Felted hat

Hand knit ..then machine felted..finished it today!

Dairy-Free Peanut Butter Chunk Ice Cream

I've been on the look-out for Dairy-free ice creams that taste like the real thing for a while now. Ice cream is one of the only things, other then mac&cheese, that I really miss about going dairy-free ). This recipe makes an "ice cream" that would fool anyone into thinking it was made with dairy. It's rich and creamy and has delicious peanut butter chunks in it that reminded me of a Ben&Jerry's type ice cream.

Dairy-Free Peanut Butter Chunk Ice Cream (adapted very slightly from Alisa Cooks blog)

*recipe makes about 2 cups of ice cream. Double the recipe to fill most standard ice cream makers*

-1 14oz. can of Coconut Milk
- 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
- 1/3 cup maple syrup, brown sugar, or honey (I used maple syrup and couldn't taste any maple flavor in the finished ice cream
-1 tsp. vanilla
-1 batch of dairy-free peanut butter chunks (recipe below)

Combine the coconut milk, peanut butter, sweetener, and vanilla in a bowl and stir well with a whisk until well combined. Place mixture in the fridge and allow to cool completely.

Pour mixture into your ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer's instructions.

Make peanut butter chunk recipe while mixture is in the ice cream maker.

When ice cream is done, transfer it to your storage container and top it with the peanut butter chunk mixture. Try to spread out the mixture as evenly as possible over the ice cream. Put ice cream into the freezer for about 30 minutes or until the chunks have set up. Stir ice cream, breaking up the chunks, and return the ice cream to the freezer until ice cream is firm.

*This ice cream is better when not solid as a rock. Allow it to thaw just slightly before eating for creamiest ice cream*

Ice Cream-Friendly, Dairy-Free Peanut Butter Chunks

-2 1/2 tsp. coconut oil
-1 1/2 tbsp. creamy peanut butter
-1 Tbsp. honey (don't use sugar, you want the chunks to be soft)
-1/4 tsp. vanilla

Combine ingredients in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 10-15 seconds. Stir until coconut oil is melted and everything is well combined.

Coriander/Cilantro {Herbs for health and hunger}

 There has often been some confusion with this herb because it is called Cilantro when you use the leaves and Coriander when you use the seeds. This herb is used all the time and well loved in many Asian and Middle Eastern countries but I have found a lot of people here don't care a lot for the smell or taste.

  I have grown to really like it as long as I don't use to much! This summer when my cilantro was growing wildly out in the garden I do remember making one rice dish with a bit to much cilantro! However it adds a wonderful flavor to Indian Curries. We really, really enjoyed the last Chicken Curry I made with a nice touch of Cilantro.

 If you would like to make Chicken Curry I will share with you the "recipe" that I wrote down while Mr. and Mrs. Mathew (Some friends from India) were teaching us how to make it. I put recipe in quotation marks because I don't have exact measurements mostly just estimates. I don't personally mind that however as I have trouble following a recipe exactly anyway.

  Chicken Curry
Saute in oil:
  • a few mustard seeds
  • Lots of curry powder
  • Lots of sliced garlic
  • Lots of sliced ginger  (I told you the amounts weren't very scientific!!)
Then add:
  • Some chopped tomatoes (4 or 5 or more) When I don't have fresh tomatoes I use canned ones.
  • Lots of chopped onion.
  • A couple of stems of chopped cilantro leaves (or if you don't have fresh you can put in the coriander seeds.)
  • 2 T. Garam Masala
  • 1t. black pepper
  • 2 1/2 t. salt
Stir in small pieces of Chicken and potatoes and cook until tender.

Serve over rice and enjoy!

All parts of this plant can be used: leaves, flowers, roots and seeds. You don't want to let it go to waste!

So what is Cilantro/Coriander good for as far as Healing goes? (Remember however I am not a medical authority, I am simply sharing what I have tried or read concerning this herb)
  • It is antiviral.
  • The seed aids digestion.
  • It reduces flactuance (seed).
  • It eases Migraine headaches. (seed)
  • Sprinkle some Coriander on cuts and scrapes after washing to prevent infection.
  • It may relieve Arthritis with anti-inflammatory action.
  • Weak coriander infusions may be given cautiously to children under age 2 for colic.
To Grow:
It grows quite easily from seeds sown 1/2 inch deep in early Spring. Germination can take up to 3 weeks. It grows best in moist, well drained, moderately rich soil under full sun, but it tolerates some shade.

