Fall Container Gardens – Hard to Find Medicinal Herbs, Let’s Plant

It is August and is now typically Texas HOT and I’m talking about gardening.  We have just put out a limited amount of beautiful medicinal herb plants to use as container gardening for this fall and winter.  I want to tell you about them.  They are beautiful for container planting, some of them are so fragrant and all of them are helpful.

First let me tell you about the few plants we have in one gallon pots.  They are already of a nice size so put into a lovely pot these are ready to make a statement now.

GYNURA SPINACH – aka longevity spinach. Research shows that it is an efficient regulator of blood sugar.  Leaves eaten in salads or cooked in dishes, may lower blood pressure and cholesterol.

This is a fast growing plant. Is vining in nature but can be cut to bush.  It is a good candidate for growing indoors as it is a tropical. It is easy to grow, just give them lots of light. You can enjoy these leaves raw or cooked. They are very high in protein.  Good for vegetarians to know.
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WHITE CHRYSANTHEMUM TEA – I am so excited about this plant!! White Chrysanthemum Tea – Chinese Gong Ju Hua Cha, is made form the dried flowers of this plant.  Did you know all Chrysanthemum flowers are edible?  They are!

An evergreen and hardy to 0 degrees. Flowering occurs in the fall in zone 7.  The plant prefers full sun, well drained soils and frequent watering.

The flowers are steeped in hot water and a herbal tea is made.  This is highly medicinal and thought to help reduce inflammation in the body, help with eye problems like – blurred vision, spotty vision, watery eyes and maybe even help with cataracts. May help with high cholesterol, blood pressure and alleviate cold symptoms.
Med - White Chry Tea

CURRY TREE – this smells delightful!!! This is another great container tree.  In a container it will grow about 3’ in height.  It likes to be fed and pruned for a strong bushy plant  Unless you live in zone 9 or higher the container is the way to go.  It can be outside here all summer and then moved indoors for the winter.

The leaves are thick so normally always fried in oil alone before adding any other spices to the dish.  Make a pesto or use on your BBQ.  Experiment with this one.  A beautiful fragrant plant.  A conversation piece for sure.
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TEA TREE – we are all familiar with Tea Tree Oil, well this is the tree it comes from.

The tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) is a small evergreen that likes warm climates. It is attractive and fragrant, with an exotic look. The oil from the foliage of this tree is widely used.  Melaleuca tea trees attract attention in your garden, with the trunk being one of the most attractive features is the trunk, with its gorgeous, papery bark.  Living here in Texas where it is mostly warm it can be planted in the gardens.  This can also be grown in containers and is a good way to control the rapid growth of this tree. This also ensures its survival. It must have a lot of sunlight.  This is a fast-growing tree.  It takes a few years before you will see the flowers.

It is recommended you don’t plant this tree outside unless you live in a zone 8 or above. The trees need sun, sun, sun.  They will not do well in the shade. Make sure the soil drains easily. These trees like water.  You need to keep that soil a bit moist at all times.

It is an evergreen and can grow 8 to 15 feet and does like the Texas heat.  It is cold hardy to at least 16 degrees.  It is used in products like soap, toothpaste, oils, etc. Anti-fungal/bacterial.
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The following plants I have in 4″ pots.
HIBISCUS “ROSELLE”
Hibiscus Roselle This bushy shrub can grow 4 to 7’ tall in t he ground but is also a good candidate for container growing. Water the soil when it becomes dry to the touch. To reiterate, water only enough to make the soil moist, not wet. It is critical to use the right type of fertilizer. The fertilizer needs to be one with low phosphorus, moderate nitrogen, and high potassium. Fertilize every two to three weeks.

The calyx is harvested and steeped to make a tea.  Hibiscus Roselle tea is reported to lower blood pressure and lower your LDL cholesterol. This may be worth trying. The beautiful tea is red in color and tastes delicious.  Hibiscus tea does not contain caffeine and is reported to help you relax, making it a good drink for those that are sensitive to caffeine.

ZA’ATAR – this is a wild oregano in Israel. It is in the oregano/thyme family.  This is also called the bible hyssop. This herb can be put into a delicious olive oil to enjoy dipping a fresh crusty bread in. It can be used as an herb in many culinary dishes.  Commonly used in Mediterranean dishes with yogurt, meats and veggies.

