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February 28, 2013 @ 7:15 AM

 February 28 ~

My kids had an Easy Bake Oven and now, my grandson has one of the new and improved models. I grew up watching how to.... and then using a real oven. They did make tiny rolling pins and kid size pans back then, but meant for a kitchen stove. So, I have always been a bit irrationally offended by the idea of Easy Bakes because it signifies to me the fact that many parents do not cook/bake or even really know how and the foods available to "bake" in these toys are not at all nutritious and just encourage the eating of even more empty calories. Most kids, however, are fascinated with cooking, so at least they can get some exposure to the process if cooking is not a priority in the home. Given my feelings,.........

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February 27, 2013 @ 8:50 AM

February 27~ 

My seed order arrived while it was snowing. In my mind, nothing could be more perfect or more hopeful than that. Winter is when we plant the mental seeds of projects that will grow and flower the rest of the year. Getting my box of seeds, though, reminds me that dream time is nearly over....the bliss of armchair gardening is about to give way to the realities and all the great ideas I have had about getting my business back into gear, now have to actually take form.

First, back to my seeds......I always browse through  the beautiful seed catalogs--that often also send beautiful seed packets. But the prices are extremely high --especially for the amount and variety that I order. Also, ordering from .........

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February 14, 2013 @ 6:24 PM

 February 14 ~

So much for romance--this day was way too busy. But for dinner, we made time for heart pancakes and eggs and the rest of yesterday's Rosemary biscuits. For years, I have been using cookie cutters  of different shapes to make designs in pancakes and soups....yes, soups. Whichever you make, put the cookie cutter in the middle of the bowl (for soup) or griddle for pancakes and pour the soup or batter around the cutter. Save a little soup or batter and add to it a contrasting color (like blueberry, beet juice...or blend up a colored sweet peppers or strawberries). Pour this contrasting batter into the middle of the cutter---then...lift it straight up--quickly. The shape will maintain itself, though .........

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February 13, 2013 @ 6:15 PM

 February 13

When Valentine's Day falls in the middle of the work/school week, it is a bummer. So, I usually start the festivities the day before so goodies are ready to add to lunches on th especial day. This year, I made "Sweetie Biscuits", with Rosemary for my husband and without rosemary for my grandson--who will enjoy his plain biscuits with rose butter.

Also, spice cupcakes with rose infused icing.

I add fresh chopped rosemary to the dough--but remember--biscuits need a gentle touch, so don't over mix or knead. For the icing, I have a bottle of rosewater and add just a teaspoon to 1 1/2 cups icing (a scant tsp. per stick of butter).  A little goes a long way and I think with .........

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February 9, 2013 @ 11:57 AM

February 9 ~ 

My tendency is to always do things a bit backwards--or at least the easiest stuff first. My place is too messy to wait until "calendar Spring" to start spring cleaning--plus, by then, I am already too busy with the beginnings of outsdoor work. So, February is my cleaning month and this year, I am starting with the pantry and freezer----eating what I have instead of buying anything except fresh fruits/veggies at the  grocery store. It will take some imaginative and funky meal planning. But, today, it is 17 outside and in my greenhouse, it is 77...so where do you think I was?

Greenhouses are dirty by nature, but still need to be kept realtively clean. In the winter, though, the door is .........

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February 8, 2013 @ 8:20 AM

February 8 ~ 

We are in for a snow storm--so if life gives you too much snow...make Snow Ice Cream!! I loved it when I was little because it was quick--a spur of the moment thing, which made it even more special.

In reading over some recipes, they all seemed complicated--too modern--and with raw eggs!!!You need to choose a sweetener--it really doesn't matter. I grew up outside of Washington DC--so we had no maple syrup--but we did have King Syrup--which is classified as "Golden Syrup". Pretty yummy! But mostly, we just used sugar. I have lived in Central New York for over 30 years,  with maple syrup producers everywhere, so that is what I use.

Here are three easy recipe options .........

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February 7, 2013 @ 7:05 AM

 February 7 ~

This time of year has gardeners anxious to go out and smell the warm earth, start digging, hauling compost to the gardens......and the first warm days, that is what we do. Where I live, there is probably a good 5 weeks before we can get busy, but in the meantime, I have to prepare myself!!

Armchair gardening doesn't cause backaches and pulled muscles--and all out gardening doesn't always have to either, but we need to condition our bodies just like the athletes do. Starting today, stretching exercises are becoming part of my daily routine. I start with gentle yoga postures and progress on to more strenuous positions and back exercises. As we age, different parts of the body need more care and attention.........

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February 6, 2013 @ 7:05 AM

February 6 ~

Forgive me while I agonize, but.....it is now day 2 of this ordering blitz and on top of getting everything needed, I also have to decide what I really want. This time of year, when my back is not aching from all day weeding, I have big dreams and am full of ambition about growing most things from seed--I do have a greenhouse after all. Greenhouse or not, though, some herbs are really finicky and/or slow to germinate--so while I am equipped to grow them, I know I will grow to resent them when I want to be doing other things, or wondering if they will ever be big enough to plant out THIS YEAR!!!

I simply will not grow thyme, rosemary, lavender, oregano from seed. I also find it difficult to grow certain &.........

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February 5, 2013 @ 8:24 AM

February 5 ~ 

Working with herbs is, by in large, the most fun anyone can have.... planning, gardening, harvesting, EATING! Then there are all the crafts and products and the lore, the scents.....and then, there is the business end of things!

If you make your own household, beauty or soap products, there is nothing more satisfying than growing many of the ingredients yourself...to really be able to customize products to your needs and locale. To share all this bounty as gifts is pretty low stress, but if you want to sell products, so many other issues come into play. My brain is all creativity and very little nuts and bolts. I get bogged down in the business of herbs, so I try to consolidate the parts I don't .........

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February 4, 2013 @ 9:45 AM

February 4 ~

March 20th may be the "official" first day of SPRING, but that is a man made date. We, however, respond to lengthening days/light.....so, in terms of what our bodies sense, it comes much earlier. I always drink a seasonal tonic, but start  3 weeks or so before the calendar date, to address our specific, seasonal needs.

Everybody has heard of "spring tonics". There are different formulas for different parts of the country, depending upon what plants are locally available. Here is mine for the Northeast:

Today, I am getting out my ingredients and hopefully, everything I need is in my cupboard--unlike last year where I found myself without any sassafras!!! As per my New .........

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