What do you like Cilantro/Coriander for?

This post is linked to the Home Remedies Carnival at Keeper of the Home.

Happy Birthday To Me!

Yesterday was my 32nd birthday. It was a great day. I didn't have to work since the kids were out of school for the day. Jon took the kids to Walmart first thing in the morning and came home with these beautiful flowers. I love how these mums go from lime green to deep orange. I think they're the prettiest mums I've seen.

Charlotte and Evan made a card for me. Later Jon had to go into work since the band was still going to perform at the football game that night. He took Charlotte with him for a little while. She loved spending the time with him and I enjoyed the time with Evan.
My birthday treat to myself was this amazing Peanut butter, Non-Dairy Ice cream with peanut butter chunks. It's unbelievably delicious. I'll be posting the recipe tomorrow. I ate my ice cream before my lunch. It was my birthday, after all.
I'm waiting on my birthday present to arrive at my local yarn shop. I've put in a special order for the most amazing yarn and I can't wait until it arrives. I'll be sure to blog about it as soon as it does.
Here's to another wonderful year full of surprises and happiness!

Cars & Stripes

Yes! Another easy-to-whip-up project. Playing with only 2 IKEA fabrics (just like the 'Fun & Bright' quilt). Cut the car fabric into 5" squares and put a 2" green/blue striped fabric as sashing and all around border.

Even had enough left over fabric for a pillow.

Bluish polkadot fabric for backing and binding was a green polkadot - just PERFECT!

All done & lookin' good :-)

Measurement : 43" W X 56" L
Made out of 100% IKEA cotton
Price : RM220
Status : Present for Baby Abu!

Three Years Old

Asalam Alaikum,

Is my little tiny baby really three years old? It gets harder and harder to believe that he is getting so old so quickly. I mean wasn't it just yesterday that he was a tiny little bundle in daddy's arms?

Saad at two days old-

Saad at one year old-

Saad at two years old-
And now, Saad really is three!

Happy Birthday my Little Man!

Tribadism Initiations For Sorrities


be found below, the message of Secretary General United Nations, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, on the occasion of International Day for the Eradication of Poverty , Oct. 17:
this year to mark the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, the focus is on decent work, employment worthy of the name and small businesses that are a source of income .
Develop decent and productive is the best way to fight against poverty and promote self-sufficiency.
But in today's world, more than half of those working in precarious jobs. Their conditions of employment are not formally established and they do not benefit from social security, and often they earn too little to support their families, let alone to find ways to improve their economic situation. The global economic crisis has plunged about 64 million people in poverty and the number of unemployed has increased by 30 million compared to 2007.
Bridging the gap between poverty and decent work? By investing in economic and social policies that promote job creation by promoting decent working conditions and strengthening social protection systems. Access to education, health care and vocational training is also essential.
We must focus especially on youth employment. Young people are three times more likely to be unemployed than adults. Last year, the number of unemployed youth has reached a record $ 81 million. Give these kids a decent job is a the best ways to make them point to a future of hope.
At the World Summit on the Millennium Development held last month in New York, world leaders agreed on a program of action to intensify the fight against poverty. Despite encouraging progress in many parts of the world, hundreds of millions of people still live in appalling conditions, deprived of basic services. To change things, to overcome poverty, strengthen economies and build peaceful and stable societies it is imperative to overcome the unemployment crisis that exists worldwide.
economic uncertainty and widespread fiscal austerity should not be an excuse to do less. Instead, these are reasons to do more.
On this International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, poor listening and looking at ways to ensure that more people can work, and work in good conditions.
Let us that, worldwide, everyone can have a decent job. Source


Evan's New Hobby

Evan has always been a very busy little boy. He's ready to go from the moment he gets out of bed until the very second before bedtime.
Lately, though, he's discovered a hobby that keeps him in one place for quite some time.
About a month ago, he put together a 24 piece puzzle. It didn't take him too long. He was so excited and couldn't wait to tear it apart and do it again. He was hooked!

