Saturday, February 28, 2009

Lilac Infused Oil

A few months ago while searching on the web about scented infused oils, I read the post of a lady who said she likes lilac infused oil...I thought that was a neat idea since I really like lilac.
I went to the farmers' market yesterday and was surprised to already find some fresh lilac branches. I didn't want to miss the opportunity to make my scented oil, especially since lilac season (at least if you don't grow your own) is short.
When making scented oil, you want to choose an unscented or lightly scented carrier oil that won't mask the scent of the flowers. I tightly packed my flowers in a glass jar and covered them with a blend of sunflower oil, sweet almond oil and extra virgin olive oil.
I will leave the jar in a sunny spot for 6 weeks (at least) and hopefully I'll be blessed with a wonderfully scented oil ;).
I'd like to try this experiment with tuberose flowers too (my florist carries them on a regular basis), they have a strong and somewhat sweet scent and I know that they are used in the perfume industry.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Fresh from the Garden...

I'm happy to have grown a decent size bok choy/pak choy. I had to harvest it because it was starting to be covered by a myriad of sticky aphids (they love brassicas)...After a couple soakings in cold water and vinegar, they were all gone!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Announcing First Bi-Monthly Book Giveaway

This book giveaway is reserved to customers placing an order in my Etsy shop between March 1st and April 30th, and who wish to participate to a raffle.
The book chosen for this giveaway is "Herbal Tea Remedies" by Jessica Houdret (I happen to have 2 copies of this book).
The winner will be notified by email on April 30th.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

How Long Should You Keep Items in the Freezer

Translated from "L'Armoire aux Conserves" by Marie-Françoise Delarozière & Elisabeth Pistre:
  1. Fruits in sugar or syrup: 1 year
  2. Fruits without added sugar, stewed fruits/compotes & butters: 6 months
  3. Homemade ice cream: 3 months
  4. Commercial ice cream: 1 year
  5. Milk and dairy products: 3 months
  6. Vegetables: nearly 1 year, except for onions: 3 months
  7. Bread: 1 or 2 months
  8. Fresh aromatic herbs: 3 months
  9. White fish: 6 months
  10. Fatty fish: 3 months
  11. Shellfish: 3 months
  12. Raw meat: 3 to 9 months, depending on thickness
  13. Cooked meat: 2 to 3 months
  14. Rabbit, fowl and game: 6 months
  15. Chicken: 9 months
  16. Giblets, ground meat and sausages: 1 or 2 months

Monday, February 23, 2009

Tropical Smoothie / Smoothie Tropical

A little bit of sunshine and a healthy dose of vitamins in your cup...A great way to start the day ;).

For 1 serving:
  • 1/2 cup tangerine or orange juice / 125 ml de jus de clémentine ou d'orange
  • 1/2 banana sliced / 1/2 banane coupée en tranches
  • A few pieces of frozen mango / Quelques morceaux de mangue surgelée
  • A few pieces of frozen pineapple / Quelques morceaux d'ananas surgelée
Pour the juice in the blender then add the banana and the frozen fruits. Blend until smooth and enjoy ;).

Variations: you can substitute the juice with (light) coconut milk or coconut water.

Verser le jus dans le mixer, puis ajouter la banane et les fruits surgelés. Mixer jusqu'à liquefaction puis déguster ;).

Pour varier un peu: on peut remplacer le jus par du lait de coco dilué ou du jus de coco.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Bye, Bye Potatoes!

My potato plant was dying so I had to pull it from its container, without any struggle.
I think I started it too early, plus we've had many sudden weather changes and temperature fluctuations...It was just too much for the poor plant to handle!
Maybe I'll try again in a few months from now...

I retrieved 2 decent size potatoes from the container but since the plant didn't reach its flowering stage, I will have to discard them. I can tell from the skin's coloration that they're not fully mature anyway.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Simple Raw Dessert

A favorite of mine when I crave something sweet ;).

