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Monday, June 28, 2010

Lavender Bread

We are completely in love with our lavender bed.  I purchased a large number of plants at a flea market.  We planted – and we learned. 
Where we live, the winters are cold and harsh.  Lavender does not like cold.  It does not like harsh.  It dies in cold harsh winters. 
Two varieties of lavender are a little less prissy than the rest of the bunch.  Munstead and Hidcote are varieties that have a fighting chance against the cold and snow.  (We’ve had far better luck with Munstead, but we have friends up the road who swear by Hidcote --- go figure)  I still lose young, small-ish plants every winter, but I have 5 strong healthy (getting larger) plants that keep coming back year after year.
Our lavender bed is right beside the driveway – its not the optimal location in terms of babying the plants through the winter (they get snow piled on them every time we shovel) – but when your pant leg or your skirt brushes the lavender as you get out of the car ---- aaahhhhh…..
So – one of the rites of summer is lavender bread --- we make it every summer.  We’ve become “famous” for it among family and friends (people ask for it!)  Its lovely toasted with berry jam in the morning for breakfast.  It also makes the very best BLT for lunch. 

Lavender Bread
½ cup water
1 cup buttermilk
¼ cup olive oil
4 cups bread flour
3 TBS lavender leaves finely chopped
1 ½ tsp lavender flowers finely chopped
1 TBS gluten
2 tsp salt
2 ¾ tsp yeast

Mix all of the ingredients in your bread machine pan.  Bake according to the bread machine directions --- yum.

Monday, June 07, 2010

The 3/50 Project

I found a flyer in a local store this week for the 3/50 project.  I love it!  It’s a plan to save the local economy – three stores at a time. 
Here’s how it works:
Think about 3 local businesses (not the big box branches – real local businesses) that you would really miss if they closed up shop.  Stop into those businesses and just say “hello”.  Make a small purchase (just a token). 
Remember that if half of us in the US spent a mere $50 a month in a local business, we would generat $42.6 billion in revenue (that was billion with a “B”) Holy mackerel!
Then take note:  for every $100 spent in a local business, $68 returns to the community through taxes, employees wages, and other local spending by that business.  On the other hand --- when you spend $100 at a big box chain, only about $43 stays in the local economy.  Big difference!
So --- to participate in the 3/50 project:
Pick your 3 local businesses
Spend $50 (or whatever you can manage in your budget)
Save your local economy. 
In other words;  don’t complain about Walmart if you’re not doing something about it.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Lazy Susan for Snacks

I found a terrific plastic lazy susan server at the grocery store this week.  I’m setting up snack central in it: 
Here’s what it looks like ---

And here’s what it will hold:
·      Cut up vegetables – baby carrots, broccoli stalks, celery
·      Small fruit – grapes, strawberries,
·      Cheese sticks (the pre-packaged kind for easy keeping in the fridge)
·      Little containers of cottage cheese
In the pantry I’ll also putting a second “Snack Central” with
·      Granola bars
·      Crackers
·      Pita wedges and/or pita chips
·      Pretzels
Can you tell I’m determined to snack healthy this summer?