A Lavender Dessert to Remember…

If you love Creme Brulee and lavender, here is a recipe that is to “die” for.  I know it’s the beginning of the New Year and we’re all thinking about our healthy resolutions, but I have to share this Honey-Lavender Creme Brulee recipe with you before it fades into Christmas past memory.  We served it at our annual Boxing Day dinner party  to eight other couples and everyone was wowed!

Creme Brulee with Lavender and HoneyI have never made Creme Brulee before, but it’s definitely been on my culinary bucket list, so this was the year. I borrowed a kitchen torch and 6 ramekins (the oval type) to augment my round 6 oz version and made a few substitutions to simplify the process.   It’s easy to get it right the very first time!

This recipe was a winner of the Frei Brothers Winery contest and published in Bon Appetit Magazine, Holiday edition 2014.  It came originally from My Backyard, Eugene Oregon.

Honey-Lavender Creme Brulee
(pairs with Frei Brothers Russian River Sauvignon Blanc)

Makes 6 Servings

  • 3 cups of heavy cream
  • 1 Tbsp. dried lavender buds
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise, seeds scraped out and reserved
  • 5 Tbsp. sugar, divided
  • 1/4 cup of honey
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • Special equipment: 6 ,6-7 oz. round ramekins, a kitchen torch

Note: I substituted lavender honey and our own Tahitian Vanilla lavender sugar to skip steeping and straining the lavender buds.  I did heat the cream with an extra vanilla bean which was easy to remove without straining.

Directions
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  In medium saucepan, bring cream, lavender and vanilla bean and seeds to simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat; allow to steep 10 min.  Strain mixture into a bowl.

In a bowl of a stand mixer, combine 3 Tbsp. sugar, honey and yolks over low speed until well combined and starting to change color, about 2 min.  Slowly stream in milk mixture; mix until just combined (to avoid becoming foamy)

Place ramekins in high-sided baking pan’ divide cream mixture evenly among them.  Fill baking pan with water until it goes 3/4 up the side of the ramekins.  Bake 50-55 min. until mixture is set, but still wobbly.

Remove ramekins from pan; place in refrigerator for at least 2 hours and up to 2 days.  To serve, remove from refrigerator and keep at room temperature for 20 min.  Sprinkle custards with 2 Tbsp. sugar.  Using kitchen torch, melt sugar evenly until deep brown and crunchy.

Prep time: 15 min

Bake time: 55 minutes

Chill time: 2 hrs up to two days

Epilogue
Inspired by this delightful recipe, I decided to purchase my own kitchen torch.  I found several brands out there from kitchen stores, but decided upon a professional model that didn’t need to be recharged frequently during the process.  J.C. Penny online had a great looking professional torch (on sale) which I’ve ordered  http://www.jcpenney.com/dotcom/jsp/browse/product.jspcontainerId=JCP|EMAIL&ppId=1845358

 I’ll keep you posted as this dessert will become a favorite at LavenderGreen Farm!

 Happy New Year,
Ginna

Self Soothing Strategies with Lavender

Lavender Essential Oil, Lavender Aromatherapy for Sleep & Natural Relaxation

When news of the world is overwhelming I find myself wishing to be rocked by my Grandmother in her warm lap with my head resting on her generous bosom. Since that is no longer possible and memories fade, I need to find other ways to soothe myself and my loved ones. My tendency is to try to rescue or help, but much of what I see and hear is far outside the realm of my control. I can’t fight insanity or the spread of plague, but I can try to overcome evil with good in my own little arena. There are more wonderful than diabolical people in the world and good will overcome evil, or so I hope is true!

I don’t think I’m the only one feeling this way. Lavender self soothers are trending at LavenderGreen.Com this month, possibly an indication that our customers are feeling a desire to nurture their bodies and souls more than usual. Lavender is a very calming essential oil and can help us maintain our functional availability by muting stressful emotions.

Lavender Goats Milk SoapLavender Lotion with Shea ButterLavender Essential OilPersonal DIffuserLavender Massage OilMassage Oil CandleAromatherapy for your home - Lavender Aroma Sticks, Reed DiffusersLavender Neck Pillow and Sleeping Eye Mask - Curvy ShapeLavender and Buckwheat-filled Spa Wrap Set

Lavender soaps and lotions, Lavender essential oil in personal aromatherapy diffusers, massage oils and candles, Aroma Sticks and lavender filled pillows are going out to lavender lovers all over the country right now.

Here are 10 more ideas I’ve thought of and tried to soothe my own troubled heart:

1. Practice Qi Gong, This is an effective and gentle exercise that is a little like Tai Chi, but easy to master the first time with a  DVD or tape like Lee Holden’s Qi AM/PM workout.  It stretches the body and focuses the mind.  I’ve found wonderful in the morning to set up a positive day and great at day’s end to relax. I do a lot of walking to and from and working in the garden which helps too!

2.  Love our pets for their empathy.  A puppy in my case.  We were gifted a red mini-poodle in March and now that we’re into our 7th month, petting, playing and meeting the needs of Cocoa is very soothing and makes me laugh.

