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


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

Herbal Bath Fizzies

Herbal Bath Fizzies

Herbal Bath Fizzes

Nothing relaxes as well as a nice soak in a warm bath especially when that warm bath has an herbal bath fizzy in it.

These are another great gift idea from my kitchen. They are fragrant, pretty and very easy to make. The hardest part is waiting for them to dry. That and not using too much liquid.

This batch recipe makes 8 fizzes the size of mini cup cakes, in fact I use a mini cup cake pan to set them up in. You can use paper liners if you like. If not, be sure to lightly oil the pan so the dried fizzes come out without too much trouble. You can always use any crumbles by the handful in the bath too.

Herbal Bath Fizzes

  • 8 tablespoons baking soda
  • 4 Tablespoons citric acid
  • 4 Tablespoons corn starch
  • 4 Tablespoons Epsom Salts (Unscented are best. Epsom salts with scents and perfumes added are more “moist” than those without.)
  •  1 teaspoon vegetable oil (or vitamin E, jojoba, olive or almond. NOT coconut oil because it will solidify in the drains)
  • 1 Tablespoon strong tea (green, chai, black, coffee, pomegranate juice or plain water)
Chai Rose Herbal Bath Fizzy

Chai Rose Herbal Bath Fizzy

Mix-in ideas:

Powdered green tea, chamomile tea, fine-cut herbs and citrus zest, rose petals, flower petals. Leave flower petals large so they don’t fit down the drain.

Just remember, you don’t want to clog a drain.

Success tips:

In order to be successful making these, you need to understand the science behind what makes them work. When the Herbal Bath Fizzes work, they float around the tub fizzing away like a big Alka-Selser until dissolved. Once dissolved, they leave behind a rich bath full of minerals, skin softeners and stress relieving aromatherapy.

Remember making the volcano lava as a child? You know, mixing the baking soda with the vinegar that produces a huge fizz that rises and flows spending the fizzy energy quickly, depending on how much baking soda you had.

Well basically that’s the same principle here: add the baking soda to an acid, (citric acid), add liquid and watch the fizz begin. So there lies the trick.

The fizz is supposed to happen in the tub. If you add too much liquid to mix the bath fizzes together, they will rise like cupcakes, from a flat batter to a full-blown overflowing, catch-it! mess. Whats the secret? Add only the smallest amount of liquid, only enough to hold the mixture together when it is squeezed together with your hands.

Why? Because it is the liquid that activates the citric acid by liquefying the citric acid and thereby providing an acid base for the baking soda’s reaction of mass expansion. Only use the bare minimum liquid. Measure as directed but only use a tablespoon. I find the liquid is enough for two batches.


Mix the dry ingredients together, making sure there are no lumps.

Mix all dry ingredients, no lumps

Mix all dry ingredients, no lumps

Mix the oil and liquid in a separate bowl. Add 20-30 drops of your favorite fragrance, 1-2 drops of food coloring in a small bowl.

Measure liquids in a separate bowl

Measure liquids in a separate bowl

Use a plastic pipette to measure the drops.  Stir it then measure out exactly 1 tablespoon and drop it into the bowl of salts and minerals (the dry stuff) you just mixed without lumps.

The first thing you will notice it how it poofs as the liquid hits the powders. Stir quickly with a spoon to incorporate the wet with the dry, use your hands to mix the final stage and give it a squeeze test.

Watch it puff! Stir quickly to incorporate. Don't use too much liquid!

Watch it puff! Stir quickly to incorporate. Don’t use too much liquid!

If the mixture even holds together a little bit, its good to go.

If it is a bit dry and won’t hold together, sprinkle just a few drops over the surface and mix again with your hands. Give it a squeeze test, then mold it up.

Use silicone molds or cupcake pans with liners, (or spray the cupcake tin with pan spray to prevent sticking. These can really get stuck in hard once they dry out; you have to chisel them out. I found out the hard way.)

Press mixture firmly into molds

Press mixture firmly into molds. Notice how much the batch in the back has puffed! They kept going and going. . .

When filling, only fill 2/3-3/4 full and press the mixture in very firmly. Always allow room for some puffing. Hopefully it will be a minimum.