When I found our 60 piece, John Deere puzzle for him, his eyes lit up! Johnny Tractor, Johnny Tractor!! He sat on the playroom floor and worked on that puzzle for 30-40 minutes without looking up or getting distracted. He didn't talk to us, use the bathroom, sing, or do anything but work on that puzzle.

Sticking your tongue out helps you find pieces.
It's a good thing that Charlotte loves puzzles too because we still have all the beginner puzzles that she got when she was 3. She loves putting together 100-200 piece puzzles now. They must have gotten their puzzle ability and love from Jon because I'm not a jigsaw gal. Jon will sit and stare at a table full of puzzle pieces and feel quite peaceful and entertained. I, on the other hand, wonder why in the world the manufacturer chopped up a perfectly good picture in the first place.
I think Santa is going to have a few puzzles in his bag for my kiddos this year.



Product Features ........................The Fisher-Price InteracTV Learning System transforms TV into an active experience  With the InteracTV system, kids can interact with their favorite shows and characters Plus play learning games and activities, with specially designed DVDs Place the InteracTV DVD into a DVD player, insert an activity card into the InteracTV controller and footage from the featured episode begins Children can interact with the show and answer questions by using the wireless controller Age range 3 to 12 years And a bonus DVD featuring SpongeBob SquarePants, Sesame Street and Dora the Explorer Includes a wireless InteracTV controller, 3 activity cards, a storage case


    Summer Blooms - II

    Remember this panel? I cut up the blocks and put them together, resulting in a square-ish quilt some time ago. Decided NOT to cut this time . . . .

    . . . . left the panel as it is and added 4 different borders.

    Started with the 2" solid pale-pink fabric, then came the 3" green polkadot fabric, next was the 1.5" pale pink print fabric and finished it off with a 5" pink striped fabric.

    Backing fabric was just perfect! and binding is the same solid pale-pink fabric.

    Long & nice!

    Measurement : 43" W X 61" L
    Made out of 100% American cotton
    Price : RM300
    Status : SOLD!

    Basil {Herbs for Hunger and Health}

    Today's herbal post is about Basil. (We are talking about herbs this week, check out harvesting and using, making gifts from them and The One who gave them to us.) Not to long ago I didn't think I liked Basil all that much, I still used it in Italian foods but I didn't want to taste the flavor very strongly.

      My dislike for it happened I believe when I was pregnant with Megan and I had a bunch of basil and I decided to try to use some up in some tortilla roll-ups. I put way to much in and with my stomach feeling pretty queasy I decided I really didn't care much for basil. :-)

      This summer however my ideas changed. I still planted basil because I wanted a little but it has always grown pretty prolifically for me so I again was faced with the question: "How do I use all this up?" (Because if you know me, you know I hate to waste!) I shared some of my basil with others but still had quite a bit and then I happened to run across this post. In it she shares a recipe for frugal pesto. I have long been curious about pesto but I had never tasted it much less made it. However I had all the ingredients on hand and so I decided to give it a whirl.

    I love it! On fresh bread it was oh so yummy! I also enjoyed in on pasta and in tomato soup. I made enough to freeze for later, eat a bunch and share with my parents who also really liked it. I was wishing that I would have planted more basil! By the way her "secret" ingredient was to use sunflower seeds instead of pine nuts. I haven't tried the pine nut type of pesto but I do know that this one was good. Other ingredients are Basil (of course!), Parmesan cheese, olive oil, garlic and a bit of salt.

      Other than pesto I basically use basil in Italian foods (spaghetti sauce, pizza, etc.). Where do you like to use basil?

