Recipe of the Day: Mabon Hot Cider

Mabon Cider

8 cups fresh apple juice
2 cinnamon sticks
1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg
4 whole cloves
Whole star anise
Apple slices with star cut out in the middle

Heat the cider, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves, in a 3-quart saucepan. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes or until the mixture is hot, stirring occasionally.

Strain the cider into a heatproof pitcher or individual mugs. Garnish with cinnamon sticks, apple slices and star anise.

Recipe of the Day: Gingerbread with Lemon Sauce and Whipped Cream

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup hot water
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons shortening
1 egg white
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
Lemon Sauce (below)

3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 cup water
1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Heat oven to 325°.
Spray loaf pan, 8 1/2 × 4 1/2 × 2 1/2 inches, with cooking spray.
Beat all ingredients except Lemon Sauce in medium bowl with electric
mixer on low speed 30 seconds, scraping bowl constantly.
Beat on medium speed 3 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally.
Pour into pan.
Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out
Cool 10 minutes; remove from pan.
Serve warm or cool with Lemon Sauce and Whipped Cream

Mix sugar and cornstarch in 1-quart saucepan.
Gradually stir in water.
Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and
Boil and stir 1 minute; remove from heat.
Stir in remaining ingredients.
Serve warm or cool.

Recipe adapted from a Betty Crocker recipe.

Recipe of the Day: Harvest Pot Roast

Harvest Pot Roast

This is a tender slow cooker pot roast with a flavorful homemade gravy. If you don’t care for rutabaga, use turnips or more potatoes and carrots. I used a boneless beef chuck roast, but any boneless pot roast cut will work.
4 Ingredients

6 slices bacon, halved crosswise
2 pounds red skinned or Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut in 2-inch pieces
1 small rutabaga, cut in 2-inch pieces
4 to 6 carrots, peeled, cut in 2-inch lengths, halved lengthwise
Salt and pepper
1 teaspoon dried leaf thyme, divided
1 boneless beef chuck roast, about 3 pounds
1 bag, about 16 ounces, frozen small white onions
8 ounces mushrooms, scrubbed and left whole, halved if large
1 1/2 cups beef broth
3 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons flour
2 to 3 tablespoons cold water

Place bacon over the bottom of the crockpot. Arrange potatoes, rutabaga, and carrots over the bacon. Sprinkle lightly with salt, pepper, and half of the thyme. Place the pot roast on the vegetables, then add onions, and mushrooms over and around the roast. Sprinkle lightly with salt, pepper, and the remaining thyme. Combine beef broth and tomato paste; pour over the pot roast. Cover and cook on LOW for 8 to 10 hours.

Remove the pot roast to a warm platter. With a slotted spoon, remove vegetables and arrange around the roast. Cover and keep warm.

Separate fat and broth using a fat separator, or skim fat off the top of the broth; discard fat. Put the broth in a saucepan and bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium and simmer for 5 minutes.

In a cup of small bowl, whisk flour with water until smooth. Whisk the flour mixture into the broth until thickened and bubbly. Serve gravy with the meat and vegetables.
Serves 6.

Recipe of the Day: Lavender Tea Bread

Lavender Tea Bread


3/4 cup milk
2 T. dried lavender flowers, finely chopped, or 3 T. fresh
2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
6 T. butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs

Grease a 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf pan. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Heat milk with lavender almost to a boil, then let steep until cool. Mix flour, baking powder and salt together in bowl. Cream butter, gradually add sugar, then eggs, one at a time, beating until light and fluffy. Add flour mixture alternately with lavender milk, in 3 different batches. Mix until batter is just blended, do not overbeat. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 50 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool in pan 5 min., then remove to a wire rack to cool. When completely cool, ice with a powdered sugar glaze made with 3 T. milk and enough powdered sugar to make a thick but still runny paste if desired. Garnish with sprigs of fresh lavender around cake, or sprinkle additional finely chopped lavender on glaze before it hardens.

To me, lavender has a peppery taste. To some, it’s cilantro and takes soapy. But that could be due to using the wrong kind of lavender. You want to make sure you are using a culinary lavender which is commonly  Lavandula angustifolia and there are varieties of those.

According to Sage Creations:

“Popular culinary lavender cultivars include:

  • L. angustifolia ‘Folgate’
  • L. angustifolia ‘Melissa’
  • L. angustifolia ‘Croxton’s Wild’
  • L. angustifolia ‘Wykoff’
  • L. angustifolia ‘Miss Katherine’
  • L. angustifolia ‘Royal Velvet’
  • L. angustifolia ‘Buena Vista’

Notice anything about these cultivars? They’re all L. angustifolias – commonly known as True Lavenders.

Each cultivar has a distinct taste. ‘Melissa’ is slightly peppery. ‘Croxton’s Wild’ has an earthy, cinnamony taste. ‘Miss Katherine’ is sweet and floral. A great go-to culinary lavender cultivar is ‘Buena Vista’ and ‘Folgate’.

There are many, many types of culinary lavender cultivars, but most of them are types of True Lavender, vs. Lavandin, for example.

Lavandins (L. x. intermedia) is edible, as is all lavender, but its flavor can be resinous and pungent. A Lavandin type will make a dish taste bitter.”

What Movie Makes You Happy

There are a lot of movies that make me smile, and some that make me laugh. But there is one movie I was watching where I stopped and realized… I Feel Happy!!

It was during the movie Scrooge with Albert Finney and the song “Thank You Very Much”… and I felt chills of happiness. It rarely happens, so I really noticed it when it did.

Even now watching it again, I get those same chills.