Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Frosty and Refreshing Basil Lemonade

The smell of basil reminds me of summer.  I love cooking with it.  The fresh flavor adds a nice punch to recipes.  It's so versatile.  One of my favorite seasonal flavors is the basil gelato sold at Whole Foods.  It's next on my things to make!

 This recipe was inspired by a drink I had at a local cafe.  My twist makes it equally refreshing, by blending the ingredients to create a frosty drink.

 One sip and it takes you away to someplace tropical.

 Ingredients

1/2 cup sugar
juice from about 7 medium-size lemons
about 12 basil leaves
1 cup water
ice


Directions

Place ingredients into blender and blend until combined and texture is smooth.  Makes enough for two glasses.  One for you and one to share with a friend!


Thursday, August 29, 2019

Flowering Crabapple Branches


 A friend gifted me these flowering branches from the prettiest crabapple tree growing in her front yard.  Although spring has come and gone, I decided to share the way the branches accented my home.

 I displayed them in a farmhouse-style vase from Target, creating a tall centerpiece.

I enjoyed the added interest to my kitchen.

 The branches lasted eight days, by changing the water regularly.  As the flowers lost their petals, the dried blooms created a natural confetti.  My kids teased that we were living in a forest! Ha!

  I love decorating with natural elements.

 White, yellow, green and shades of pink create a fresh color palette.

 I hope this inspires you to bring the outdoors in.

Monday, August 26, 2019

Buying Hydrangeas on Clearance

As the growing season comes to an end, now is great time to stop in your local garden center to save money on flowering perennials, trees and shrubs.

I recently went to Home Depot to return an item.  Before heading back home, I decided to quickly walk through the garden center.  Towards the end of the aisle I noticed a few yellow price tags and became very excited!

  Limelight hydrangeas were on sale for half off, as well as a few other varieties.


I grabbed an empty shopping cart and began loading up.  

Limelight hydrangeas are a beautiful shrub.  They are a type of Panicle Hydrangea.  The flower heads can grow up to 12 inches long.  The flowers start off lime green, then a creamy white.  

In the fall, they gradually turn pink.  I have the perfect spot for them in my yard.

I plan to plant four of them in a row, to create a hedge full of beautiful blooms outside of our fence.

I purchased three more of another variety.

Not quite sure where they will land, but the price was too good to pass up.

Hydrangeas are one of my favorite flowers.  They make such a statement in any garden.  I love walking outside with my pruners in the morning to clip a few and create a simple arrangement.  


Here's a look at the hydrangeas I have planted in my front flower bed.  They have really evolved over the years.

2014

2016

 2017

 2019

Be sure to always check the clearance racks.  Consider these tips when shopping for discounted flowers...

I usually avoid purchasing annuals, no matter how cheap they are.  I prefer to pot healthy annuals in the spring, so I can enjoy them throughout the growing season.  
Don't be discouraged by the look of the scraggly leaves.  With a little TLC they'll come back beautifully next season.  
Inspect the flowers for bugs.  Spraying with an insecticidal soap can help eliminate an infestation.  
Also, think about where the flowers will be planted and select flowers according to their sun/shade requirements.  
Lastly--have fun, relax and enjoy the process.  You don't have to have a "green thumb" to start a garden.  I learned a lot by trial and error.  Every time I've killed a flower it inspires me to do better next time.  Happy Gardening!

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Natchez Glen Rose Workshop- Franklin, TN

Over the past few years I've developed a passion for gardening.  I've always enjoyed filling my home with indoor plants, but gardening outdoors was something I struggled with.


I dreamed of having my own cutting garden and enhancing the look of my yard.  So I took that dream and began researching the internet.  The internet is filled with forums to help you grow successfully.  


I found blogs to follow and lots of inspiration on Instagram.  Then one day I stumbled across Steve, from Natchez Glen.


Natchez Glen is located minutes from downtown Franklin,TN.  Steve the owner is an enthusiastic gardening expert.  He is very knowledgeable and happily answers your gardening questions.
  
Earlier this summer, my daughter and I drove from Atlanta to attend one of his rose workshops.  We learned about planting, pruning, how to control pests and tips to grow beautiful roses.


Steve grows roses and dahlias, as well as hundreds of unique and spectacular trees.


The property is beautiful; imagine picturesque rolling hills, blue skies and lush green grass.


If you're local, you can make a reservation to cut flowers into late October.


My daughter and I had such a wonderful weekend in Tennessee.  It was so neat to meet Steve and his family after following each other on Instagram.

  
To learn more about Natchez Glen, please visit the website.  You can also follow along on Instagram @natchezglenhouse.


Saturday, August 17, 2019

Sparkling Strawberry Lemonade Mocktail Recipe

Raise a glass to summer mocktails!  This non-alcoholic drink is made with only 4 ingredients and ready in minutes.  It's super refreshing as the days get warmer.  It's all I want to sip on.

  Here's how to make it...


Ingredients

1/3 cup Country Time Strawberry Lemonade Drink Mix
1 quart Club Soda
Outshine Frozen Fruit Bar
Ice

Directions

Slowly add club soda to drink mix in a pitcher.  Stir until mix is dissolved.  Then add ice.  Pour drink into large glasses and place popsicle in each glass.  Let the popsicle melt for a few seconds before serving.  Top each glass with a lemon slice and add fresh herbs for garnish.  Cheers!  Hope you enjoy!      


Thursday, August 15, 2019

No-Churn Ice Cream with Browned Butter Caramel Sauce

"Recent studies have shown that creative activities, such as baking, help people feel more relaxed and happier in their everyday lives.  But in order to benefit from the mindful nature of baking, basic techniques must first be mastered." 


 With the help of Nielsen-Massey products, I'm excited to introduce you to Better Your Bake” technique-based videos, tips and tools to help home bakers learn and master the basics of baking.  Now through September, Nielsen-Massey is releasing new videos highlighting various baking techniques that, when mastered, will help you reach baking bliss.

To participate, I was invited to share a recipe inspired by a “Better Your Bake” tip. 

 Cooking with quality ingredients makes such a difference.  Nielsen-Massey has been crafting the world’s finest pure and natural vanilla products since 1907.  Although vanilla remains at the heart and soul of Nielsen-Massey, they also make a variety of other types of extracts, pastes, powders and sugars.


Homemade ice cream tastes best and once you've had homemade caramel sauce, you will never want the stuff in a jar again!  Made with Ugandan Pure Vanilla Extract, it adds a rich, smooth flavor.  So easy and delicious!  This vanilla is versatile, making it an excellent all-purpose staple for a range of baking and cooking applications.  It pairs especially well with chocolate, caramel and citrus dishes.

In the heat of summer, this recipe will help you cool off.



Ingredients

1/4 tsp salt
 2 tsp Ugandan Pure Vanilla Extract
 1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
 3 cups heavy whipping cream

Directions

Add ingredients to a food processor and blend until combined.  
Pour mixture into a freezer-safe container and set aside.



Next, to make Browned Butter Caramel Sauce.  If you're unfamiliar with how to brown butter, watch a short video to learn the best way.

Ingredients

1 cup granulated sugar
 4 tablespoons salted butter
 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
 1 tsp Ugandan Pure Vanilla Extract

Directions

Brown butter in a saucepan, watching closely.  Remove from heat and add sugar to the pan, stir until melted. Add cream and slowly whisk. Add vanilla and keep whisking. Simmer for 1-3 minutes on low heat, whisking often.  The sauce will thicken as it cools.  Gently fold caramel sauce (according to your taste) into ice cream mixture and freeze until firm.



*This post was made possible through a partnership with Nielsen-Massey.  All opinions expressed are my own.