    And now for the really fun part! (at least I think so.) How can Basil contribute to good health? (As with most herbal remedies, these may or may not have had much testing. I am just sharing what I have read or tried, I cannot promise you that it will work in your situation.)
    • Getting rid of intestinal parasites. When I did some reading on these, it is thought that 80% of people have parasites, I would really prefer not to be one of that number so if eating some basil will help, I will be glad to do that..
    • Treat Acne. Basil oil applied to skin is supposed to help. You can make an infusion or tincture and apply it with a cotton ball to freshly washed skin.
    • Immune stimulant. Basil is supposed to stimulate the immune system by increasing production of disease fighting antibodies by up to 20%.
    • In Malaysia basil is also used to Promote menstruation.
    • Basil is thought to help with milk promotion in nursing mothers.
    • Mosquito repellent. The basil leaves should help with this, they also help when you have already been bitten.
    • Aids digestion and is antibacterial. Take an infusion.
    • Basil is a nerve tonic and eases overworked muscles when you use it as a massage oil.
    • Inhaling the essential oil refreshes the mind and stimulates a sense of smell dulled by viral infection.
    • Basil tea is said to help with nausea, gas pains and dysentery.
    How to grow Basil:
    Basil is an annual that grows easily from seeds. Sow it indoors in early spring or outdoors after danger of frost has passed and days are warm. Set plants 12 inches apart. Basil needs medium rich, well drained soil and full sun. Pinch off tips to promote bushiness and flower buds to maintain growth.

    I am hoping to actually start some plants soon so that I can use it all winter long as I ended up not having enough to dry after my pesto making stint. :-)

       Basil works for me! What are your thoughts on Basil?

    Morning Glory Muffins aka. The Best Muffins In the World!

    These moist muffins are full of such delicious ingredients. This recipe makes 24 muffins but keep for a few days at room temperature and they freeze beautifully. This is one of the only recipes that I don't alter. It's perfect just as it is. A little sweet and full of flavor.

    Just look at all the yummy add-ins!

    Morning Glory Muffins
    1 1/4 cup sugar (you can use less if you want to... I think I used 3/4 cup)
    2 1/4 cup flour (I use either white whole wheat or whole wheat pastry flour but all-purpose work too)
    1 Tbsp. cinnamon
    2 tsp. baking soda
    1/2 tsp. salt
    1/2 cup shredded, sweetened coconut
    3/4 cup raisins
    1 large apple, peeled and grated
    1 cup crushed pineapple, drained
    2 cups grated carrot
    1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
    3 large eggs
    1 cup vegetable oil
    1 tsp. vanilla
    Preheat oven to 350*
    In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Add the coconut, raisins, apple, pineapple, carrots, and nuts. Stir to combine.
    In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil, and vanilla. Pour into the bowl with the dry ingredients and stir ONLY until combined.
    Spoon the batter into muffin tins that have been sprayed with Pam or lined with muffin cups. Fill each one to the top since these muffins don't rise much. Bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
    Cool muffins in the pan for 10 minutes then move to a rack to finish cooling.

    Harry Potter Prophet Wrapping Paper


    The Millennium Development can only be achieved by many African countries if the dangers posed by conventional weapons are not taken into account, reported in October, several delegations during the general debate of the First Committee, responsible for Disarmament and International Security.
    Recalling that the Horn of Africa was one of the world most affected by this scourge, different stakeholders have asked the international community to continue the implementation of the Programme of Action of 2001 on the Illicit Trade Arms and light weapons (SALW) and hope to reach the adoption of a binding instrument in this field. For China, the negotiations for a treaty on arms trade must go step by step, by consensus, not be used to interfere in the internal affairs of States and not disrupt their legitimate trade.
    For Ethiopia, like other African countries, SALW are real weapons of mass destruction, said his representative. These arms fuel conflict heavily armed and hinder development, said the representative of Kenya, estimated at 18 billion annual cost of violence for the continent. The representative of the United Republic of Tanzania, expressing great concern at the deteriorating situation in Somalia, for his part supported all UN efforts for disarmament of that country.
    In the Great Lakes region, plagued by two decades of armed conflict, over 106,000 small arms and 672 tons of ammunition have been destroyed in the Democratic Republic of Congo, said his representative. Furthermore SALW, landmines also kill many innocent people on the continent, said the representative of the United Republic of Tanzania, urging the international community to invest more in demining operations. Ethiopia, which suffers from the presence of these weapons on its territory for several decades, has also welcomed the clearance of nearly 7 million square meters.
    Many delegations also stressed the implementation of resolution 1995 on the establishment of a zone free of nuclear weapons in the Middle East, supporting the conference on this matter requested for 2012 by States Parties of the Treaty non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). For the representative of Israel, anyone who wishes to impose on the region of external initiatives, which are not the result of a careful dialogue, patient and thorough with all the affected States of the region which do not arise from concerns with regional security needs, will not help solve the problems in the Middle East. Responding to the statement by Israel, Egypt has stressed that the conference presented an unprecedented opportunity for both Arab states and Israel. Like many delegations, Kuwait has urged Israel to join the NPT and to subject its facilities to inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
    Stakeholders yet addressed the revitalization of the Conference on Disarmament, China believes it is the only viable forum for the negotiation of a treaty banning production of fissile material.
    Source AFP

