Archive for August, 2009

postheadericon Manic Monday

Six o’clock already
I was just in the middle of a dream,
I was kissing Valentino
By a crystal blue Italian stream…….

Well, maybe not Valentino (perhaps Clive Owen or of course, my beloved husband) and not an Italian stream as much as a Scottish loch?

The above lyrics from the Bangles’ song “Manic Monday” are fitting today, except that I’ve been up since about 3:30 – major insomnia has hit and I can’t get back to my good dreams. My mind is spinning.

The hubby has scheduled us to look at a minimum of four houses today, it will probably be closer to six by the time we’re done. I HATE HOUSE HUNTING. It used to be fun to go to open houses and get ideas of what we’d like when we finally build our own place. We’d come home and jot down features that we want and make notes on stuff we don’t. That joy is now gone since we are fast approaching a deadline for the new owners to take over this one.

We were going to go ahead and buy a place instead of renting again. But with everything being up in the air with my mom’s health and my dad now talking about selling the ranch, we’re sorta in limbo. So we decided to rent again for at least the next 6 months to a year.

We made the mistake of finding the PERFECT property on our first foray into serious home shopping. It fit all of our needs for us, the mama, the critters, and the herb babies. The first problem is that the place is next to a railroad track which wouldn’t have bothered us so much (but kills the resale value of course); second issue was the idiot (sorry, gentleman) upped his price during our negotiations – we bailed quickly. The place has been on the market for over a year anyway and I’m not so keen on being stuck with a house that we can’t sell when we’re finally ready to move up North with the whole family.

So, wish us luck today as we venture yet again into the realm of rental houses. Our perfect (for now) place must be out there somewhere….

postheadericon Saturday Sweetness – Candied Ginger

I have developed quite the fondness/addiction to ginger. I’ve always loved ginger ale, gingerbread cookies and other gingery goodies, but this new-found craving is for the candied or crystallized ginger. We go to a great sushi place (I’m not really that adventurous – I mostly eat the crab rolls and the GINGER) where the waitress recognizes me and always brings out an extra serving or two of their own ginger. Yum.. I have been anxiously waiting for my ginger roots to be ready to harvest & I think they are there! While waiting I’ve been gathering ideas on how I’m going to prepare them. I’m not too sure I want to boil the root as it seems like it would leech some of the properties from it that I’m trying to preserve. Sooo… in digging around in my recipe/note box, I came across this little recipe that I’m going to try this week. It has the promise of actually giving me two very usable ginger products – crystallized ginger & ginger honey. (I’m sorry that I didn’t note where I obtained the recipe so I can give the credit due.)

Raw Candied Ginger

· Peel washed ginger root and cut into slices about 1/8 inch thick

· Place the slices in a large canning jar & cover with honey

· The honey will start to become very thin & watery after about 30-45 minutes, drain the watery honey off & pour it into another jar (be sure to save it)

· Pour more honey into the original jar with the ginger slices & cover them again, repeat the above procedures another 4-5 times until you no longer get the watery honey

· When the honey is no longer pulling the water from the ginger, remove the slices from the jar and lay them on a sheet of waxed paper in the fridge.

When dry, the slices can be placed in a jar or other contained and kept in the fridge. They should keep for a few months as long as kept cold. The ginger-honey can be used as a syrup or to sweeten other goodies.

I will let you know what my experiment brings! Hopefully lots of sweet gingery yumminess..

postheadericon What A Workshop!!

I had such a great time Saturday!

The Natural Botanical Perfumery workshop was a blast and EXACTLY what I needed to chase away the previous week’s woes. I really enjoyed meeting Justine Crane from The Scented Djinn. She put on a really informative class on creating your own scents with natural botanicals and oils. I can’t believe how much we learned in such a short time.

Justine locating one of her ingredients
The class was limited to 6 students due to the sheer amount of information that Justine has to share and her desire to offer as much one-on-one with the participants as possible. Rebecca (the other lady in the class) and I really reaped the rewards of the other students failing to show up that morning. We had Justine and her vast knowledge all to ourselves! (Too bad for the other participants, they really missed out on quite an experience.)
The Intermountain Nursery was such a perfect location for the class. We were under a covered porch/potting shed type setting behind their gift shop that had benches and tables. There were grapes and other plants all over the place with hummingbirds flitting in and about – they were probably getting whiffs of the (mostly) wonderful scents we were being introduced to. We all kept mentioning the fact that the weather was unbelievable for the end of August. We had a lovely breeze the entire day and I never did get too warm (which is amazing for me because I am usually boiling this time of year.)

It was a very relaxed environment as we started off just all talking and visiting. We then segued into the meat of the class as we shared why we had signed up for the class and what we were hoping to learn. Justine’s daughter Hannah was there and was a real kick. She’s got a great eye for photography as well – click here to see some of her photos from the day (loved the kitty).

It was such a perfect atmosphere for learning – very relaxed and low-key. Justine guided us through evaluating scents and making our own notes. Mine were such as “Valerian reeks like stinky feet” and “Pink grapefruit is yummy and sweet”. (I really didn’t intend that to rhyme, but what can I say. Do take my advice though and don’t put your nose close to a bottle of valerian oil – it stinks just like the plant and my husband’s work boots. But this is an example of what we learned; even thought it is AWFUL by itself, when blended with another botanical, it can be the most beautiful scent you could imagine.)

Rebecca & Justine doing an evaluation

We chatted and soaked up information while Justine had us create our own scent. It was really fun to note that while Rebecca and I used many of the same ingredients in our own little recipes, the scents smelled nothing alike. Both of our creations smelled great, we were thrilled with our first efforts! The real kicker came when Justine evaluated our scents and told us what thought or first impression they invoked. I started laughing when she said mine was “Purple”. Purple and lavender are my absolute favorite colors in the world and my scent creation brought that to her mind! The hubby really enjoyed that. He makes fun of my purple obsession all of the time, he says now I can smell like it too.. I think I’ll name it “Amethyst A’Mour”.

Be sure to check out Justine’s sites: Oh True Apothecary and The Scented Djinn for some great information and to find out about her next classes – they’re not to be missed!