3.  Home made soup.  Just made a big pot with roasted chicken, great northern beans, spinach, tomatoes in a stock made from the left over chicken simmered to a broth with celery, carrots and onion.  A little Tuscan seasoning and Worcestershire sauce added robust flavor, along with black pepper and sea salt

4. I’m reading Ken Follett’s new fiction “Edge of Eternity” book three of the century trilogy.  I find that compelling fiction, set in another time and place helps put the human experience into context.

5.  Reconnecting with family, former colleagues and friends and expressing gratitude for their friendship.  Real live connections help balance the input of our virtual world. Cheering a friend in need with a gift, card or call is a tonic to my own outlook.

6.  Getting in touch with my faith by reading C. S. Lewis…I typed chapter 13 of the Great Divorce and posted it on the fridge as a morning mantra.  “The Happy Trinity is her home, nothing will trouble her joy”….So timeless and empowering!  It’s actually Lewis’s feminized paraphrase of Psalm 91.

7.  Lavender…I love going into the Summer Kitchen to fulfill orders.  The Summer Kitchen is where we inventory our dried lavender.  Its fragrance overwhelms me with peace.  If you ever come to visit, I’ll take you there to just breathe.

8.  Listen to Music.  I love hearing “Anthem” by Ronan Hardeman when I’m by myself in the Summer Kitchen to buoy my spirit.  It works every time with it’s haunting melody and plaintive peaceful lyrics.

9. Take Action!  Do something…even just one little thing!  The pen is mightier than the sword, so I’m tweeting social media outlets suggesting they raise the bar on their broadcasting standards to help combat hate and fear riddled rhetoric and videos.

10.  Watch PBS.  With few exceptions PBS almost always has something to offer which is interesting, educational and entertaining.  So I’m supporting them and programming our household media “feed”.  “Charlie Rose” is a ritual but late night shock talk radio is banned here.

I’m very curious to learn how you self soothe?  Can you share some ideas of what you find peace giving?

Peaceful Wishes,
Ginna

#lavenderessentialoils #lavenderoil #lavendersleep

Three Simple Steps to Get Rid of Moths

Crocus at Lavender Green FarmChanging seasons signal the time to protect your wardrobe from the dreaded Moth whose damage to a favorite garment is disheartening and expensive. Moths will attack any natural or synthetic and natural blended fabrics, so nearly everything in your closet is a target. They will even go after leather! While sometimes the telltale holes can be rewoven, most moth damaged clothing ends up a total loss.

Lavender can protect your valuable wardrobe from moths with a fragrance that will soothe your soul. Unlike mothballs which smell toxic and cedar which can stain clothing, lavender can be used to prevent, clean and store your clothing as a triple threat to a Moth invasion without any negative side effects.

Tineola bisselliella 1

Step 1: Environmental Scan

Begin by taking everything out of your closet. Vacuum the floor and “swiffer” the walls–you may want go a step further by washing floor and wall surfaces with lavender floor soap to clean and freshen. This is a “moth prevention” tactic and will greatly reduce the probability that these destructive pests will find a home in your closet. If you do discover any moths (dead or alive) call a professional pest management company and start the scan on each closet in your home before they arrive. As you put each outfit back, inspect clothing for soil and stains and sort into two groups for washing or dry-cleaning. Make another pile for clean, out of season clothing to go directly to storage.

Step 2: Clean and Protect

Moths will be attracted to any biodegradable soil in clothing, but dry-cleaning or washing will eliminate the attraction. Wash rather than dry clean as much as possible following the care instructions and add lavender laundry conditioner to final wash rinse for an “all over” lavender scent and layer of protection. Tossing lavender dryer sachets into the dry cycle will provide lighter scent and can also be used as refresher for clean woolen sweaters and blankets on the “dryer press” cycle.

Add freshness and moth protection to your closets with our Lavender Closet Set.

Add freshness and moth protection to your closets with our Lavender Closet Set.

Step 3: Store

Store your clean, out of season clothes in a cloth garment bag and hang a lavender sachet on the inside over one of the hangers. For long-lasting lavender protection, spray the cloth garment bag with lavender sheet spray. Remember to use a wooden, plastic or padded hanger of the right size and button the garment, so that the shoulders and lapels are not distorted next season. Store the garment bags in a clean, cool and dry area and label the contents so you can find an outfit in a hurry. For foldable items, tightly sealed plastic storage containers work well and can often slide under your bed for easy access. Before snapping them shut, add a lavender dryer sachet. For open shelf or basket storage, you can place each item in a heavy duty plastic storage bag and chill it for an hour in the freezer before storing. This extra step will kill any moth larvae that you may have missed.

Lavender Shoe Stuffers

Don’t forget that your shoes are also a target for moths. Fill them with our Lavender Shoe Stuffers for freshness every day.

Remember that your shoes can also be a target. First clean then store out of season shoes in a shoe bag or caddy and use a lavender filled shoe stuffer to keep them dry, fresh and protected.