    Charlotte's Craft Birthday Party

    Charlotte turned 6 a few weeks ago and got to have her first birthday party with friends. We picked a crafts theme since she invited boys and girls. The kids started off by painting wooden picture frames and shapes ($1 each at Michael's!). The cheap plastic table cloth from Walmart worked great for the party since we could just bundle it up and throw it away after the party.
    A Happy Birthday cupcake

    Then each child got to decorate their cupcake with all sorts of decorations. Charlotte had such fun at the store picking out glitter gel icings, sprinkles, colored sugar, sugar soccer balls and hearts, etc.
    Thank goodness my mom came to help with the party. We had children from 3 -6 years old so the more hands helping, the better.

    I think Evan was formulating a plan for his cupcake creation.

    Can you see the cupcake under all of Charlotte's pretty decorations? It was quite a work of art.

    After the cupcake decorating and eating, the picture frames and shapes were dry and ready to be decorated.

    We had bowls of pom-poms, buttons, sparkly butterflies, and jewels. Each child was given a bowl with glue and a q-tip to help them put the glue on their project.
    They each got to take home their projects. Charlotte and her friends had a blast. It's so nice to see my formerly shy girl act so outgoing and bubbly around her friends.

    Have a Handmade Christmas ~ Week 2

     Welcome to week 2 of Have a Handmade Christmas Carnival! I hope you are willing to join me in making this a Handmade Holiday!

     This week at Proverbs 31 Living I have been talking about herbs, so today I decided to share some homemade herbal gift ideas. I think herbs are a lot of fun and I enjoy growing them and they are also fun to share with others.

    Here are some ways: (and even if you don't grow herbs yourself, you could make some of these gifts by buying bulk herbs at a health food store.)

    Idea #1 ~ Pot some herbs and give them for people that enjoy fresh and natural cooking. One of the pots in the picture actually shows a Rosemary plant that a friend of mine gave me last year. I have really enjoyed using it. They other one is Oregano that I potted this fall from out of my garden. Another option is to start brand new plants right now to have them ready for Christmas. Or even simpler, you could give a gift of the pot, soil and seeds.

    Speaking of seeds.....

    Idea #2 ~ If you have herbs or flowers that are producing seeds, save them! I made little envelopes for these and now they will make a perfect little gift. I know many a gardener would appreciate organic seeds. (And by the way, these two packets, one of Calendula and one of Echinacia are for one of you! See below...)

     To save the seeds you simply find the old flower heads and basically tear them apart. The seeds are usually quite easy to find. Make sure to get them from nice specimens of flowers.

     Idea #3 ~ Bath Bags. Make little cloth bags filled with either 1/2 cup oatmeal or dry milk as well as some (one kind or a mixture) of herbs. Both oatmeal and milk are good for the skin and the herbs can create a very soothing and healing aroma. I used Oatmeal with mint in one and catnip in the other. Lavender and chamomile are some other good options.

    To use simply tie under the flow of water while the water flows in or even let it sit in the bath water like a tea bag.

     Idea # 4~ Dried herbs. If you have an abundance of herbs why not make them into welcome gifts for your cooking friends? I dried mine in my dehydrator, but them in sandwich bags and then I made little tags for them as well. I had fun used recycled brown card stock, magazine pictures, white card stock and a marker to make labels.
    Idea #5 ~ Make up some herbal teas along with a tea ball and other fun tea things.
    Idea # 6 ~If you want a gift for a feline receiver, use some catnip and make a little stuffed toy- I hear they love them!
    Idea #7 ~ If you want to give a gift with a Victorian touch, make (or buy) some stationary and in the box put a little bag of yummy smelling herbs. Then they can send out scented stationary.
    Idea #8 ~ Give Pesto, mint jelly or other edible treats.

