In My Kitchen February 2014

I was on the fence about doing an In My Kitchen post this month, I didn’t think I have time. BUT, this morning, I made time to share a few things. Thanks to Celia at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial for hosting! This is what is in my kitchen. . .

I’ve been studying herbalism the last few months. One project required making a strong lavender tea. When ever we have “spent” herbs left over from infusions, decoctions, tinctures or tea, it is recommended to compost the spent herbs. Well I adore lavender, every part of it. I couldn’t quite bring myself to bury the mass of spent lavender buds in the compost.Lavender Heart

Instead, I mixed them with a small bit of Modge-Podge and formed the flowers into a heart using a mold lined with plastic wrap. I let it dry overnight then brushed a bit more modge-podge over the surface and added a layer of dried lavender buds that weren’t spent to the outside surface. I added a bit of ribbon and a few drops of lavender essential oil and hung this lovely heart by my desk. I’ll probably place it in my lingerie drawer after a while. It is very comforting to be studying at my desk and have the lovely lavender aroma wafting by.

I’ve been consuming a lot of tea this winter! One of my favorites is Flowering Tea by Numi. Placing a hand tied tea bud into a glass pot, pouring boiling water over it provides a lovely unfolding of the tea bud. As the leaves unfold, sometimes there are tiny flowers tied inside that get released. it is quite a beautiful show for those who appreciate tea.Numi Flowering Tea Numi Flowering Tea

Monday I start a course in Integrative Nutrition! I am so excited and motivated. In my welcome box, they sent me this ever-so-cute velvet heart, filled with Lavender!

I keep an artist model on my desk. Why? Not sure but I change the poses all the time. Right now it is finding lots of ways to hold on to the heart.Mannekin and heart

One day I’ll start sketching the human body again.

In My Kitchen are these lovely bowls collected from Soup On Sunday events over the years. I think they make great small bowls for all kinds of things.Soup Bowls

This bread mold was ordered thinking it was a pate or terrine mold. I’ll be working this later today to see just how bread turns out.

Bread mold for making round bread for hors d'oeuvres

Bread mold for making round bread for hors d’oeuvre

I’ve started to drink a glass of water with lemon (no sugar!) in it not only the first thing in the morning, but all day long. I’m working on getting up to 8-10 eight ounce glasses a day.

Drink several glasses of lemon water each day

Drink several glasses of lemon water each day

The big thing with beverages is to watch the sugar content! I’d bet that most people don’t realize how much sugar they are consuming through beverages alone. How about you?refreshing lemon water

In My Kitchen, January 2014

Wow! A New Year already and another In My Kitchen Post for January 2014. Shout out to Celia who is the host of this wonderful series!

My kitchen was quite busy in December. This year, I decided to make Spa Baskets for the women of the family and Kitchen Baskets for the families. The spa baskets were such fun! I got to play with making bath fizzies, lip balm, body butters and lotions. I had a blast.

We went to a holiday party where they passed out bags of organic produce as we left.

Burlap potato sacs

Burlap potato sacs

The bags were made of this nifty burlap that make perfect places to store potatoes in the cabinet. I am strangely drawn to them.

Like Joanne in her January INK post, I too got some things to cook hard-boiled eggs in only this package is called “Eggies” while hers are “Easy Eggs”. It doesn’t matter but I haven’t tried them out yet.

Eggies!

Eggies!

Tyler is in my kitchen! I swear he’s grown another inch!

It’s been wonderful to have him home. He goes back to grad school Saturday; we will miss him. Tyler's in the kitchen

In November, I started taking a class on Learning Herbs.

My herbal study nook

My herbal study nook

I got to set up an area just off the kitchen to house all my new ingredients, tools, tinctures and all the great fun stuff needed for the lessons. I really like my little herbal nook.

Tinctures brewing

Tinctures brewing

Spring can’t come too early, I want to plant some herbs!

In my kitchen is an entire drawer devoted to tea.

The Tea Drawer

The Tea Drawer

Since getting the tea pots and cups out of storage, we’ve been making and drinking a lot more tea. I change teapots every week or so. We have two pots brewing almost all of the time. One for regular black tea which gets used mostly for iced tea or the occasional cuppa with a cookie or two.

The other pot is for an herbal tea, kept under a cozy to keep it warm as long as possible. Lately the tea finding its way into the herbal pot is Earl Gray. I love it with a thin slice of lemon and a small bit of sugar, in a china cup , of course. If I could find fresh bergamot, I’d be in heaven.

A student of mine and his wife took a trip to China and brought me back this lovely tin of “Fruit Tea” with the strainer.

Chinese Fruit Tea, love the label!

Chinese Fruit Tea, love the label!