How often should this be done? Twice a year the experts advise.

To learn more about lavender closet tips and purchase items mentioned in this article please check out our Closet Freshener Line

12 Ways to Use Lavender in Your Wedding

I found this article in our archives and since we’re moving into Spring and thinking “wedding” I thought it would be fun to update and repost it.  Just ignore the 37 year wedding anniversary reference as time flies when we’re having fun! We now host weddings at Lavender Green Farm and can bring lavender into your wedding at the farm in unique and delightful ways.

Organic Lavender Flowers-Lavender Green Farm Dancing in the fields.This month Chris and I will celebrate our 37th Wedding Anniversary. It seems as though we’ve been together for our entire lives and it feels as though we have just fallen in love. A paradox! We were married in 1969 on our family farm, which is now Lavender Green. Our wedding was simple in ceremony and music and yet lush with 300 guests, great food cooked outdoors, and lots of love! As I remember, there were flowers and fragrance everywhere.

We celebrate every wedding anniversary and mentally renew our vows at every wedding we attend. My wedding dress is carefully packed away and I can still slip into it, which I did on our 25th anniversary.

Lavender Wedding with organic lavender flowers.One of our many passions is the growing of lavender, which has historically represented love and fidelity. Our website features a number of home, travel, and wedding gifts hand sewn and crafted at the farm.

Our most delightful customers are Brides, planning their own weddings and planning to use lavender in unique ways to add fragrance to the celebration. They look to us to provide dried lavender for their own creations, or keepsakes from our wedding line or recipes for food or drink. We raise a number of different kinds of lavender and guide them on what would work the best in their own wedding.

 

Here are twelve of the most popular ways to use lavender in your wedding:

For the Ceremony itself:
1. Dried lavender buds for the flower girl to strew down the aisle fills the space with scent. As the bridesmaids follow, stepping on the buds releases even more fragrance to last the ceremony. (No one ever objects to the lingering scent of dried lavender in the vacuum cleaner)
2. Lavender buds in the ring bearers pillow scent the ceremony for the Bride, Groom and wedding party–it can be very heady and romantic and memorable. The pillow fragrance will last forever and can find a place on your bed to hold the memory and freshen your linens.
3. Bunches of dried lavender tied with big bows at each pew or row of chairs. Dried lavender stems can be cut to any length and made just the right size to work with the bow.
4. Consider a Unity or Promise Candle made with lavender and soy wax to light at the wedding and anniversaries ever after.
5. Fresh lavender in the Bridal and Bridesmaids bouquet for color and fragrance.
6. As a wedding toss, dried lavender in little net bags can be given to each guest to toss at the departing Bride and Groom. It is a soft and fragrant toss that will not offend humans or birds. We suggest the dried French variety because it is less expensive than our organic varieties.

For the Reception
7.
Mini-lavender bouquets for place cards are very popular as well as little lavender “shot” candles to brighten your table at the reception and provide a subtle fragrance for the life of the party. We often provide the lavender for your own creation, or we can craft it to meet your specifications.
8. Lavender (our organic Munstead variety) can enhance the food and beverage served at the Reception. Many delicious recipes are available to make lavender scented Cakes, ice cream, cookies and punch. A sprig of lavender in a glass of champagne makes a wonderful aperitif, for example.

Special Gifts for the Bride and Groom and the Wedding Party:
9. Brides have purchased items from our wedding and travel lines such as scented hangers and sachets to give as gifts to the wedding party. Mothers of the Bride especially appreciate a wedding keepsake. Our spa line provides a memorable thank you to those who helped make your day, too.

After the Wedding
10. Store your wedding gown in a large box with acid free paper and tuck in our Lavender filled bridal wear storage liner to keep mustiness and moths away from your dress and veil. A young woman of the future may want to wear your dress! Tuck lavender scented shoe stuffers into your shoes to keep them looking new and fresh as well.
11. Throw leftover lavender buds into your bath for romance and stress relief from the big day.
12. Take a nap with a silky eye pillow filled with flax to reduce puffiness and lavender to ensure restful sleep and sweet dreams. Or tuck a Battenburg sleep envelope into your pillowcase for a long night’s sleep.

 

Lavender is one of the most beloved herbs and scents in the world and is equally enjoyed by men and women so use it liberally and experiment with your own creations! We would love to hear stories of how you brought lavender into your wedding!

 

All the Best,

 

Ginna Gemmell

Lavender Lover’s Chocolate Valentine Recipes

“Biochemically, love is just like eating large amounts of chocolate”.
~ John Milton

Chris and Gina Gemmel farm wedding at Lavender Green Farm

My husband, Chris loves chocolate in all of its forms, so I thought I’d make him a chocolate cake for Valentine’s Day as an expression of my love for him.  We have been married since “childhood” and I hope to keep the love by adding some lavender for its mythical effects on nurturing it.  Both chocolate and lavender have a long history in aiding affairs of the heart and this recipe is lower in fat than most (at 0.5 grams per serving) so it will be kind to his heart both ways.

