Third year, many hours in the garden, layering with composted horse manure, yard and kitchen waste, coffee grounds, straw, and compost.   I’m thrilled with the outcome this year; a bounty of kale, bok choy, eggplant, parsley, arugula, and more.  Chayote vine growing in wire mesh.

     Eggplant the Asian variety grew larger than I’ve seen.   I mix a variety of plants together for diversity’s sake.  The plants benefit each other.  Can see swiss chard and arugula flowering.   Once plants flower, I let dry on plant, then save seeds for new planting.

imageBusy, as usual…  Time again for ceramics at my friend and neighbor Denise’s house.  These pieces were bisque fired and now I applied an underglaze.  Will coat with a clear glaze and then low fire.  Colors will pop and shine.

image               This is Mother Garden Goddess, a sort of outdoor planter: holes to attach a string of beads and such; holes in the bottom to drain water; holes near the top to hang.

image         I made a series, these two are “sisters.”

image   The other sister, faces inspired by my new friend, Sheri.  She’s a wonderful creative artist from Maine who guided me on my first endeavor to create faces.

imageMy sister asked for a colorful shallow cactus pot.  Ta-da, here it is with holes and a built in tray to hold excess water.  Waiting to get glazed and low fired.  I enjoy the process and the end result is fun and whimsical.

Invigorating and luscious tasting cookies, hard to resist just one.   Spice up your life with caraway and fennel seeds in your cookies.

1/2 cup organic, unrefined coconut oil

3/4 cups raw honey

1 lemon, rind and juice

1/2 cup flax seeds, ground

1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups whole wheat flour

1 cup almonds, ground

1 cup organic raisins

2 tablespoons each caraway and fennel seeds

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

Preheat oven to 375 F degrees.  Beat oil, honey, flax seeds, vanilla extract together in a large bowl, until well blended.  Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.   Drop the dough by about one tablespoon, on ungreased baking sheets.  Bake in a preheated oven for about 15 minutes, until lightly browned.  Remove from oven and place cookies on cooling rack. 

Makes about 6 dozen small cookies.

 

Caraway, fennel and cumin seeds, all in the Apiaceae or parsley family, help with digestion, plus each provides a host of other medicinal benefits, and flavors complement each other well.   The combination of these seeds essential oil are used to make liquor.

Any type of dried, cooked bean will due or if you like lentil or pea.  

Costa Rican mint, Satureja viminea, in the Lamiaceae or mint family, zone 10 to 11, grows in our garden as a small shrub.  Yet if you don’t have it, substitute it for mints like spearmint or peppermint.

Turmeric root, Curcuma longa, in the Zingiberaceae or ginger family, 1 teaspoon dried powder, can substitute for fresh.   

1 teaspoon each caraway, fennel, and cumin seeds 

1 cup grated organic carrots

2 cups cooked pinto beans 

1/4 cup raw organic sunflower seeds

1 lemon, juice and zest

2 tablespoons minced fresh costa rican mint

1/4 cup chopped scallions

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon raw honey

1 tablespoon tamari

1 tablespoon finely grated fresh turmeric root

1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

Toast seeds in a small saucepan, over medium heat, stirring frequently, for few minutes.  Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl.  Refrigerate for 4 to 8 hours before serving.

Yield: 3 cups

Yesterday I made a batch of soap adding beeswax and honey, for their beneficial properties.   I used silicone molds, no need to grease, they easily popped out the next day.  This recipe filled one, 6 cavity, about 4 ounce each, sunflower silicone mold and one, 8 cavity, about 3 ounces each, oval silicone mold.

The day before I made sun tea with fresh rose petals, lavender and rose scented geranium leaves.   Rose geranium infused olive oil was made several months ago.  I let either fresh or dried herbs sit in the olive oil for weeks or months before using and always have some on hand.   I also keep on hand, dried rose petals and lavender leaves from our garden.

9 oz unrefined shea butter

10.5 oz unrefined coconut oil

10.5 oz herb infused cold pressed olive oil

.5 oz beeswax

11.5 oz water or herb sun tea

4.3 oz lye

.6 oz lavender essential oil

1 tablespoon honey

about 1 tablespoon dried rose petal and lavender powder

Directions:

Prepare fats:  Heat bees wax, just until melted, in a large stainless steel pot.   Add shea butter and coconut oil, heat, just until melted, stir occasionally with a long handled stainless steel spoon, to avoid hardening.  Add olive oil.  Cool to 90 to 110 degrees F

Make lye solution:  Using gloves and goggles, place water into a medium size stainless steel bowl.  Stir in lye in a steady flow.  Mix well with a long handled slotted stainless steel spoon and keep face away from lye fumes.  Place bowl in a large stainless steel bowl filled part way with ice.  Cool to 90 to 110 degrees F.

Mix lye and fats:  Add lye solution to fats, when both are 90 to 110 degrees F.  

Stir with an immersion hand blender, keep blender submerged before turning on and turn off before removing.   Blend until trace formed, will depend on power of blender, up to a few minutes.  Or if by hand 15 minutes to 1 hour.   Notice trace when changes from oily and transparent to creamy and opaque, dull looking and smooth and thicker; can see trace of mixture on top when drizzled.

Mix in by hand, essential oil, honey, rose & lavender powder, mix well. 

Place silicone molds on a metal cookie sheet, for support.  Pour mixture into silicone molds, scraping sides of pot with a rubber spatula.   Remove soap from container after hardens, about 1 day.

Place on a rack to dry for several weeks, the longer the harder the soap and lasts longer.