Inside the tea looks like diced dried bits of various fruits and roses. It has a delicate sweet taste that is quite pleasant! I put the spent bits of tea out for the birds with their winter food. They like the fruit! Doug told me the tea was for “graceful aging.”

Since we’ve started drinking more tea, I’ve realized a new tea cozy or two would come in handy and have decided to make a couple. I haven’t started that project yet. This morning, I saw the adorable knitted tea cozy on Celia’s IMK post with knitted olives! I know I won’t be that elaborate, or even knitted but I’m looking forward to seeing what happens. I used to quilt and embroider and tailor so who knows what the tea cozies will look like!

Cozy Update: Celia tole me the knitted olive cozy belongs to Glenda! So if you want to see it, go here to check out the neatest cozy! (Sorry Glenda!)

Anyone out there ever make a tea cozy? What do yours look like? Do you have a pattern or tips you can share?

It’s about to get real cold here in the next week. Down to 8°F which to me is unthinkably cold. I’ll be staying in so maybe working on those cozies may come about.

Here’s to drinking more tea!
Chinese Fruit Tea

Chinese Fruit Tea

Keep comfortable where ever you are.

I’m ready for a great new year, how about you?

In My Kitchen, December 2013

Amazing how quickly this year has passed. I want to express gratitude to Celia at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial for hosting this wonderful series of In My Kitchen glimpses from around the world. It is fascinating to see what is different and what we all have in common.

Being the first of December, it is time to start using the “holiday china”.

Lenox Holiday China

Lenox Holiday China

I  use it the entire month of December and put it all away on New Years Eve. Actually, the china gets pulled out while putting away Thanksgiving dishes. That’s because we seem to use every dish in the house for Thanksgiving and while everything is out of the cabinets, it’s easy to reach the holiday stuff before replacing everything we just used.

I’ve been studying “The Taste of Herbs” course and have been ordering many herbs for the exercises. The ‘homework’ has resulted in making some of my favorite lip balm. I’m one who can’t leave home without lip balm. It’s always in my pocket. Since it is something that goes on the lips, it is also ingested so I prefer using all natural products.

Lips All Natural Soothing Balm, my own lip balm!

Lips All Natural Soothing Balm, my lip balm! Yes, I actually made it.

And wouldn’t you know, it can get expensive and not always ‘perfect’. So one of the assignments was this lip balm. I ordered the tubes online and made a small batch. This stuff is amazing. It is my new go to solution for all my lip balm emergency needs.

Ever made Chai  at home from scratch, rather than bought tea bags?

Homemade Chai Spiced Tea

Homemade Chai Spiced Tea

Well, if you want a home with an amazing aroma, and an entire body warming that feels like a great big bear hug, you’ve got to try making your own. I simmer the concoction in a crock pot on low either overnight or during the day. If you simmer it on the stove top, it is ready to sip and feel dreamy after an hour.

We’ve been enjoying using my tea pots and tea cups. They were in storage for so long, it’s nice to be using them again.

Cups and pots on the shelf

Cups and pots on the shelf

Each day we make at least two pots, one traditional orange pekoe black tea and an herbal tea. We sip them both hot or cold, sometimes we need to make more, depending how cold it is outside.

I am gearing up for Christmas with gifts and cookies from my kitchen.

A plate of Christmas Cookies

A plate of Christmas Cookies

I’ll be doing posts on ideas and things as the month progresses. I refuse to be part of the shopping hoards, just refuse. I need to be practical though because how many would actually appreciate a bottle of Burdock Root Tincture?

A pile of herbal supplies

A pile of herbal supplies

In My Kitchen, November 2013

Gearing up for the holidays! I love this time of year, preparing for big family meals, making clever little gifts from the kitchen, cookies and treats galore, is always so much fun!

I was late with the October In My Kitchen so I vowed to be on time with this one. Celia at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial hosts this great gathering of people all over the world sharing what’s “In My Kitchen”. Link back to Celia’s site to join in!

Tonight we are getting our first freeze of the season. The tomato plant that was planted back in April has turned out to be one monster of a plant, producing tomatoes the size of soft balls weighing between 9.5 and 16.4 ounces each! The plant has a basket full that should get harvested before the freeze. I’ll have to pull out my dad’s Green Tomato Chow Chow recipe, after we slice, bread and fry a couple first.

Final Harvest!

Final Harvest!

I enjoy a good fried green now and then, after I’ll try a pie.

I have fresh turmeric in my kitchen this month!

Fresh Turmeric

Fresh Turmeric

I felt so lucky to find it. We’ve been using it for sautes, potatoes rice and all kinds of dishes. You do have to be careful though in that is notoriously famous for staining everything it comes in contact with, bright yellow. Fingers, boards, clothing, so use caution if you  don’t want anything stained by the intense color of fresh turmeric. I put a paper towel down on my cutting board before using fresh turmeric to protect it from stains.