A very personal and romantic message written on a blank or homemade Valentine card is also part of my plan. This year, I think, something from the heart will be so much better than a box of chocolates with mysterious centers, purchased at the last minute.  I’m aiming for an original card and our Lavender Lover’s Chocolate cake to make this Valentine’s Day memorable.

I’ve used LavenderGreen’s prepared Lavender and Tahitian Vanilla sugar in this recipe, but you can make your own by adding a teaspoon to a tablespoon of crushed lavender petals and a vanilla bean to a cup or two of sugar and storing it in a cool dry place for ten days. You can order it on our site.  Or, if you are running late, you can use plain sugar with 1 1/2 teaspoons of pure vanilla and a teaspoon or two of crushed lavender florets.

If you are using lavender buds you have on hand, make sure they are of the English, Angustifolia variety such as  Hidcote or Munstead which are best for cooking.  Craft quality lavender is better suited for sachets and soaps because it has a clean, sharp fragrance that would spoil the scent and taste of the cake.

You might want to try this cake (even if you’re not trying to woo your husband or lover this Valentine’s Day) and be sweet to yourself and your friends and family. It takes about an hour from start to finish, including baking.

Heart Cake

Lavender Lover’s Chocolate Valentine Cake

Ingredients

1 3/4 cups un-sifted flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
13 tablespoons cocoa, unsweetened
2 cups lavender vanilla sugar (reduce sugar if desired)
7 tablespoons canola oil
1 cup nonfat milk
2 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup boiling water

Directions

1. Combine all dry ingredients.
2. Put into large mixing bowl with the rest of ingredients, except for water.
3. Add boiling water and stir.
4. Put into greased 9 x 13, or 2 8 inch cake pans that have been greased and floured.
5. Bake at 350 degrees F.
6. Bake layers for 30-35 minutes  (round layer or heart shaped pan)
Bake 9 x 13 for 35-40 minutes (sheet cake size)

Notes for the chef:  Your batter may look a little thin, but this recipe produces a very moist chocolate cake.  You may lift cake on to a platter with raspberry sauce as shown in the picture and top with fresh raspberries, or ice the cake with your favorite icing.  For Lavender Lovers, we also like to dust it with powdered sugar or whipped cream with lavender flowers strewn on top.

Credits, this recipe has been modified from a Hershey’s original and adapted by Lavender Lynn and LavenderGreen.

If you don’t have a heart shaped baking pan, make the sheet cake format and cut individual servings with a heart shaped cookie cutter.

Calories: 185 per serving for the cake

 

In the mood for a lighter dose of Chocolate and Lavender?

Enjoy our favorite Lavender hot chocolate recipe.

 

Cup of hot chocolate with Lavender

Lavender Hot Chocolate

 

About This Recipe

This is a wonderful recipe posted on Food.com by “ratherbeswimin” in 2008 and made at the farm many times.  We substitute 3 tablespoons of our own Tahitian Lavender sugar and omit the pulverized dried lavender and vanilla extract from this recipe, but it’s great either way.  Calories are 196 per cup. We also top off the pretty cup with a little whipped cream sprinkled with lavender florets when we’re in the mood and don’t mind the extra calories.  To cut calories in half, make this cup half coffee and half hot chocolate which I do when I need a quick, feel good pick-me-up in the afternoon.

Ingredients

4 cups whole milk or 4 cups half-and-half
1 tablespoon pulverized dried lavender
1 ounce bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
3 tablespoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions

1. Add milk to a medium saucepan; add in the lavender; set over medium heat and bring just to a boil.
2. Remove from the heat and steep for 5-8 minutes, or longer for a stronger lavender flavor.
3. Return saucepan to heat; whisk in the chocolate until melted and smooth.
4. Whisk in the cocoa powder, sugar, and salt; remove from the heat and whisk in the vanilla extract.
5. Divide among 4 Irish coffee glasses or mugs, straining out the lavender if desired.

 

Prep Time: 15 mins
Total Time: 30 mins
Servings: 4

 

Happy Lavender Valentine’s Day to You!

Cheers,
Ginna

Staying Warm with Lavender

1112_5610As the thermometer continues to drop this week, I’m warming up our Cheetah print flannel Spa wraps and pillows in the microwave to give added spot warmth to my bed before tucking in at night and over my shoulders as I sit before the computer.  Not only do our pillows and wraps take off the chill, they also make the whole house very fragrant with lavender.  Lavender lifts my spirits and makes me think of summer which helps with SAD (seasonal affective disorder) or cabin fever during the dark days of winter.

Spa Wraps with Lavender

Our Spa Wraps stay very warm and fragrant for 30 minutes because they are filled with lavender and buckwheat berries which hold the heat longer than any other natural filling.  Our pillows filled with lavender and buckwheat hulls will stay warm for 20 minutes after 2 minutes in the Microwave–a little less time than the berry filling, but still very warming.