    How about a giveaway?
     Since I do have an abundance of herbs I thought it might be fun to share some of them with you! I am going to give away the items pictured as Item # 2 (Seeds) and Item # 4 (dried herbs). If you would like to win please leaving a comment below letting me know which one you would like if you win.

    Additional chances to win will be given to those that link up a project of their own (please leave another comment too) and those that are followers through google connect, e-mail subscription or RSS feed of my blog (please leave another comment telling me how you subscribe.)

    This giveaway is open to anyone and will be open until October 31.

    Now it is your turn!!
    Please link up your handmade Christmas projects. You can link up gift ideas, foods, decorations, basically anything handmade. I do ask that you please link back to A Handmade Christmas here at Proverbs 31 Living in your post. If you would add the logo to your post as well that would be appreciated too. Also please link to your specific post not just your blog. Thank you!

    Cortisone Shot To Treat Cystic Acne

    Youth from several delegations demanding greater participation of youth in decision making on the MDGs

    The Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, Mr. Sha Zukang said that the Third Committee, which was starting in late September its general debate Social Development, was invested with a "huge responsibility" to achieve an "effective implementation and sustainability" of the Final Document of the High Level Plenary Meeting of the General Assembly on the Millennium Development (MDGs), adopted on 22 September.
    Mr. Zukang, who is Director of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), urged the Commission to integration and cohesion in the middle of its deliberations. He felt that the Summit Outcome Document, entitled "Keeping the Promise: Unite for achieving the Millennium Development Goals ", was the" spinal cord "of the work of the sixty-fifth session of the Commission for Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Committee.
    This "action plan" calls, according to Mr. Zukang, the implementation of "inclusive politics that puts people at the heart of development" as well as policies to reduce unemployment, fight against poverty and elimination of social injustice, in short: "policies aspire to a society for all".
    He joined in that the President of the Third Committee, Mr. Michel Tommo Monthe (Cameroon), for whom the issues affecting the agenda "for the foundations, beliefs and beliefs of various nations and communities around the world."
    "In the quest and yearning for the betterment of everyone, the real values are universal, especially in an era where advances in science, engineering and technology have globalized and globalizing our lives," added Mr. Tommo Monthe.
    The Commission heard presentations of reports on social development by the Acting Director of the Division for Social Policy and Development in DESA, Mr. Jean-Pierre Gonnot, and Director of the UNESCO Institute for learning throughout life, Mr. Ouane.
    Nearly half of the 34 Member States that participated in the general gave a voice to young people, who were disappointed by the slow implementation of plans and programs of action adopted at international level in this area. These young delegates also demanded greater participation in decision-making. Some have suggested an intergenerational approach, particularly in the field of employment.
    Like Mr. Zukang, who had invited him to be more realistic in policies affecting the elderly, whose numbers have doubled in 30 years to reach 759 million people and will amount to two billion in 2015, the Republic of Korea and Japan, in particular, have encouraged to more concrete actions to recognize the role of this segment of the population in an aging world. Source


    Herbs for Hunger and Health

    Something that I have really been having a lot of fun using this year is herbs. I have long been interested in herbs and have grown them since I was a child. I even had my very own herb garden when I was growing up.

    Though I have long like herbs I will admit I haven't always done a very good job of using them. I plant them and enjoy pinching off a leaf now and then to smell them and then I often let them go to waste for the most part.

    This year I really worked at changing that and I have had a lot of fun. I still have a ways to go at using them to their full potential but I am learning! :-)

    So I thought it would be fun to share some of the things I am learning with you. Some of it is my research and I am partially writing it all down so that I can find it again and some of the things I have tried and really like. I hope you are interested in learning more about herbs too. Also please share whatever expertise you have on herbs already in the comments!

      Today I am going to focus on harvesting and some basics on using them and then throughout this week I will have posts on individual herbs with favorite ways to use them and healing that they are supposed to be good for. Please come and join me!