Turmeric is a great healing spice so it is good to find ways to work some into your diet. One of my favorite dished to make with it is an Indian dish called “Aloo Gobi“. This is a dish made from cauliflower and potatoes and is very aromatic and delicious.

I started taking an online course from Rosalee de la Foret in Canada on “The Taste of Herbs.” This course takes 5 months and breaks herbs and spices into 5 categories. You learn about the healing properties and how to use the herbs and spices.

She approaches Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda concepts with an ease that makes it so understandable.

So far, I find it very informative. I’m glad I signed up.

Rosalee may offer the course again in the Spring so if you are interested, visit the Taste of Herbs website here: http://www.tasteofherbs.com/standby_pages/25720

Below is the blueprint that is the foundation of the course.

Isn’t that interesting?!

I found these adorable little dishes in a shop. I couldn’t resist them. Robert is wondering what I’ll use them for so I’ll have to put on the creative cap to show him how essential they are to have in my kitchen.

Irresistible small dishes

Irresistible small dishes

I have a big bowl of apples!

Fresh Crisp Fall Apples

Fresh Crisp Fall Apples

We gave some out for trick or treats last night along with mandarin oranges and organic lollipops. I drew pumpkin faces on the mandarins. When the kids got to choose, It was surprising how many chose fruit over the candy!

Trick or Treat Goodie Basket: Mandarin Oranges, Crisp Apples and Organic lollies

Trick or Treat Goodie Basket: Mandarin Oranges, Crisp Apples and Organic lollies

We made sure everyone got an orange, even the parents.

And then there was the time this month, I walked into the kitchen and saw a delicious plate set up and I ate it. Only later to realize I ate the photo shoot.

I’ll be cooking and hosting Thanksgiving at my house this year! I am so excited. I’ll have to plan on taking lots of photos and writing lots of posts with ideas for the upcoming holidays.

In the meantime, What’s in your kitchen this month?

I ate the photo shoot

I ate the photo shoot

In My Kitchen October 2013

Last week we were swimming at the lake, today we are wearing light sweaters and sipping hot tea.

Ahh! Welcome Autumn!

After canning my rear end off last month, its nice to look at something other than mason jars and canning pots. I’m quite sure we will enjoy these things come cooler months.

I got to pull some of my china and other “stuff” out of storage and put into use this lovely oil dispenser. Pottery Oil Can

I really like this one. It was hand-made by an artist in Boca Raton, FL. I adore using well made pottery.

Pumpkins and squash fill my counters. Ready to eat this season.

These various squash found their way into my basket while shopping this weekend.

These various squash found their way into my basket while shopping this weekend.

I love roasting squash and serving it with butter, salt and fresh pepper. Yum.

Yesterday I made Butternut Squash Soup for lunch with Grilled Cheese and Tomato Sandwiches pressed on the Panini press.

We have a lovely pumpkin and fall squash display on the front step.

Stacked Pumpkins on the step

Stacked Pumpkins on the step

I topped one with moss and succulents for accent;

Pumpkin with Moss and Succulents

Pumpkin with Moss and Succulents

we are progressively eating our way through the rest!

While this October edition of In My Kitchen was due a good while back, I’ve been quite busy working on a few things.

For one, I studied my butt off to take the certifying exam for “Certified Dietary Manager” or CDM. I’ve been cramming medical nutritional therapies and medical codes into my head and now that I’ve passed the exam I have more free time to blog.

In My Kitchen now are 6 molds of goat cheese draining,

Goat Cheese Draining

Goat Cheese Draining

2 bread loaves rising, lobster tails, stone crab claws and Mimosa’s for lunch because today is my birthday!

And it’s time to start working on November’s In My Kitchen! Celia of Fig Jam and Lime Cordial, Hosts this wonderful gathering each month. Visit and join in!

In My Kitchen, September 2013

I nearly choked when I saw how many months have passed since I did one of Celia’s In My Kitchen Posts! Since this happens to be a long weekend in the US, I’m making time to do one this month.

Here goes!

In my kitchen this summer, is an egg plate that holds 6 deviled eggs. I loved the small version. Now Robert and I can have deviled eggs without having to make a whole dozen just to fill up the plate. (Yeah, I’m obsessive like that) I think it’s funny how the depressions in the photo have the optical illusion of being convex rather than concave.

6-egg Egg Plate

I’ve been pickling up a storm this summer.

Vegetables ready to pickle!

Vegetables ready to pickle!

Pickling Cukes

Pickling Cucumbers

I hope we have enough to last us this  winter. I’ve made Sweet Pickle Chips, Half Sours, Dill Pickles, Pickled Cauliflower, Pickled Beets, Pickle Relish.