 

Any of our pillows filled with buckwheat hulls can be heated in the microwave. Allow me to suggest some of my favorite choices to warm up with on these icy cold days.

pillows-aThe Chair, Keyboard and Mouse pillows are good for warming in the office.  Warm our Travel pillows by first removing the Microfiber cover.  It feels very relaxing while it warms and cradles your neck and head.

 

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Our sea breeze pillows are filled with lavender and buckwheat hulls, this cover can be removed and the inner pillow warmed in the microwave for up to two minutes. It will provide warmth for about 20 minutes–just right for a long winter’s nap.

 

Night Owl Velvet pillow & Mask setNight Owl Neckroll pillow – Remove its cover and warm this pillow for two minutes in the microwave and it will reward you with 20 minutes of warmth and comfort.

 

Lavender PillowLavender bed pillow

 

large spa wraps

All of our Spa Wraps are good warmers, but the Tummy Wrap and the Back Wrap cover the most territory.

With our flat-rate priority mail shipping, you can order as many as you like for the same $9.90 rate.

Brrr..Keep warm and snuggly, Everybody.

Cheers!
Ginna

Staying Calm Through the Holiday Season with Lavender

 

Escalators in Shopping CenterPhoto Credit: Paul Szustka

Here we are again!  It’s the most wonderful time of the year!  Don’t we wish Santa’s elf would come early and help us make the Holidays special for our family so that we could enjoy it too?

We could, of course, have gathered gifts all year or waited in line and joined the fray of Black Friday bargain shoppers.  Alternatively, we can order on-line or from catalogues.  Even ordering on-line can be tough as we ponder over hundreds of choices and variations late into the night, during our lunch break at work, or getting up before dawn’s early light.  Whatever method we chose shopping can be taxing on our bodies and our soul, especially when added to an already full and merry schedule.  We need lavender this time of year!

The important attitude is to stay calm, keep healthy, enjoy the process and pace ourselves to minimize the stress of it all.  It may seem obvious to lavender lovers that the aromatherapy value of lavender to calm us is invaluable during the holidays.  Lavender essential oil was created by Mother Nature for just this purpose. Along with its many other attributes and benefits, lavender works wonders on calming nerves and providing a sense of well being–it can slow down “hectic” in a hurry.

 

Row of personal aromatherapy diffusers

How can you have lavender’s calming scent surround you no matter where the season takes you?  Lavender essential oil is volatile, which means that it evaporates.  But, there are some ways to diffuse it that maximize its longevity and potency.  One of the best ways is through a personal aromatherapy diffuser.  It is the size of a tube of lipstick and can be carried in your pocket or purse.   Inhale a few deep breaths and re-cap the tube to use when you need another breath of calm.  LavenderGreen’s personal diffuser comes with a 1 dram refill bottle which will last several years.

NanoHeat® USB Aroma DiffuserSitting at your desk in front of your computer with deadlines pressing?  Diffuse lavender whenever you turn on your computer with the latest USB powered Nanoheat diffuser.  Simply add a few drops to the special tissues, place on the diffuser and enjoy instant lavender fragrance that lasts until you log off or disconnect the cord.  It is discrete, efficient and personal. You will be the only one who can enjoy the calming fragrance.

 

Lavender Terra-Cotta PendantOn the run?  Sprinkle a few drops of lavender essential oil on a necklace to have aromatherapy at your heart center.  You’ll be less prone to bumping into others in crowds or slipping on icy sidewalks when you are calm and patient.

 

Lavender and Buckwheat-filled Neck Roll Pillow and Sleep Mask SetToo tired to sleep with your To Do list swirling through your mind keeping your eyes wide open.  A lavender sleep mask or pillow can help lull you into a gentle state of relaxing sleep.  Need something stronger?  Try Sandman which includes lavender, tangerine and marjoram oils to give you extra hours of needed sleep.  Need a gift idea for someone who has problems sleeping check out our Sleep Mask and Sandman Special Gift Set

Remember that we’re all up the same “tree” so let’s be kind to and forgiving of one another.   After all, isn’t that the real meaning of the Season?

Cheers!
Ginna

Let’s Talk Turkey

Live Turkey in WoodsEveryone has a turkey story and I’ll share one that makes me blush!  A long, long time ago I invited my in-laws to Thanksgiving dinner.  I had a very busy schedule at Fisher-Price Toys in East Aurora, NY and the holidays were hectic as you can imagine.  Fisher-Price had a wonderful tradition of giving employees a turkey for the holidays.  I froze this huge turkey for our big Thanksgiving feast.  With all of the preparations, though, I neglected to take the turkey out of the freezer to defrost in time.  So, Thanksgiving morning, with local grocery stores closed, I had to deal with this partially frozen turkey.  Necessity being the mother of invention, I decided to pop it in the microwave on “cook” and then brown it in the regular oven.

Don’t try this at home!  My turkey looked beautiful and smelled OK, but when we carved it, it was shoe leather on the inside and very rare just under the nicely browned skin.  We had to toss the turkey and go out for dinner.  Of course, this sad affair has lived on in the story telling tradition of my husband’s family and it was a bit hard to live it down.  Fortunately, twenty years have passed along with at least 20 turkey dinners and I can now claim to make a perfect turkey at Thanksgiving.

