I love that there are so many New Years in the year and especially when the New Year lines up with what feels like a new beginning for me: the autumn season and the start of the school year. In the Jewish calendar, the New Year is called Rosh Hashanah and begins with the new moon of the seventh month, which usually falls in September. This year, Rosh Hashanah begins at sundown the evening of September 13. Continue reading
From the A Year of Healthy Living 2015 wall calendar by Ann Lovejoy — Gardeners often seem to be happy people, and now we know why. Recent research indicates that getting our hands “dirty” gives our brains a boost of serotonin. Mycobacterium vaccae is a soil dweller that offers humans who dabble in dirt a lovely lift. Like so many health advances, the first recognition of mood elevating effects from M. vaccae came about accidentally, when a dose intended to boost immune response serendipitously created an antidepressant effect in advanced cancer patients. Continue reading
From The Organic Kitchen Garden 2015 wall calendar by Ann Lovejoy — If you’re still growing old standby greens, expand your usual selection with a few newcomers. Red or green Salanova® lettuces are bred for cut-and-come-back use, so you can start trimming off a few leaves when the plants are 4–5 inches tall. Several flavorful new cool-season crops are hand bred (not genetically engineered) from classic European leafy greens. Purple Peacock broccoli, a cross between regular broccoli and kale, produces frilly foliage and tender florets that are attractively streaked with rose and purple. A similar cross between brussels sprouts and kale is called Petit Posy, which offers tender rosettes with tightly folded centers that are delicious when eaten raw, steamed, or roasted. Continue reading
Bees are all the buzz. In the past decade, backyard beekeeping has multiplied exponentially in urban areas. Budding apiarists around the world are tending beehives just about everywhere, from suburban patios and rooftop terraces to elementary school gardens. These urban naturalists are preserving a tradition that has been alive for more than 4,000 years. Continue reading
From A Year of Healthy Living 2015 wall calendar by Ann Lovejoy — Our culture encourages us to think of treats in terms of eating and spending money. This year, why not explore ways to enrich your life with wholesome treats that increase your health, strength, stamina, and wellbeing? For many of us, this positive path might begin by creating a healthy relationship with food. Continue reading
We’re thrilled to introduce our new contributor Waverly Fitzgerald. We look forward to sharing her wealth of knowledge about holiday and calendar lore with you here on our blog. ~ Amber Lotus Publishing
Most Americans know the semi-mythological story of the first Thanksgiving, how the Pilgrims of Plymouth Colony after a successful harvest in 1621 shared a meal with members of the Patuxet people, who had helped them plant their crops. But what many do not realize is that they were both acting out long-standing cultural traditions. The harvest festival, although it is celebrated at different times of the year and with different foodstuffs, is part of every culture around the world. Continue reading
With Fall in the air, we seem to be nesting more — wearing comfy, warm clothes and spending hours in the kitchen. So we’re exploring recipes and ways we can enjoy the harvest. And maybe entertaining our sweet tooth just a bit, too.
From the Herb Gardens 2015 wall calendar by Maggie Oster —
Coconut-Lavender Panna Cotta
Providing a sense of calm and balance, the fresh, sweet aroma of lavender has been beloved for centuries. Used for its beauty, singular scent, and medicinal properties, lavender continues to be a favorite. The use of flowers and leaves of lavender in cooking is growing in popularity. With a flavor that melds floral, piney, and camphor, fresh or dried lavender flowers are most often added to desserts, but they sometimes find their way into savory dishes. Lavandula angustifolia, with its sweet, mild flavor, is the best choice for cooking. Of the dozens of true lavender varieties, Hidcote and Munstead are the most widely available, hardiest, and easiest to grow. Harvest lavender midmorning on a dry day when almost all the buds are open. Tie stems in bundles and hang upside down in a dry, dark place. When dry, gently strip the flowers from the stem. If buying, be sure the flowers are for culinary purposes. Quickly and easily made, panna cotta is a sweet and creamy pudding that is among the most versatile of desserts and readily flavored in innumerable ways. Continue reading
From The Organic Kitchen Garden 2015 wall calendar by Ann Lovejoy — Crisp, crunchy, and flavorful, cool-season greens have been winter staples for centuries. With the protection of cold frames or plastic tunnels, kale, chard, and cabbage can be harvested all winter, even in the snow. For variety and good looks, plant rainbow chard or Bright Lights Swiss chard, both of which produce vividly colorful stems in shades of raspberry, coral, peach, and salmon. The crinkled foliage holds up well into the cooler months and can be sautéed, steamed, or stir-fried.