Cooking Blogs

October 5, 2017

Most of us have a pepper shaker on our kitchen table, but do you know where that pepper actually comes from? Learn all about black pepper, including its history, health benefits, and even how it led to exploration of the Americas. I got a plant in the mail the other day, and when I unearthed it from all the wrappings, I thought at first that it was just a standard ivy plant. Then I read the tag attached to it: Piper nigrum. Whoa, I was thrilled! A friend had sent me an actual Piper nigrum... more

July 1, 2017

The family and I headed out for an after-dinner walk the other night. We started down the driveway and made our way along the field when someone keenly spied the motherload.  Our field was surprisingly filled with sweet, red, wild strawberries perfect for the pickin’ and eatin’. Suddenly a walk was the last thing on our minds as the strawberry field beckoned us. An hour later, my daughter Autumn and I returned from the field with containers full of the sweetest and reddest lil’ strawberries... more

June 29, 2017

Ever tried adding fresh mint to your ice cream? It’s so easy and beyond compare!  At this point in the summer we’ve got mint coming out of our, well everywhere, what do we do with it all? My ten-year-old daughter, Autumn, had her best friend over and it was a hot and humid, lazy afternoon. They had a hankering for ice cream but the freezer turned up empty. They decided that they wanted to make their own but couldn’t decide on a flavor. Earlier in the spring I opted to pot-bound our mint and... more

June 13, 2017

Lavender is more than just a pretty plant. This fragrant perennial has been revered throughout the ages for its ability to breathe a sense of clarity and calm into every cupboard, room or beauty product in which it dwells. It has long been used as a remedy for a range of ailments from insomnia and anxiety to depression and fatigue.   Lavender, Lavandula, of which there are several known species, is a shrub-like herb that can be found in gardens countrywide where it is adored for its lovely... more

June 7, 2017

Here is an easy berry jam recipe with just two ingredients, so you can learn how to make jam in no time! Importantly, this simple jam has that naturally delicious, flavor-packed taste that all jam lovers crave. Making Jam, Jelly, and Preserves For this home-style recipe, you simply need equal parts of berries and sugar. Skip the fruit pectin. Though it helps jam jell, it can also dilute the natural flavor of the fruit. You may need to cook the fruit a bit longer, but it’s worth that old-... more

May 21, 2017

Switchel or Haymaker’s Punch is a refreshing drink made from apple cider vinegar. It was how colonial farmers quenched their thirst out in the hot, sunbaked fields—which is enough of an endorsement for me! This drink is also called Haymaker’s Punch because it was often drunk while haying—which is hard work.  What is Switchel? Switchel has a long history as a traditional drink with Colonial Americans. (See History of Switchel.) It’s easy to make with just a few ingredients—apple cider vinegar,... more

May 1, 2017

Try cooking with herbs! This lavender lemon chocolate chip pancake recipe was a huge hit with my family, and is great for Mother’s Day—or, any weekend breakfast!   Lavender Used for Cooking Lavender, belonging to the mint family, is a perennial herb that has more of a reputation for belonging in the spa with it’s delicate, fragrant purple-blue flowers and for its aroma-therapeutic stress-relieving properties rather than it’s culinary properties. However, used correctly in cooking and... more

March 20, 2017

Did you know that three spices in your pantry fight colds or the flu? Yes, add some healing spices here and there to help you out! It was a rough winter for colds, flus and bugs in our house. While sometimes a virus just has to run its course, there are some things we can do to help alleviate some symptoms, bring about some comfort and give our bodies what it needs for a recovery to optimal health. As spices became popular for their gastronomic prowess, they were also revered for their... more

February 8, 2017

Where does cocoa come from? What’s the difference between cocoa and chocolate? Is chocolate healthy? Enjoy this delightful post about cocoa—plus, a delicious recipe. It’s that time of the year when cupid takes flight and the love of one’s sweetheart is met with sweets for one’s love. Chocolate is purchased and consumed in huge amounts.  Well, I certainly don’t need a special time of the year to appreciate the flavor and nuances of the divine cocao bean but it did get me to thinking. Since a... more

February 5, 2017

Cook with edible flowers to add color and a hint of flavor to soups, chicken, and salad dishes.  Also, they are easy to grow yourself; just seed in pots in early spring. Flowers also add an easy touch of elegance to dishes, so for your next dinner party, try adding a few petals of a brightly colored edible flower like calendula. Edible flowers were especially popular in the Victorian era and growing in Victorian parlor gardens.  They seem to be making a comeback though The Old Farmer’s Almanac... more

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