There are many ways to prepare your Thanksgiving Turkey, from brining to deep frying, and perhaps you have tried them all.  Our favorite at the farm is a slow roasted turkey seasoned with Herbs de Provence for a classic that is easy to prepare and a favorite for everyone’s palate.  We use our own organic blend of Herbs de Provence with Marjoram, Oregano, Lavender and Thyme.  The ingredient of lavender cannot be found in many Herbs de Provence blends on the market but it is wonderful, giving a slight floral twist to the fragrance and taste.  Herbs de Provence is a lovely seasoning for game fowl, like pheasant, too.

One of our favorite recipes is Williams-Sonoma’s take on this classic, presented below and tested in our kitchen for a decade, at least.  You won’t be disappointed and remember, a Turkey and a Microwave oven are not the best companions.

Herbes de Provence Roast Turkey

Herbes de Provence Roast Turkey

Image Credit:Williams-Sonoma.com

Ingredients:

1 fresh or thawed frozen turkey, about 16 lb.
1 yellow onion, quartered
2 celery stalks, cut into 2-inch lengths
3 or 4 fresh flat-leaf parsley sprigs
2 to 3 Tbs. herbes de Provence
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
4 to 6 Tbs. (1/2 to 3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted

Directions:

Let the turkey stand at room temperature for 1 hour. Do not leave the turkey at room temperature longer than 1 hour.

Position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 425°F.

Remove the giblets and neck from the turkey and reserve for making gravy, if desired. Rinse the turkey inside and out with cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Place the onion, celery, parsley and 1 Tbs. of the herbes de Provence in the body cavity, and season with salt and pepper. If desired, truss the turkey with kitchen twine. Brush the turkey with some of the melted butter. Sprinkle with the remaining herbes de Provence and season with salt and pepper.

Place the turkey, breast side down, on a buttered roasting rack in a large roasting pan. Roast for 30 minutes, basting with some of the remaining butter after 15 minutes. Using 2 pairs of tongs or heat-resistant kitchen gloves or mitts, turn the turkey breast side up and reduce the oven temperature to 325°F. Continue roasting, basting with the remaining butter and pan juices every 15 to 20 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast, away from the bone, registers 165°F, and into the thigh, 175°F. Total roasting time should be 3 to 3 3/4 hours.

Transfer the turkey to a warmed platter, cover loosely with aluminum foil and let rest for about 20 minutes before carving. Serves 12.

Williams-Sonoma Kitchen.

Note: Herbs de Provence and Herbes de Provence both correct spellings .  They can also include other herbs, like tarragon or fennel, so be sure to read the label to ensure that you are going to love the blend. Ours is perfect for lavender lovers.

Cheers,
Ginna

Inviting Lavender to Your Thanksgiving Table

Table set for ThanksgivingMaking Thanksgiving dinner at home is always a pleasure for those within shouting distance as wave-upon-wave of marvelous cooking fragrances create anticipation of a wonderful feast.  My husband, Chris, loves experiencing this Holiday at home for precisely this reason … and maybe a little football echoing in the distance.  Dinner at a restaurant would be less rewarding because the house lacks both that “turkey smell” and the leftovers.

For the home chef, though, Thanksgiving is a multi-course meal demanding an early morning start; a long ingredient check list; and, timing that rivals a rocket launch.  I have found it is preferable preparing the feast with my sisters as this not only lightens the load but creates some fun.  They are all good cooks, so each tries to bring a new twist to an old favorite.

Place setting with Lavender mini-bouquet

We have found that serving dinner at 4:00 PM is our best target time for this traditional meal because it allows plenty of time to prepare the meal while sipping wine and catching up during the process.  We set the table the day before the feast and assemble the serving dishes and cooking equipment at that same time to reduce the search and pre-cleaning run-around on the big day.  It is also helpful to make room in your refrigerator for leftovers.  This will greatly reduce frustration on the back-end clean-up stage of the meal.

 

Since this is a lavender farm and I am a lavender addict, I look for ways to bring lavender into our Thanksgiving experience.  I would like to share some simple ways I have found to integrate our lovely fragrance into the celebration.

Here are some simple, tried and true tips to bring lavender to your Thanksgiving table:

Bowl of Herbs de Provence
Use Herbs de Provence as the seasoning for the turkey and one of the stuffings.  I love the William-Sonoma recipe using our own blend of organic Herbs de Provence which includes marjoram, oregano, lavender and thyme.  We will share our favorite recipe with you on Thursday.

gtwisted Sheaf and Loose stems in PitcherPlace a simple twisted lavender sheaf or loose stems in a pitcher or vase for your centerpiece.  It is beautiful and may be kept year round.  Its simple yet visually elegant design and shape makes it easy to place elsewhere when the table needs additional space for the many platters and serving dishes.