      When do we harvest herbs?
    Usually it is just as they begin to flower. The essence in them is the strongest in them at this time. However individual herbs can be different. Here is a chart that I found that lists many of the herbs and their own special time for harvest.

     Collect the leaves in the mid morning. After the dew has dried off of them but before the day gets too hot.

     You may like to water them the evening before to try to rinse them off so they are dust free. Or you can gently rinse them after you cut them.
      Roots are best harvested in the Fall after 1 or 2 frosts. They can be harvested at anytime however.

     How to harvest:
     Cut about 50 percent off of the plant, still leaving 4 inches or so. For slow growing herbs only cut around 1/3 off. I will admit I will cut more than this at times, especially if fall is approaching and they are annual plants. Then just cut away!

    For seed heads (such as dill and coriander) cut the whole plant off with the seed on it and put it in a paper bag to dry. Then shake it and collect the seeds inside.

    Ways to preserve herbs for winter:
    • Dry them. You can use the old fashioned method of making small bundles and hanging them upside down until they are dry and crumble easily (probably a couple of weeks) or you can do this but with a paper bag around them to prevent dust from getting on them or you can dry them using a dehydrator, microwave or oven (at around 100 degrees) to dry them.
    • Pot them and bring them in like that to use fresh all winter long!
    • Freeze them. Wash the herbs off before freezing. (I also read that basil, thyme and dill will have better color if they are blanched before freezing.) You can just put them in plastic bags and freeze or lay them out on a cookie sheet and flash freeze them before putting them in bags so they don't stick together. Another way to freeze herbs is to cut them up and freeze them in ice cube trays along with a little water.  After the cubes freeze but them in labeled bags in the freezer.
    • Put them in oil. Basil, tarragon, rosemary and sorrel can be stored in oil (vegetable or olive). Place leaves in a glass jar, alternating layers of leaves and oil. Store in the fridge. When you use the leaves scrape the oil back in the jar. They oil can be used for marinating, sauteing and dressings.
    How do we use herbs?
    • Herbs are great for making teas out of. Use an herb by itself or combine it with another. To make a tea a general rule of thumb is to use 2 teaspoons of dried herb (in a tea ball or use a strainer) or 2-3 sprigs of fresh leaves for each cup of water. Poor boiling water over the herbs, cover and let sit for a minimum of 5 minutes. (Though I will admit, I am not this scientific with my tea making! ) Test your tea and allow more time if desired. Sweeten if you desire with maple syrup, honey, sugar, molasses or stevia. Hot herbal tea on a cold day is so very nice!
    • Cook with your herbs. Check out those more "complicated" recipes that use lots of herbs or just have fun experimenting with herbs in different recipes. Sometimes your family will say "What did you put in this!?" and sometimes they will say "This is really, really good!" Here is a little list that gives some suggestions on using herbs and spices.
    • Make an infusion. This is like herbal tea but stronger. You can drink it and also inhale the warm vapors from it for health benefits. To make an infusion steep 1/2 to 1 ounce of dried herb in 1 pint of boiling water for 10-20 minutes. (To use fresh herbs, double the amount.)  When you inhale the warm vapors while it steeps it may help relieve the discomforts of colds, flu, cough, bronchitis and allergies.
    • Make a tincture. I have never done this but I would like to try it. Tinctures make the herbs last longer than other methods of preservation. To make a tincture use 100 proof vodka or brandy or apple cider vinegar. Use 1 ounce of dried herbs for 5 ounces liquid. Put in a sealed container and let steep for 6 weeks. Label and date them well. Shake every few days. Keep out of direct sunlight.  Brown glass works well. It is up to you whether you strain out the plant material at the end of the 6 weeks. Tinctures are very potent so keep out of reach of small children.
    • Make an ointment. You can do this by adding 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of tincture to every ounce of commercial skin lotion. This can be used for burns, cuts and other skin problems.
    • Take an herbal bath. Fill a cloth bag with herbs and run your bathwater over it. You can also leave it in the water as you bathe.
    I would love to hear any suggestions you have on using herbs too! Be sure to come back the rest of this week and I discuss specific herbs, herbal gifts and more!