TOOTHACHE PLANT – Acmella Oleracea – It has daisy like flowers in the summertime.  It has been used medicinally for a long time. It has been used been used for generations to manage the pain of toothaches. Both the leaves and the attractive golden flowers can be used as a natural anesthetic. Simply chew the leaves or flowers for a few seconds then you’ll experience a tingling and numbing sensation in your mouth. An infusion or tincture made from the Toothache Plant is said to promote gum and throat health due to its strong antibacterial properties. Also called Spilanthes oleracea.

This herb is a good candidate for container growing.  It gets to about 18” tall, fast grower and takes well to pruning.  It needs a lot of light but don’t overwater.  Wait until the soil is dry to the touch then water. Provides pretty yellow flowers. Enjoy this one.
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ST. JOHNS WORT – This plant is widely known as an herbal treatment for depression. Research indicates St. John’s wort is most often used as a dietary supplement for depression. People also use it as a dietary supplement for other conditions, including menopausal symptoms, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and obsessive-disorder. It is used topically for wound healing.  The flowering tops of St. John’s wort are used to prepare teas, tablets, capsules, and liquid extracts. Topical preparations are also available.  This plant likes a lot of water. Is a small shruby plant.

Easy to grow it is not too particular.  Gets to about 3’ tall and provides yellow flowers in the  summer time.
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HOLY BASIL, RAMA TULSI – We have two types of Holy Basil – Rama Tulsi – True Holy Basel, held sacred by the Hindus.  Enjoy in tea, cooking, and salads. Both of the Holy Basil (Tulsi) have a delightful fragrance.  I enjoy them very much for that one benefit alone.  They have been very easy for me to grow and will be a delight to have in your indoor herb garden.

It has been used in Ayurveda medicine for generations. This variety has been found to be one of the highest in medicinal compounds; adaptogenic, antifungal, antibacterial and immune enhancing. Enjoy a tea, tincture, extract or syrup.
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HOLY BASIL, KRISHNA TULSI – It acts like an annual, and is even known to self-seed in temperate climates, which is quite unusual for basil.  Eat one fresh leaf daily, or pick the leaves and flowers and dry them and make the tea. Most excellent. Adaptogenic, immune enhancing, antifungal and antibacterial.

This is easiest of all Tulsi types to grow in temperate gardens and is highly aromatic. Enjoy this too in your kitchen herb garden.  Enjoy this in your kitchen garden in the winter and set out on your porch the rest of the year.  Keep the flowers cut for a bushier plant with a lot more foliage.

Come out and get these hard to find plants and have them for this fall and winter.

 

 

 

Blueberry Lavender Honey Smoothie

This is my favorite flavor combination; our lavender honey and fresh for fresh frozen blueberries.  I enjoy this often and thought you might too.

1 cup of blueberries
1/3 cup of vanilla yogurt
2 heaping teaspoons of C & J Farms Lavender Honey
1 cup of 2 % milk (use whatever your favorite milk is)
Blend and enjoy. This makes enough for one serving.

 

Beef B.B.Q Soup

This time of the year I use the crock pot for a lot of my cooking.  It allows me to prepare a decent meal while carrying a busy work schedule.  This meal began a couple of days in advance.  I had cooked some beef  in the crock pot all day. (I used T bone steaks. It’s not a crime to use T bone’s in the crock pot. :).    I put the T bone’s whole in the crook pot with 1/2 of a large onion and Bentley’s Batch 5 Sweet Barbecue Sauce, half a jar or about 1 1/2 cups. (check the sauce out at this link, http://bentleysbatch5.com/products/sweet/).

The meat was tender and had a great barbecue flavor. It had been cooked in advance and saved in the refrigerator along with the cooked juices and sauce.

Now it was time for a quick soup dinner on our first cold evening of the year.

I chopped up 1/2 of large white onion, red bell pepper and1 cup of chopped carrots put in a large soup pan with some oil and let them saute’.  While this was cooking I added 1 teaspoon of Red Steak Seasoning.

red stk

Once the veggies were a bit soft I added 4 cups of beef stock and two cups of water.  I added two bay leaves and 1 14.5oz can of Diced tomatoes.  I added the meat and the juices and another 1/2 cup of Barbecue sauce.