Our Dried Lavender Favors will add a beautiful touch to your next event.If you have time, make place cards for your guests so that everyone knows where you would like them to sit.  We use our little Lavender Mini-Bouquets with names written on a tag.  At the end of the party everyone is able to take this home as a favor.  These fragrant place cards are unique and inexpensive to make.  Alternatively, we will happily make them for you.

Layer more subtle lavender fragrance in a Lamp Ring Diffuser.  When the lamp is illuminated the fragrance intensifies.  Using real Essential Oils is a wonderfully subtle way of influencing the mood of your guests.  Celebrate, for example, especially puts everyone in a festive mood, while straight lavender can calm everybody down. These scents will enhance, rather than compete, with the meal.

Voila!  You have made a memory and, just possibly, you might enjoy the fruits of your own labor.  Stay tuned here and on Facebook for more classic Thanksgiving recipes with a lavender twist.

Cheers,
Ginna

Creating a Healthy and Restful Bedroom with Lavender

At the end of a long day, there is nothing more comforting than to slip into your bed with fresh cotton sheets and a comfortable pillow and drift off to dreamland.  A gently lavender scented bedroom is beneficial too, because lavender naturally calms, soothes the spirit and lulls us to sleep.  There is no beauty treatment that can compensate for lack of sleep.

Pillows on bed

Let’s start with the bed, the main feature of every bedroom.  Lavender fragrance helps your sleep experience in three ways.  Lavender can do the hard work of keeping your bed clean and free from dust mites, bed bugs and other intruders.  It can also make your bed smell clean and inviting and lastly lavender offers wonderful sleep benefits.

Lavender Cleaning Supplies

Starting with a clean bed is the first step.  Fresh pillows and a clean mattress are the foundation to a good night’s sleep.  Dust mites easily accumulate and bed bugs can easily be brought home from a trip in your luggage.  Cleaning the mattress and naturally treating these intruders can be handled with a blend of baking soda with a few drops of lavender essential oil, sprinkled on the mattress, allowed to work for an hour and vacuumed thoroughly.  Check out our Facebook Infographic “Good Night, Sleep Tight, Don’t let the Bed Bugs Bite”.  Our Facebook friends have also contributed helpful tips and comments on this post.

Experts recommend that you launder your sheets at least once a week.  We wash our sheets and cotton blankets in The Good Home Lavender Laundry detergent and finish them off with Lavender Fragrance conditioner. You can also make your own by adding a few drops of lavender essential oil to your favorite Unscented detergent and Conditioner.  Pillows, down comforters and wool blankets can be freshened by putting them in the dryer with Lavender Dryer sheets or Dryer Sachets on the “cool” or “air fluff” cycles.  We use two dryer sheets for this treatment.  In a pinch, you can make your own lavender dryer sheets by spritzing lavender essential oil on a clean, damp wash cloth and tossing it into the dryer with the pillows and blankets, or toss in any lavender filled sachet.

Remake your bed for the season, too.  When a frost is predicted, we add a down filled blanket to our staple sheet and cotton blanket.  After days of freezing weather, we often add a wool blanket to make 4 layers of warmth–sheet, cotton blanket, wool blanket then down comforter.  When the bed loses its scent it’s easy to refresh the whole thing with Lavender Sheet and Clothing Spray for an instant freshener.

Lavender Bed Pillow - Lavender Bouquet - Cream

For continual lavender scent in the bed, choose one of our lavender filled pillows.   LavenderGreen pillows are filled with organic kapok or buckwheat hulls and generous amounts of lavender.  A small neck roll or boudoir pillow will act as a bed sachet and a larger standard pillow with 20 cups of lavender flowers will scent the whole room!  If you want a lighter scent of lavender in your pillow, select a lavender pillow sachet.

We have a full line of lavender pillows in our Shop.  We can also custom make a pillow for you in your fabric or with an alternative fill or ratio.  After Hurricane Sandy, one of our favorite lavender lovers from New York ordered 5 standard sized bed pillows, filled entirely with lavender!

Lavender and Flax-Filled Eye Pillow

Chose an Eye mask or Eye Pillow if you can’t completely darken your room for sleep at night or want to catch an afternoon power nap.  Our eye pillows contain organic lavender and flax seed which offer the added benefit of reducing eye puffiness.  Our Spa eye pillows and masks contain organic lavender and buckwheat berries that can be warmed in the microwave and hold their heat for 30 minutes–wonderful for sinus issues.

Lavender Pillow in Summertime Lime Blue Colors

Remember your children’s bedrooms, too.  These same tips and techniques are wonderful for their room and will help them settle down at night.   We have pillows they’ll love, like the minky neck roll or the Summertime pillows.  Lavender is safe for babies, children  and teens and helps them get the rest they need.  My husband still remembers smelling lavender when he traveled in Europe as a kid in the 50’s–so lavender will evoke many happy memories for your children when they’re all grown up!  If you’re in doubt about lavender for children, check out this recent study, reported by essential oil safety expert, Dr. Robert Tisserand.

