperatures are warm in the day, cool at night which makes it perfect for wild violets to bloom.

Picking wild violets is a great reason to be outside; be sure to bring a small bag to carry your treasures in.

Before the violets go away, be sure to try this lovely Wild Violet Lemonade!

I was browsing blogs a coupe of weeks ago and found the amazing recipe for Wild Violet Jelly and decided I needed to go on a wild violet hunt.

The violets had to be picked well away from the road and not where dogs do their duties. I found a lovely spot with so many violets I picked an entire quart of them in no time at all.

Drying wild violets to prepare for steeping

Drying wild violets to prepare for steeping

I can’t help but to fall in love with this color!

So, to prepare for the wild violet jelly, the flowers need to be rinsed and steeped like tea. Use the same amount of water as you have violets. Measure by volume, not by weight because violets hardly weigh anything at all.

Wild Violet Lemonade

Wild Violet Lemonade

I had a bit left over tea from the jelly recipe and I wondered how it would taste as a “lemonade” so I popped some ice in a glass, filled it about 1/4 full of lemonade and added the strained violet tea, garnished with a slice of lemon and Wow! It makes a fantastic drink!

 Wild Violet Lemonade

Wild Violet Lemonade

Now, I’ve got to go harvest more violets so I can freeze the tea for later use.

Steeped Wild Violet Tea; see how deep purple it is? Add lemon juice and it changes to bright pink.

Steeped Wild Violet Tea; see how deep purple it is? Add lemon juice and it changes to bright pink.

Don’t you just LOVE the color?

It changes from deep royal purple to a bright pink when you add lemon juice.

If you want to know how to make Wild Violet Jelly, Follow this link to Prairieland Herbs.

Gleaming jars of Wild Violet Jelly

Gleaming jars of Wild Violet Jelly

 

 

Hoppin’ John and Skippin’ Jenny

Tradition in the American south has wide influences. In this traditional New Years dish, you can see cultural influences from Europe and Africa.

Hoppin’ John is a dish that combines rice and black-eyed peas. Typically it is flavored with a ham hock or bacon. But if you don’t eat pork, you can make a vegetarian version that is just as flavorful. This year we used spicy turkey sausage and it was great!

Stories go according to how many black-eyed peas you get on your fork, is how much luck you will have in the new year.Three peas should be left on your plate to represent health, wealth, and love or faith, hope, and charity or even luck, romance and money.

The meal is accompanied with food items that represent wealth: greens like collards, turnip greens, swiss chard, cabbage or kale represent “folding money” so be sure to serve plenty of greens on new years.

Carrots are cut into rounds to represent gold coins, corn bread is often served because it is the color of gold as well.

Tradition states to eat like a pauper on New Years day and eat like a king the rest of the year.

In some parts of the south, left-over “Hoppin’ John” is called “Skippin’ Jenny” after New Years day. After that, we just call it beans and rice, served up with a “mess of collards” and cornbread.

Don’t forget the pot liquor.

Hoppin’ John and Skippin’ Jenny

  • 1/2# Spicy Italian turkey sausage
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup minced onion
  • 2 cloves garlic sliced thin or minced
  • 1-1/2 cups white rice, raw (I prefer basmati or texmati)
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 2 – 15 oz. cans black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon fresh black pepper

Method:

Slice the sausage into 1″ slices. Saute in olive oil for 3 minutes.

Add onion. Sweat the onions (cook without browning) until they become translucent.

Add the garlic, rice and thyme. Stir to coat the rice.

Add the chicken stock, black-eyed peas, oregano, salt, and pepper.

Bring to a boil, cover, lower heat and simmer 20 minutes or until the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is tender.

Slice the sausage

Saute the onions and sausage

Add rice and stir

Add black-eye peas and stock

Bring to boil, lower heat, cover, simmer 20 minutes

Hoppin’ John

Holiday Recovery

 

So, how are you doing?

How did you make it through the holidays?

 

I want to talk to you about how you think about yourself today.

If you over ate or simply ate holiday foods and now feel full, bloated and sluggish, don’t hate yourself for it.Where you're supposed to be

Let’s change that mindset. The holidays offer lots of tempting ways to derail a diet and healthy lifestyle.

Sure we drank eggnog, ate cookies and treats, mashed potatoes, cheese, cream, butter, meats, dips, chips and a lot of stuff in between.

We started with good intentions but still ended up eating that biscotti dipped in Amaretto or hot chocolate, not just once but maybe a few times.

So What! ENJOY IT!

Stop the guilt garbage; that kind of thinking is very damaging.

Recognize where you are with it, identify what needs to be done and make a plan to do something about it.

Then get busy working your plan.

Leave the guilt garbage behind. You’re better than that.

You don’t do these things every day (at least you shouldn’t) If just once a year you allow yourself to enjoy the holiday treats your guilt factor will go down and your self-love will increase.

Self-love is the key to successful diet and lifestyle changes. It is a complex process that one typically needs support and encouragement to succeed.

You may identify you need to clean up your diet, get moving more, learn about real foods, how to cook great meals easily, meal planning, how to care for your body, skin and spirit.week-3-giving

During this time approaching the New Year, take some time to reflect about the new you that could emerge in the New Year. Think about something you want to accomplish, see, visit, write, develop, do, create; the list is endless and so are your possibilities.

Share your thoughts and goals with us so we can all be supportive of each other.

This year I am going to lose the last 10 pounds and get a movement routine into my schedule that becomes habit. (So my skin and muscles have nice tone!)

I’ll be turning 60 in October and I’ll declare right now: No flabby old lady for me!

#NewYear #selflove #noguilt #gettingbackontrack #bestyearever #beyourself #loveyourself #resolutions