BBQ soup 3

Then I let all of this simmer on the stove top for about one hour till all of the flavors came together.  While I was waiting I made a batch of cornbread.

We were delighted with the warm sweet flavor of this Barbecue soup.

BBQ soup 4

Added a special addition of Jalapeno Honey on the side.

Enjoy!

Chicken Nuggets, Yes but..

I have had many requests for this recipe.  It is simple, quick and delicious. This is one way to dress up dinner with C & J Farms fresh seasonings.

Ingredients:

1 package of chicken tenders (chicken pieces of your choice)
1/2 package of Panko Breadcrumbs unseasoned
2 to 3 tablespoons of C & J Farms seasoning Scarborough Fair
1 teaspoon of salt (C & J Farms has sea salt)
1/2 stick of butter
2 eggs
2 tablespoons water

Options: Parmesan Cheese, Monterrey Jack or …

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.  Cut the chicken into small 1 inch pieces.  Make an egg wash by whisking eggs in a bowl and add water.  Mix the Panko breadcrumbs, Scarborough Fair and salt all together.  Adjust this to taste, more or less seasoning if you like.  Option goes here if you choose, add cheese.

Dip the chicken nuggets in the egg wash then into the Panko mix.  Lay on a cookie sheet or oven safe pan. Once all of the nuggets are in the pan melt the butter.  Drizzle the butter over the chicken nuggets.  Make sure each nugget has a bit of butter.  Adjust your butter as needed.

Then pop in the oven for about 25 minutes or until golden brown.  I serve these with C & J Farms Jalapeno Honey as a dip.

I don’t measure exactly when I prepare these so adjust as you see necessary.  Sorry about that.  You can change this recipe up a lot. For a spicier nugget use our Olive Oil Dipping Blend with some Parmesan cheese.  Or our Habanero Lime with lime juice in the butter before drizzling over nuggets.  Use what you love.

When you take them out of the oven they are hot, crispy and delicious. Enjoy!

chicken nuggets

 

 

Orange Chocolate Cake

It has been on my mind for a while to bake a cake using our C & J Farms Orange Chocolate Honey.  I finally made a cake that was one of the best I have ever made. Not the prettiest but so very tasty.

Ingredient list:
2 cups all purpose flour                                                3 eggs, beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt                                                             1 1/2 teaspoons grated orange zest
3 teaspoons baking powder                                         2 tablespoons orange marmalade
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup milk                                                                     4 tablespoons soften unsalted butter
1/2 cup orange juice                                                       1 (8 oz) package softened cream cheese
1/2 cup vegetable oil                                                      12 oz semisweet chocolate chips
1 1/4 cups heavy cream                                                 Orange Chocolate Honey

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat two 8 inch round cake pans with oil and flour well.

In a measuring cup, combine milk, 1/2 cup orange juice, oil, beaten eggs and 1 1/2 teaspoon orange zest. Set aside.

Sift flour, (do you know how to sift flour without a sifter? Set a small hole colander inside a larger pan and put your flour and dry ingredients into that colander.  Sift thru that. It works well.) salt, and baking powder into a large bowl. Mix in sugar. Make a well in the center and pour in milk mixture. Stir until thoroughly combined.

Divide batter into prepared pans. Bake in the preheated oven for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of cake comes out clean. Allow to cool.

For Orange Cream Cheese Filling: in a small bowl, beat together cream cheese, 1 tablespoon sugar, and 2 to 3 tablespoons orange marmalade.

For Chocolate Ganache: Bring cream and butter to simmer in heavy large saucepan. Remove from heat, add chocolate chips and stir until melted.

To assemble cake:

Put one layer on the plate, poke holes into the layer and drizzle Orange Chocolate Honey to seep into the cake. Then spread the Orange Cream Cheese Filling on top of that, then put a layer of chocolate ganache on top of that.

Add the other cake.  Poke holes in this cake put orange chocolate honey on this and let it seep into the holes. Then finish cake with the Chocolate Ganache refrigerate and ganache will harden.