When I was done pickling, I made jams.

Simmering whole fig and lemon jam

Simmering whole fig and lemon jam

Blueberry, Lemon and Thyme, Strawberry Basil Balsamic and Whole Fig and Lemon.

Strawberries and basil

Strawberries and basil

Blueberry, Lemon and Thyme Jam

Blueberry, Lemon and Thyme Jam

These two were also in the jam batch: Peach, Pepper with Ginger, and Mint Jelly. I used natural pectin by using grated apple peel.

Grate apple peel for pectin

Grate apple peel for pectin

While the canner was out, and to take advantage of 4 gallons of boiling water, I also threw together a batch of Heirloom Tomato Salsa, Homemade Ketchup, and Dijon Style Mustard and our own processed Horseradish.

Horseradish Root

Horseradish Root. See the sprout on the end? It sprouted so now it’s growing in the garden. In a pot since I understand it spreads and is hard to control. I just cut the sprouted bit off, stuck it in some dirt and before too long it grew.

Processed Horseradish, for the perfect Bloody Mary!

Processed Horseradish, for the perfect Bloody Mary! I love horseradish on most any protein with a squirt of fresh lemon

Homemade Condiments

Homemade Condiments

The “PING!” of cooling jars seemed to be non-stop for several days.

Now I have to find somewhere to store all these jars!

I found this great bowl and sauce server in the cabbage Leaf patters by Majorca Ware; I just love it!

Cabbage Leaf bowl and Sauce Server

Cabbage Leaf bowl and Sauce Server

What’s happening in your kitchen?

Sweet Pickle Chips

Sweet Pickle Chips

In My Kitchen February 2013

I missed out on last months post, mainly because I ran out of time and the other was due to being “suspended “ on WordPress. (Yeah, I’m such a bad girl!)

This In My Kitchen posting neatly summarizes what has been happening in my kitchen over the last month.

At Soup in Sunday I bought another bowl, for condiments this time.

The new bowl

The new bowl

There has been lots of information going around on how to grow things from kitchen scraps. I love scallions and have a hard time getting them to grow. My dad on the other hand gets things to grow for him just by thinking about it.

"Hydroponic" Scallions; They will need dirt soon!

“Hydroponic” Scallions; They will need dirt soon!

So scallions are now growing in vases for easy clipping and almost instant regrowth. They will need soil soon, I’m sure

In my kitchen this month are these lovely measuring cups.

Hedge Hog measuring cups

Hedge Hog measuring cups

You can use them as scoops too

You can use them as scoops too

How cute are these? They were a Christmas gift from Robert’s daughter Kim. Aren’t they adorable!

I started taking a class (just because) on Nutritional Concepts and Medical Nutritional Therapy so the awareness of what we eat has been in the spotlight. Eating/using  a lot of butter (I love butter!) is one thing that has changed. I used to keep at least 5# of butter on hand for baking but now, I hardly have any. If I want to bake, a to run to the store would be required. This step alone has really put a damper on the treats available in my kitchen.

So now baking sweet treats involves some actual thinking about it rather than just jumping in and baking my heart out.

I am teaching a baking class this semester so the advantage of this is I get to play with tons of dough and make all kinds of things all day long. When I come home, the treats aren’t staring me in the face demanding “eat me!”

However, Celia’s Chocolate Nutella frogs had me locating the jar of Nutella and slathering it on to  a Trisket and topping that with a few pistachios. Thankfully there are no incriminating photographs!

In my kitchen this month is a  new (to me) book, The Bread Baker’s Apprentice  authored by Peter Reinhardt.

I find it fascinating. Additionally, I bought a couche for when I make bread. the need has been there for a while, I’m just getting around to buying one.

Bread Baker's Apprentice and floured couche

Bread Baker’s Apprentice and floured couche

One of our friends is a friend of Peters. I am hoping to get the book signed one day.

In my kitchen are some great new lenses for the i phone!

i Phone lenses

i Phone lenses

There are three of them, wide-angle, fish eye and macro lenses. I am really looking forward to having the time to really learn how to use them effectively.

I’ll do a post on the shots the camera makes with the different lenses.

Here is a shot using the macro lens

Using the i phone macro lens

Using the i phone macro lens

So, now it is time to go make bread for the week. Celia’s pain-viennois and Richard Bertinet’s method of kneading the sticky dough mass until smooth and elastic seems just like the therapy I need today.

I’ll make some with chocolate!

Gratitude goes out to Celia of Fig Jam and Lime Cordial for hosting this fun series of peeking into one another’s kitchens each month.

Promise, I’ll get back on track and not be so late  submitting next month.

Pain Chocolate

Pain Chocolate