For 1 serving, you'll need:
  • 1 apple, peeled and diced
  • 1 or 2 tbsp of unsalted raw crunchy almond butter (but I don't really measure)
  • About 1 tsp of shredded coconut
  • Some raisins
  • Dark chocolate chips or raw cacao nibs (I omit these at night because of the caffeine)

Simple, fast and tasty...Enjoy ;)!

Monday, February 09, 2009

FOUR SEASON SKIN ELIXIR

With my new Four Season Skin Elixir, I blended an oil that can be used on a daily basis and any time of the year. A silky and moisturizing oil that is easily absorbed by the skin, yet not greasy.

This Skin Elixir is a blend of 4 oils, each one representing a season: organic sunflower oil for the Spring (we have fields of fragrant wild sunflowers blooming here during this season), plum kernel oil for the Summer (this one is naturally fragrant), organic sweet almond oil for the Fall and shea nut oil for the Winter (this oil does wonders for dry skin and harsh weather conditions) + a little vitamin E.

Hope you'll enjoy this oil as much as I do ;).

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

February's Tea Selection: French Romance

With Valentine's Day approaching, I couldn't miss the opportunity to offer this very Parisian blend. It seems simple at first but it's subtle and sophisticated. A bewitching brew that just asks to be shared ;).

My French Romance tea is a blend of organic black tea, organic vanilla rooibos, pesticide-free rose petals and organic orange peel.

Enjoy ;).

Kitchen Garden Smoothie / Smoothie du Potager

I enjoy starting the day drinking a cup of this delicious and nutritious smoothie. It is naturally sweet so there's no need to add anything.

J'aime bien commencer la journée en buvant un verre de ce delicieux soothie qui est très nourissant. Il est naturellement sucré donc nul besoin d'ajouter quoique ce soit.

For 1 serving:
  • 1/2 cup apple-carrot juice (preferably freshly pressed) / 125 ml de jus pomme-carotte (préférablement fraîchement pressé)
  • 1 banana (just ripe) / 1 banane (tout juste mûre)
  • 3 baby beet leaves / 3 feuilles de jeunes betteraves

Pour the juice at the bottom of the blender. Slice the banana and the beet greens, then put then in the blender. Blend the mixture until smooth or to your liking and...Enjoy ;).

Verser le jus au fond du blender. Couper la banane en rondelles et les feuilles de betteraves en lanières, puis les mettre dans le blender. Mixer jusqu'a obtention d'une texture liquide ou de votre goût puis...Deguster ;).

Monday, February 02, 2009

Recommended Gluten Free Cookbooks

First of all I'd like to talk about "The Art of Baking with Rice Flour". I didn't know what to expect from this little book when I ordered it, because nobody reviewed it yet.
The recipes are fairly simple and with few ingredients. To my surprise very few of them contain xanthan gum (which I don't use) or potato/cornstarch (which I try to avoid). The author even suggests using sweet rice flour instead of cornstarch for people who are allergic to corn.
This book contains recipes for yeast breads, quick breads, cakes, cookies, pies and even flour mixes. I just tried the crepe recipe, it was wonderful. These were the best crepes I've had in years, light and airy...Highly recommended!

I also would like to mention "The Birkett Mills Buckwheat Cookbook". Recipes use buckwheat and kasha/toasted buckwheat in their various forms: flour, groats...etc. Not all the recipes are gluten free but I think they can be adapted to a gluten free diet. This booklet contains recipes for appetizers, salads, soups, entrees, side dishes, breads and desserts.
The buckwheat sugar cookies were a hit! I used a blend of buckwheat and kasha flours (though the recipe only mentioned buckwheat flour). The cookies came out very light and tasty (though a little bit sweet for my own taste). I got inspired by this recipe to bake my own GF Lebkuchen next Christmas!

These 2 cookbooks are fairly inexpensive and can be found on Bob's Red Mill website.
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