There are many more ways to scent your bedroom with lavender and more ways to better sleep to explore. We’ll get to them in future posts.  Meanwhile, let us know how these ideas work for you and if your have tips to share with readers.

Cheers!
Ginna

Cleaning and Scenting your Kitchen with Lavender

 Let’s start with the kitchen, the heart of the home.  The most important step is to start with a clean room. Lavender is a natural cleaner, so we’re in luck!  Kitchen smells and bacteria are prevalent on the counters, the stove top and oven and the refrigerator.  So we’ll begin there.

Tappan Stove in UseAround the farm’s kitchen we use The Good Home counter spray on all surfaces because it’s safe, effective and very fragrant.  For cleaning tough mold around the sink, we use an old tooth brush and our own Lavender/Citrus anti-bacterial soap, followed by a good rinse

Lavender Glass and Surface CleanerWe use the surface cleaner spray for the floor for quick clean ups.  Just spritz the floor and spritz a large micro-fiber mop (washable) and it’s a snap!  For deep cleaning, add a few drops of lavender essential oil to your favorite floor soap and go for it. Lavender Essential Oil is healthy and has been used to clean since the days of the Roman civilization.  Lavender is gentle on all finishes, and offers calming aromatherapy to the cleaner, so why bother with products that add to the in-door pollution of your home?

For the refrigerator, clean all shelves, baskets and exterior surface with warm water, white vinegar or baking soda and a few drops of essential lavender oil.  You can actually add a few drops of lavender E.O.’s. to any of your favorite soaps to improve fragrance.

Remember to vacuum the vent at the bottom of the refrigerator where dirt and grease collect and the top of the refrigerator, which is often neglected.  Finish off the fridge with a small bowl or shaker jar of baking soda, mixed with a tablespoon or two of lavender flower buds and a few drops of lavender E.O. to absorb food odors.  Use our French lavandin buds in the recipe for a lavender “fresh” scent. Place the bowl at the back of one of the shelves and change it out when it loses it’s fragrance or gets damp.  Baking soda is your friend in the kitchen for almost any stain or smell.  Sprinkle smelly garbage with this mix of lavender buds and baking soda, or make a “soft scrub” with baking soda, lavender essential oil and a little water to clean stained surfaces.

Kitchen textiles, like curtains, placemats, dish towels can all be washed in lavender laundry detergent followed by lavender fragrance to condition.  We wash our dish towels at the end of each day routinely for safety’s sake.  Just before the crowd collects in your kitchen, spritz the curtains and towels with The Good Home’s non-staining, Lavender Sheet and Clothing Spray for instant fragrance.

Beautiful Lavender Gift SetWe’re almost there!  To finish it all off, add a lavender candle (to burn, not dust) The candle will burn out bacteria and not overpower the good cooking fragrance.  Use a real E. O. candle made from soy wax and a natural cotton wick to keep it all non-toxic.  A great combination for the kitchen is lavender with citrus.  We offer a lavender-citrus potpourri and candle and are planning to add a non-toxic lavender-citrus room mist soon.  The potpourri is a continual fragrance source and the candle can be lit when the stove is in action.

We’d love to get tips from you, too!  Please comment and share your own tips and techniques for a sweet smelling home.

Cheers!

Ginna

Scenting Your Home With Lavender

Lavender Green Farmhouse

Our farmhouse, circa 1897, is full of old house charm from successive additions, two sets of stairs, little porches, and renovations that have been added-on over the years.  We have a shower in the laundry room and a little guest bath tucked under the eaves, for example–added by my Grandfather for very practical reasons at the time.  Making an old house enjoyable for our times is a challenge on many fronts!

When it rains for days on end, as it has this summer, we develop a musty smell. If we close the house for a few weeks, we return to an ‘old house” smell.  The kitchen and bath are vented only by windows! Air conditioning helps but it’s a challenge to make the house a fragrant home continually.  You can always tell when we smell “musty” because visitors crinkle up their noses when they enter the house or we come inside and sniff after lots of fresh air.  Add a pet into the mix and it’s even more of a challenge!

bowl of potpurri

“Layers” of natural fragrance can help create a healthy, non-toxic and fragrant home which is a delight to us who live there and to everyone who visits.  My experience suggests that “layering” lavender fragrance throughout the house is our best solution to common household odors.  Layering fragrance for this old house is a lot like layering fragrance on the body.  We start with a fragrant bath, soothe our skin with lotion and add a spritz of cologne or perfume. Viola!

Each room of the house has it’s own natural scents and smells so we’ll share our techniques for achieving a lavender scented home, room by room in future posts.  To shop now, visit the Your Home department of our online store

The Holidays are just around the corner with lots of guests expected so it’s not too soon to get started.  Stay tuned for future posts and how to’s for each room of your home.

For the rest of October, we’re offering free shipping for orders over $89.00!  Just write “celebrate” in the coupon box of the shopping cart when you check out at www.lavendergreen.com.

Check out recipes on our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/LavenderGreenCo

 

Cheers!

Ginna