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

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.

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 - CreamFor 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 ColorsRemember 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

Scenting Your Home With Lavender

Lavender Green FarmhouseOur 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

Cooking with Lavender

Desert Island

If you were ship-wrecked on a deserted island, which herb or essential oil would you like to take with you?

I would choose lavender because of its amazing versatility.  I could use it for treating a sunburn, or a scrape, or a bug bite.  It would reduce the stress of it all, make me less hungry, and help me relax and get some sleep.  Lavender would ease a tension headache and sore muscles from building a shelter.  I’d use lavender to wash myself and my clothes, or anything else I could take off the ship.  I could brew a tea, or make some lemonade and make my “catch of the” day taste divine.  Hands down, lavender would be my first choice and I would hope to be rescued before my stash of lavender ran out! To see more of lavender’s benefits, take a look at https://lavendergreen.com/lavender-benefits/

Let’s explore some the benefits of lavender, beginning with it’s culinary properties because that seems to be the least known use of this wonderful herb.

For now, I’d like to describe the many ways of using lavender in food or drink.  It seems that every on-line food website includes recipes using lavender in beverages, sweet baked goods and savory dishes.  A good rule of thumb is that lavender can be substituted for any recipe that includes mint, because lavender is part of the mentha family–with a floral twist.  The ingredient list in the recipes can call for a drop of lavender essential oil, whole dried lavender buds, finely ground or crushed lavender buds, an infusion, a tincture, a candied lavender floret,  a lavender flower head, or lavender blend with other herbs such as Herbs de Provence.

Bowl of Herbs de Provence

On top of these form variations, there are well over 100 unique cultivars of lavender, all with slightly different properties, scents and flavors.  You can simplify your choice by using Lavandula Angustifolia for culinary purposes.  The two varieties of Angustifolia in widest use for food preparations are Munstead and Hidcote.  Angustifolia is often referred to as English lavender, or True lavender and sometimes wild crafted lavender.  These two varieties are considered the “sweetest” or most “floral” and therefore better tasting in food.  Munstead is pale blue in color and adds its wonderful flavor to a recipe, Hidcote is deep blue in color and makes an excellent decorative garnish, such as salad dressing or icing on a cupcake.Periwinkle Blue Dried Lavender Buds

For food preparation, the best choice is organic lavender.  Organically grown lavender may be a little more expensive because no herbicides are used, but who needs more chemicals in their body?  Organic lavender essential oils labeled E.O. are sometimes noted as an ingredient, but we rarely use the oil in cooking at LavenderGreen and tend to rely on buds, blends and infusions as our mainstay.  Visit our shop to order organic lavender buds and blends.  Wow your family and friends with your gourmet cooking prowess with just a pinch of lavender.

Never, ever use Fragrant or Fragrance oils in cooking, by the way.  They are not meant for ingestion and could be very toxic.

Stay tuned for more recipes and techniques for cooking with lavender.

Cheers,
Ginna

Home Fragrance

Fill your home with the fragrance of lavender

Create a lavender fragrance that’s fresh, clean and relaxing

Lavender naturally creates a refreshing, fragrant home. The secret lies in “layering” the fragrance with natural lavender flowers and botanicals, aromatherapy blends, fragrance oils and candles to achieve a lasting lavender scent in the home.

Add the relaxing benefits of lavender to your home with a bowl of our lavender buds or potpourri, our dried lavender bouquets, our free standing sheaves or our long lasting lavender aroma sticks.

Achieve your lavender-scented home today by selecting your favorites and layering them to gain your perfect fragrance intensity.

 

Culinary Lavender for Cooking

Cooking with our Edible Lavender from Lavender Green

Sweet and savory herbs for your culinary pleasures

On our organic lavender farm, we always reserve some of our harvest to blend culinary lavender seasonings and teas for your enjoyment.

The use of lavender in cooking, baking and teas is limited only to your imagination. Lavender has a sweet, floral flavor with lemon and citrus notes.

Since the potency of lavender flowers increases with drying, use 1/3 the amount of dried lavender in recipes that call for fresh lavender.

Our Lavender herbs may be used in desserts, in savory dishes and in beverages like tea and champagne.  It is a relative of the mint family, so you can use it anywhere you might use mint and it mixes well with lemon and pepper, or other herbs like marjoram, oregano, thyme for “Herbs de Provence.”

Our organic farm-raised English lavenders “Munstead” and “Hidcote” are considered the sweetest and safest for cooking of all varieties of lavender. And we now introduce our newest variety of lavender buds: “Periwinkle Blue” for the sweetest lavender tea you will ever experience.

Lavender Aromatherapy Blends

Lavender Aromatherapy products from Lavender Green

Made with pure, natural and wild crafted Essential Oils

Our Aromatherapy products are the best of nature’s medicine and can be your first response in dealing with the stresses that rob you of your peace and well-being.

Our Aromatherapy products, made from Lavender Aromatherapy Oils and other Essential Oils, are blended to lift the mood, enhance sound sleep, focus the mind, calm the spirit and boost natural immune system defenses.

We suggest that our Jubilee, a true lavender “Angustifolia” Essential Oil, be a starting point for you to experience the medicinal benefits of Aromatherapy. You can purchase a sample kit of our Aromatherapy Blends to experience their wonderful fragrances and complexities.

Celebrate, Sandman, Focus & Energy, Road Rage Relief, and Anti-viral Aromatherapy Products were tested by the Lavender Green 24 member research panel and have received excellent feedback on their effectiveness and their lovely scents.

We also offer the Aromatherapy oil and a number of supporting gels, creams, mists, lotions and oils for you to use in convenient combinations.

For three simple strategies on how to improve your mood and reduce stress view Dr. Phil’s show: “Stressed Out to the Max.”

Essential oil synergies are not meant to diagnose or cure any illnesses or disease. They are rather Mother Nature’s “first line defense” to maintain health and well being. Caution: if pregnant, nursing, suffering from any medical condition, or taking medication, consult a health care practitioner before use. We do not diagnose, treat or prescribe any medical treatment or advice. You should always discuss treatment of medical conditions with your medical practitioner before using any alternative therapies, natural supplements, or vitamins. Store in a cool, dry place out of reach of children and pets.